This is not Aki’s favorite type of adventure. Few dog walkers use the trail so she finds little scent to sniff. But I am ready for some solitude and a chance to use my skis as exploring tools, not sport’s equipment. From my point of view, we have been spending way too much time lately on the Mendenhall Lake ski tracks. My little dog had treasured every moment of it.
I slide my skis across Peterson Creek and around a salt chuck (lake) to the small waterfall that drains it. To conserve energy, Aki trots in my tracks, darting ahead only once when she spots movement in the spruce forest that borders the salt chuck. It’s probably one of the many otters that den nearby.
Careful not to break through the thin ice covering the waterfall, I lead Aki around a rocky headland to where we can see Lynn Canal. It is empty except for a single golden eye duck, which gives me a hard look before flipping into the water.
After crossing into the forest and over a frosty meadow Aki and I watch a skier being pulled up Peterson Creek by two husky dogs. Aki makes a half-hearted dashed toward the trio but is soon stopped by deep snow. We drop down onto the creek and head for the car and are halfway there when the huskies approach from behind. Aki turns back to bark hello. One of the huskies clamps her in his jaws and then quickly lets go. Aki howls an alarm and runs back to me. Now she is asleep in her house with nothing wounded but her pride.