Three college-aged folk just stepped onto the lake ice. They shuffle their feet to test for cracks. When reassured by silence, they start the 1.2-mile walk the face of Mendenhall Glacier. I am tempted to follow them. Our recent stint of cold weather set up the ice nicely for walking. Then there’s the patch of dark blue ice that might be the opening to a crevasse. But we still swing away from lake and take the trail to Nugget Falls.
While our spell of cold weather opened up the lake to walking, it made the falls trail treacherous. My cleats provide sufficient purchase on the icy trail for progress. Aki finds better going on the crusty snow that lines the trail. I’d punch through if I tried that trick.
The little dog waits for me at stream crossings where a thin sheet of water covers the ice. She knows not to let her feet get wet in freezing weather. I lift her with one hand and ferry her to the other side of each creek. She trots ahead scouting out possible dangers. She wants me forewarned.
The falls have been quieted by cold. Water flows over and under an ice fantasy that will continue to grow until true cold weather silences the creek. The ice shell makes it possible for us to walk right up to a spot normally swept by thick snakes of water. I turn to see whether Aki appreciates this rare chance. Rather than nosing the wonder with the tip of her muzzle, the poodle-mix is ten feet away, huddling in a nest of glacial granite.