Aki and I wander around a now-empty Mendenhall Campground. In a normal, snowy winter, cross-country skiers would be whipping past us. But this is not a normal winter. In a few months the place will be jammed with motor homes and tent campers. Today, even through it offers a chance to walk under full sun in spring-like temperatures, the campground is empty of all but the little dog and I.
Aki hunts for scent and snacks dropped by other dog walkers. I philosophize. Aki, there are two kinds of people—clumpers and loners. The clumpers gather with their kind, like those that form an ant-like line on the trail to the glacial ice cave. Loners, we like to stroll alone through beauty. Neither clumper nor loner she, the little dog ignores me. She is happy when alone with me and happy when surrounded by other dogs.