Aki leaps out of the car and starts inventorying nearby scents. I follow as she dashes past the Mendenhall Wetlands sign and onto a path bordered on both sides by alder thickets. This morning’s fine snow has turned to drizzle but that doesn’t dampen her enthusiasm for a walk. I look forward to a lengthy exploration of the grasslands drained by Gastineau Channel because the tide has left the maze of back channels dry.
My plan is to walk as far as a mid-channel navigation aid. Two bald eagles occupy the aid. Another one flies above them screeching out a challenge. I walk on to the wetlands toward the nav. aid but no little dog follows at my heels. Aki hangs back by the alder thicket, giving me her “are you crazy” stare. I snap a few pictures and follow her back to the car.
When I stop at another trailhead, one without eagles, she shows little excitement for another walk. Aki follows me slowly down the trail and perks up when, after a few minutes, we return to the car. The poodle-mix is scheduled this afternoon for another cross-country ski on Mendenhall Lake. She rests on the drive home, as if saving energy for this afternoon’s adventure.