Sunlight floods over Mt. McGinnis but leaves the rest of our view in the dim glow of early morning. Aki and I traverse up a granite cliff shaved flat by the retreating glacier. She moves freely over the ice and packed snow trail with me following cautiously behind. Already one of my ice grippers is broken.
Even without their leaves the trail side brush screen out most of the view, here of frozen lake and the flat moraine that boarders it, now just being touched by early morning light. I spot a mountain goat on the high ground above Nugget Falls, maybe a mile away and look forward to a chance to view him a close.
With their white fleece, curved back horns and prominent brow, our Mountain Goats look like descendants of the pagan god Pan. I can almost hear his pipe music play over the awakening moraine below, looking new and fresh in first light under this crisp blue sky. Recognizing the danger in such a flight of fancy, Aki snaps me out of it with a full speed charge down trail.
Despite her efforts I still feel like the first man to transit this trail to Nugget Falls—the air too clean, colors too rich, light too pure, snow too deep and shapely, the silence too profound for me to accept her well meaning lesson.