Aki and I are out on the glacial moraine with one of my oldest friends. He is also one of the little dog’s favorite humans. She follows close at his heals as we walk on soft snow to the Mendenhall River. Our mutual friend is a gentle man. Maybe that is why Aki is so excited to hike with him.
In order to reach the river we need to pass through a field of willow and alders. The local beavers have logged off many of the larger cottonwood trees and lots of willows. We find their large den embedded into the bank when we leave the woods. I can’ t find any of the rodents’ tracks but we do find recent evidence of a moose. Aki has never seen a moose but her two human companions have seen many of them when living in the bush of Western Alaska.
I’ve never spotted a moose in the Juneau area. Last fall two of them were photographed while browsing along the river. Everyone assumed that they had moved back north to their home range along the Antler River. But at least one has stayed. We think it is a young moose, maybe last year’s calf. I wonder if it’s decision to winter on the moraine signals the start of a new migration made possible by the colonization of the moraine by willows, a moose’s favorite food.