Wolverine

Aki’s on to something. We are thirty miles out the road from Juneau where three inches of hoar frost covers the trail. It collapses under Aki’s paws as she trots toward a line of animal tracks. The thing that made the tracks recently left the old growth forest ten meters from where the little dog stands. 

I didn’t notice the tracks right away because I was distracted by the sun-sparkled frost that radiated out from every blade of grass, willow twig, and spruce branch. Like a raven, I’m attracted to shiny things. We are the first visitors to walk on the frosted trail so the tracks are still pristine. Who ever made them stomped down the trail like she owned it.

I quickly rule out canines, wolf or coyote, and lynx. They are too big for marmots or mink, too small for bears. The mysterious animal lacked hooves so I eliminate deer and moose. I can think of only one animal that would makes a line of tracks like the one that Aki is following. Little girl, did you find us a wolverine? 

The tracks look fresh and I remember how a few weeks ago Aki’s other human saw a wolverine a few miles from where we are today. Nothing good would come from meeting one of the big weasels here. They one of the few animals fierce enough to back off a bear. I encourage Aki to move on down the trail in the opposite direction from that taken by the wolverine. 

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