Above Tree Line

Aki is only a tiny red dot on a gravel road. I’m two hundred meters above her on a bog-covered hillside. I’m heading toward Cropley Lake. Aki is using her mental superpowers to force me off the mountain. It is not going to work today, little dog. I am not going to turn around, not on this sunny day. In less than a minute, Aki joins me. She doesn’t look happy, just determined. 

            I know Aki will change her attitude when we reach the snow. But first we must climb up a stony stream to a false summit. From there the grade lessens but the trail conditions deteriorate. The little dog and I make our own trail across a meadow just awakening after winter. I stop once to fill my hand with bog cranberries that have wintered under the snow. When I offer Aki some of the berries, she nuzzles then out my palm like a hungry horse. 

            The little dog trots onto a snow field, which offers an easy way to summit a little hill. While she paws and plays in the snow, I continue up hill, following a line of bear tracks to the summit. Below, the still-frozen lake fills a little mountain basin. 

            Aki takes charge on the hike back to the car. She finds a gentle slope that would lead back to the rain forest. But to continue, we would have to cross Fish Creek. I worry that Aki would be swept away if she fell into the swollen creek. We back track and find a safe place to cross the stream and take a surer, if longer, route to the car. 

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