It froze hard last night. The skies cleared enough to expose the moon slipping in and out of cloud cover like a sneak thief. Aki and I breakfasted early and headed out to visit Sheep Creek. I made of point of checking the avalanche warning sign as we left the Juneau outskirts. It warned that the road would be closed this afternoon while a helicopter dropped explosive charges onto the Mt. Robert’s snow pack. Unless the dropper screws up, the snow he dislodges with his charges won’t reach the road. But it has happened.
The little dog and I will be home before the first charge is dropped. But I still feel nervous driving through the two-mile-long avalanche zone. The car manages to skid to a stop in the trailhead parking lot. It’s pretty icy, little dog. Aki does a better job than I maneuvering across the slick parking lot and down a short trail to beach. Last night’s tide swept the creek delta clear of snow and ice, eliminating any chance of a nasty fall.
A nearby eagle screams out a warning, sounding like an over vigilant homeowner warning off trespassers. It’s the only bird sound we will hear this morning. I can’t see the eagle or the usual ravens, gulls, or ducks that make their living along Sheep Creek. The place seems scoured clean of birds by the strong morning light. I want to rush out to the ponds formed near the shore of Gastineau Channel by current and tide. If we hurry, we can enjoy the reflection of Sheep Mountain in the ponds before the wind arrives to fracture it.
Aki hangs back at the snow edge, using her mental powers to force me to arc back so we can walk along a line of sand dunes towards the old ore house. But I can be as stubborn as the little dog. When I am halfway to the first pond, Aki breaks into a trot to join me. But, by making me turn back often to check on her, she slowed my progress. The wind is just ruffling the first pond when we reach it. The mountain reflection in another pond is ruined by surface ice. Neither ice nor wind bothers the third pond, which holds a clear reverse image of Mt Jumbo and the Douglas Mountain Ridge.