Remembering Romeo

Aki is nose down, snuffling her way along a moraine trail. Her paws punch inch-deep holes in the snow as we make our way over ground still rebounding from the time, not so long ago, that it supported the weight of a retreating glacier. 

            In s normal winter the little dog and I would be in danger of slipping on icy or crusted-over snow. But the stuff covering the moraine trail is soft and yielding. We pass the edge of a beaver pond covered with a paper-thin layer of ice. Water still pours over the beaver’s dam where some guy tried to dismantle it. 

            We drop down onto the lakeshore to get our first unfiltered view of the glacier. There is an informal trail packed down by the boots of paws of others. I leave the easy path and punch my way to the ice edge and find only the track of one large canine that moved with purpose toward the Mendenhall River. The animal moved in a steady trot, the kind used by sled dogs and wolves to cover ground. 

The romantic in me wants to attribute the tracks to a wolf. Years ago, Aki and I listened to wolf howling when we skied along the edge of this lake. Later that winter, a black wolf nicknamed “Romeo” followed the little dog and I as we crossed the moraine. But Romeo is now long dead. These might be wolf tracks. No trail of boot prints runs parallel to them. 

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