Sure it’s Sunday and the lake is offering the best cross-country skiing of the year. Yeah, the ice has thickened enough to give even the most timid sports person courage to ski over frozen water. Yeah, the sky is blue with just enough clouds to give the drama-queen sun something to work with. But it shouldn’t be too crowded on the lake because this is America and the Super Bowl just started.
Trusting that the skiers with the reddest blood (a trait of sports loving Americans) are at a party cheering over football plays while slamming down cheese poppers and beer, Aki, her other human and I drive out to the glacial lake with a car loaded with ski gear. A line of cars flies away from the trailhead parking lot, probably heading toward Super Bowl parties. But there are many more in the lot and up and down the road. Ay, Caramba.
Aki ignores the cars and their drivers to concentrate on the cornucopia of dogs waiting patiently outside their vehicles. They all seem to urging their owners to get this party started. We keep the poodle-mix on lead while negotiating the crowd and only release her when her other human and I are snapping into our skis. I slip mine into a machine-set-track and start my kick and slide. Aki charges after her other human who flies ahead on skate skis. The snow-white surface of the lake is dotted with splotches of the intense colors of high-tech gear. But I soon find my space of solitude.
The robin-egg-blue glacier keeps my attention until the trail starts its return leg to Skater’s Cabin. Then, I am entertained by the sun hanging low on the horizon. Crisscrossing white vapor trails form a double line above the sun, which is softened by a gauze of clouds. A sundog (a kind of winter rainbow) has formed as a wide circle around the sun. This arctic critter rarely appears above our rain forest so I stop often to admire it.
Aki will be hungry tonight. She spends most of her time running with her skate skier, stopping only to play catch-me-if-you-can with other dogs. But every ten minutes or so she gallops back to me, trots along for a minute and then dashes to catch up with her other human.