I hadn’t meant to climb so far and fast up this mountain service road. Aki had animal signs to read and I wanted to study the emerging high country flowers, enjoy surprising mixes of magenta dwarf fireweed and white daisy, stand of shooting stars rising above yellow butter cups. Noise drove us on —- in the form of a lecture about a 1960’s US presidential election given by a man to two woman as they kept pace just behind me on the road. Finding a gear not used for some time I pressed ahead until no human voice could be heard above bird song and the occasional warning whistle of a marmot to it’s younger kin.
Once in gear I moved up without thought, like a Tour de France cyclist climbing in the Alps. Up we moved until only old wind battered spruce broke the horizon line. Soon we even rose above them to where carpets of flowering heather cover the ground. I tried leading Aki across snow fields linked by a heavily damaged wood planked trail to a ridge line promising views of Admiralty Island. Aki loved the snow, sliding and digging in it like a puppy as I struggled to stay upright. We turned around before having to cross a steeply sloped snow field that ended just above a steep drop.