On days like this, when the sky looks like dirty sheep’s wool and there is no wind to create drama, my mind wanders. I forget for moments to monitor Aki. There is little to endanger the poodle on this trail to Nugget Falls. When she finishes her most recent exploration, she will catch up.
Even though fuzzy catkins decorate bare willow branches, it doesn’t feel like spring. There is no sign that bears have stirred from their winter dens. No wolf tracks mark the remaining snow. No eagles bicker in the nearby spruce trees. Only the falls, now unfrozen, makes any sound.
Across the lake Mendenhall Glacier snakes down through rocky cliffs. We walk toward the falls in gray light until the sun breaks through the marine layer to give the dog and I crisp shadows. It forms faint rainbow prisms on the falls for a second and then disappears. High above the glacier a large mountain goat rests on a ledge. It appears to be looking at Aki and I rather than the glacier or the shafts of light glistening the lake ice. It appears to be in a philosophical mood.