Sitka Trails

July 20, 2007

Verstovia (Picnic Rock)

Filed under: Verstovia — Matt Goff @ 9:44 pm


Yesterday I spent a few hours hiking up to Picnic Rock. In the nearly two weeks since the last time I was up there, the snow has melted completely off the trail. There is still a sizable snow patch close to the trail, however. Given how fast it has been shrinking, it will probably be gone by August.

On yesterday’s hike, I accidentally left my spare camera battery and compact flash card (filled with photos) right below Picnic Rock where I changed memory cards. I did not discover this until I got home, so I went up again this morning with fellow hiking enthusiast Matt Hunter. We took a moderate, but steady, pace with no breaks and made it to Picnic Rock in just over an hour. Fortunately my lost items were right where I thought I had left them.

I saw no one on the trail yesterday, though it appeared someone may have been up part way with a dog while I was up. Today we saw a man with two of his grandchildren heading up when we were almost back down. Visibility was low above 800 or 1000 feet in elevation both days, so that may have been part of the reason why there were so few other people.

July 15, 2007

Bike, Hike, and Paddle

Filed under: Green Lake Road,Medvejie Lake — Matt Goff @ 6:39 pm

Medvejie Lake

Connor and I got dropped off with my bike and the trail-a-bike at the Herring Cove gate. We rode out to Bear Cove, hiked to Medvejie Lake, paddled to the upper end of the lake, then did the same in reverse on the way back (with the addition of a ride into town from Herring Cove).

It’s a good time to be out on Green Lake Road. There are lots of flowers blooming and salmonberries are ripe. There were several piles of bear droppings, though we saw no bears.

The last time I was up Medvejie was November 2004. Later that year, there was a substantial wind storm that I had heard resulted in some issues for the trail up to Medvejie Lake. As far as I know, Medvejie Lake Trail is not officially maintained, though it’s clear that someone occasionally does some work on it, so I was curious to see what the trail was like.

The start of the trail was about the same as I remember. The water was up, so Connor made the log crossing a little down stream. The trail from the end of the log to the main part of the trail has seen enough traffic to muddy the ground, but the brush hangs over it. If the stream level is low enough, it’s definitely easier to just cross it and get right on the trail.

The middle section of the trail was more or less obliterated by a decent sized bit of wind throw (probably from the storm in December 2004). There were some logs to crawl under or over, and a couple of different options, but for the most part, there’s been enough work to make a reasonable trail through. Once past all the fallen trees, the trail was fine.

At the lake there were two canoes and a coleman skiff. The skiff was a little bit for me to manage by myself, so I left it in favor of a canoe. The aluminum canoe seemed to be leak free today (in the past, it’s had slow leaks). I guess the duct tape on the bottom of the boat did the trick.

There were several people we passed on the road, but did not see anyone on the trail.

July 14, 2007

Gavan Hill Trail

Filed under: Gavan Hill — Matt Goff @ 6:45 pm

Connor, Rowan, and I walked a short distance of Gavan Hill Trail yesterday so I could re-photograph some plants that I had noticed on a previous hike. We did not go far, but it looked like someone had been along trimming back the plants from the side of the trail. I am not sure how far up the trail this extended, but it was done at least as far as we went.

July 10, 2007

Harbor Mountain and Gavan Hill

Filed under: Gavan Hill,Harbor Mountain — Matt Goff @ 9:45 pm

Harbor Mountain

My wife and I hiked Harbor Mountain to Gavan Hill today. It was a very wet day to be hiking, but we passed 4 others on their way to Harbor Mountain and 2 on Gavan Ridge (going up and down Gavan) and 3 more near the Cross Trail Intersection.

There is still some snow left, and by the look of the plants, the snow has only recently melted off many other places. I noticed one patch of snow along the edge of the road on the way up. On Harbor Mountain trail there were several small patches of snow, but I expect they will be gone within a week or so. The Gavan side had quite a bit of snow between the shelter and the top of Gavan Ridge. It’s not really an impediment to walking or route finding, however, and it will probably be almost gone in the next couple of weeks.

Harbor Mountain Trail seemed to be in pretty good condition.

Gavan Hill Trail has seen some recent maintenance is in pretty decent condition overall. There were a few places where steps have been added where needed and fallen trees cut away. The only thing I noticed was one excessively muddy section not too far below the Cross Trail Intersection where cedar lots were placed as erosion control and/or steps, but with all the rain the puddles formed behind each of them creating a very muddy patch that people are now walking off the trail to avoid.

For those interested in wildflowers, it’s a great time to be up in the alpine, and the south slopes of Harbor Mountain were especially rich. There was an incredible abundance and diversity of wildflowers. I over 40 different species blooming or close to blooming along the trail at or above the treeline.

July 8, 2007

Heart and Thimbleberry Lake Trail

Filed under: Heart Lake,Thimbleberry Lake — Matt Goff @ 9:27 pm

Heart Lake

Connor and I did the trail from Heart Lake to Thimbleberry Lake on bicycle today. This is the first time I’ve been on the route since the new trail was opened this last May. I’ll need to do a fair amount of revision to the Heart Lake and Thimbleberry Lake Trail sections of the trail guide, as the trail is significantly different than the old trail it replaces.

The trail is about as wide as a road with a slightly raised middle portion. It consists of well-packed dirt and rock with a couple of bridges on the Thimbleberry Lake side. Several benches were placed alongside the trail, and a dock with skiff on Heart Lake is a noticable new addition, as well.

The trail is pretty steep in a few places, but there are no steps, as it is intended that this trail be used by mountain bikers and cross country skiers in season. I was not able to pedal up the steeper sections with the trail-a-bike, though I think I would have been able to make it on my own. I’m sure the trail-a-bike was not intended for off-road use, but it seemed to do all right on this relatively tame trail. Connor thought the bumpy ride going down hill was fun.

July 6, 2007

Verstovia Trail

Filed under: Verstovia — Matt Goff @ 11:46 pm

I hiked up to Picnic Rock today. The trail is in the best condition I have seen it since a Sitka Trail Works crew rebuilt the trail almost 10 years ago.

It appears that a trail crew did some work earlier this summer. Stairs have been added or replaced, erosion controls have been added, switch-backs have been fixed, and fallen trees removed from the trail. Most of the work looks like it took place on the lower section of the trail below the first view point, but there were at least some repairs/improvements all the way up to the ridge.

Snow is still on the trail between the treeline and Picnic Rock, though Picnic Rock itself and the surrounding area is free of snow.


Filed under: Uncategorized — Matt Goff @ 3:13 am

I’m going to see if I can do current trail condition type stuff in this weblog, but mostly I’ll be using the pages so that the trailguide can have comments.

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