The younger spruce lining this trail look hammered by new snow that fell in fat moist flakes to quickly reclaimed the forest for winter. The snowshoes sink 6 inches with every step on a trail that was bare last weekend. Everything bends under white weight except the old growth stuff — spruce and hemlock trees that send straight shafts to the canopy. Some second growth trees appear to embrace the storm. Their vestige branches curve upward just feet above our heads to cradle newly fallen snow.
Aki has three more adults to manage today. She runs among us all while wearing a new snow suit that covers her legs in the faint hope of eliminating her snow ball problem. This kind of snow clumps quickly on her fine poodle hair; forming white billiard balls on the inside of her legs that force her into a bow legged gait. Running up to me as we approach a meadow she tilts her head in query as if she wants reassurance that the new snow outfit doesn’t make her look fat.