The unceasing freeze-thaw cycle means the snow has an eggshell crust and Sophie, who usually loves porpoising through deep snow, stays in the packed-down track today; crust-wallowing is hard for a little dog. When I break through it scrapes my numb shins.
Deep postholes marr the path for a couple meters; I realize they are hoof-shaped and look around for the moose, hoping he has already crossed the road and gone down to the creek banks. There is coyote scat in the trail and, fascinated, Sophie agitates the snow in the pawprints with her little claws and thrusts her nose deep into the well of scent. The droppings have ice facets growing on them so they're from yesterday but on the way back she stands still, her shepherd ears tense and pointing skyward. I get goosebumps and scan the hills adjacent. She senses so many things I am oblivious to.
At the end she is still energetic; four cold miles wasn't nearly enough, so I pledge to her an afternoon play date with one of the many dog friends we have.
|Sophie's "Run me" face|