Aki wants to use the campground trail—the one jammed with noisy school kids. From the racket they make, they must be as charged up by the sudden appearance of the sun as me. We try to avoid little kids. The little dog tends to treat them as puppies. She loves to dash up to them barking a “hey how are you guys doing” bark.
Since they don’t speak dog, the kids usually mistake her exuberance for aggression. I lead her away from the packed campground trail for one covered with soft snow. It follows the contours of the lake shore.
Last night’s freeze formed a light crust on the snow, just enough to allow the 10-pound poodle-mix to trot across its surface. My boot crash through after every step. Aki flies over the snow, rooming far and wide in search of interesting smells. I plod on, my boots soaking up moisture from the wet snow beneath the crust.
I had planned to follow the lake shore to where the Mendenhall River leaves the lake. But it takes a lot of energy to pull my boot free from the snow after each step. I may not make it all the way the river. Aki must sense this. I spot her waiting for me at the start of a path that will offer quick access to the campground trail. In seconds both us are walking comfortably on the top of the firm trail.