Yesterday’s indulgence of sun ended as we completed our walk. Rain came next, followed in the evening by showers of wet snowflakes. This morning the rain has returned. We head out to the glacial moraine to see it when it is completely inundated by fresh snow.
As I dig my ice spikes out of the car Aki dashes around the trailhead parking lot. She’d already be on the trail if a meter-high berm pushed us by a snowplow didn’t cover the access point. We both have to post hole up and over the berm before starting our walk through the stunted forest covering the moraine. The ice spikes dangle from my gloveless hand while I try to decide if they will be needed. By the time we reach the viewpoint of Mt. McGinnis, the spikes are in my pocket where they will stay the rest of the morning.
The boots of earlier hikers have firmed up the trail, making for an easy walk for man and little dog. A kilometer in, the boot prints disappear. There should be prints to prove that the persons turned around but there are none. I start to ask Aki if this is evidence of an alien abduction. Something in the look she gives me makes me reconsider.
We turn back to a trail fork. Turning left would mean a quick trip back to the car. Remembering my Robert Frost, I take the less trodden path, hoping that my choice will make all the difference. Only the footprints made by a person with legs longer and feet smaller than I dimple the deep snow. As long as I plant my feet in the other’s footprints, I can stay on top of the snow load. When I don’t my boot sinks into soft, wet stuff.
Aki, of course, just trots on top of the crust while I adapt my stride to match that of the one who went before. I find myself leaning back and shooting my right foot forward like Art Crumb’s Mr. Natural. While this walking style seemed to bring joy to the cartoon character, it eats up my energy. Aki looks back often to make sure that I am doing Okay. We are both relieved when we make it back to the car, which is now covered with new snow.