Solitary Goat


Aki and I walk the shore of Mendenhall Lake to Nugget Falls. We seem to have the place to ourselves. Two days ago, when it was all blue skies and sunshine, half of Juneau might have been here, skiing or hiking on the trail or on the lake. Even on a normal weekday, we would be sharing this popular trail with other dog walkers. But today is the first cloudy day we’ve had after a long string of blue-sky one. People must be recovering from sun stimulus syndrome.


Nugget Falls roars its way down to the lake under a bumpy coating of ultramarine colored ice. The places where concentrated current is keeping the falls ice free are fringed with leaf-shaped formations of ice crystals. All this bores my little dog. She follows close at my heals, trying to make eye contact. While I enjoy the solitude of empty spaces, the little dog prefers a crowd.


She is happy when we start back to the car. I don’t know why I turn around but I do. There, on s snow-covered section of glaciated rock, stands a large mountain goat. He looks directly at Aki and me for a minute, then slowing turns away his head. A minute later, he moves slowly away.


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