We drive to one of the access points to the Mendenhall wetlands but don’t stop because pickup trucks fill almost all the parking spaces. Guys with guns must be hunting ducks along the trail. We head over to the Auk Lake Trail where we won’t hear explosions or see plummeting birds.
Volunteers using government money civilized this old lake muddy trail, packing gravel between straight spruce trees that stand like the two lines of a minuet. Aki trots down the trail as if being honored by soldiers holding drawn sabers over her head.
It rains hard enough to pockmark the lake but we have some protection in the trees. Enough wet gets through to charge a small stream. The watercourse passes under the trail through a culvert and emerges as a miniature waterfall. While Aki chases her orange Frisbee, I set a chunk of granite under the outfall. In season, birds might fan their wings in spray that bounces from the rock. In time, if nothing shifts the stone or clogs the culvert, the stream might turn rock into a bowl. After six decades of watching, I want to get in the game.