Having walked for an hour and a half, I turn to face the sun, convinced that at least a day has passed since we left the car and approached the exit point of the Peterson Creek Salt Chuck. Over the crunch of Aki’s paws breaking through shell ice along the creek I heard waves roaring to their collapse on the exit point rocks. Water streaming to sea over the rocks refused to freeze but ice and frost coated anything standing above the current. Strong morning light suffused the products of winter so they glowed with a beauty that I could never catch with my old digital camera. I understood that old cliché about feasting on beauty; never had to touch the energy bar I brought to stem off hunger.
Rested but a little worn by the aural and visual stimulus, I turned my back on the sun and threw a shadow on sparkling snow until reaching the upper end of Amalga Meadow and the old horse tram trail to Eagle River. Part of the way we followed wolf tracks, passing a bloody patch of snow and the ripped up remains of a porcupine. It took some persuading to get Aki to let the old porky’s bones rest in peace.
The wolf lead us to a grove of diminutive evergreens, all flocked with frost feathers. Aki, wearing her warmest sweater, posed in front of the trees. A small mound of frost feathers grew out of the snowy ground. They appeared to be attached to a round creature that had fluffed up his feather cloak for warmth on this cold day. I was tempted to nudge the mound to see what stirred under all that crystalline finery. Instead, I faced the sun and enjoyed the sparkle of backlit frost all the way to the car.