Aki and I have been following wolf tracks through an old growth forest for most of an hour. The wolf made its tracks while following those of a yearling deer. With her low-to-ground frame, Aki had no problems walking in the animals’ steps. But I’ve had to straddle wind-fallen trees and duck beneath the snow covered branches of spruce and hemlock. The wolf and deer passed under the branches without dislodging their loads of snow. I wish I could say the same.
Just after leaping across a half-frozen watercourse, I spotted two other sets of tracks. Well, those prints looks familiar little dog. They should. Aki and I made them a half-an-hour ago. We would be lost if not for the sun. I lead Aki toward it, hoping to soon hear the soft sound of Fish Creek sliding over and under new ice.
I blame ice for our predicament. Before diverting onto the wolf’s trail, we had been moving comfortably along the creek. Then we reached a section of trail covered with a hazard of ice chunks. They were part of the ice sheet that covered the stream until the last big rainstorm. Runoff from the storm engorged the creek and shattered the ice covering. Most of the chunks flowed down stream to Fritz Cove. But some were caught by an eddy that pushed them onto the trail.
I almost fell several times while crossing the ice chunk zone. To avoid tempting fate, I chose to return through the forest. That’s when we spotted the wolf trail. That’s when the adventure began.