Mosquito Cove Trail and Estuary Life Trail Loops

The snow from the weekend was all gone by the time Wednesday rolled around. In the limited time we had, we opted to do Mosquito Cove and since we still had some time, we followed that up with the Estuary Life Trail.

It took us about 40 minutes to do the Mosquito Cove loop, though my GPS software said I was only moving for about 25 minutes of that. The kids decide we would do the overland portion first, heading directly to Mosquito Cove. It’s .6 miles to to the cove via this section of the trail, then another .9 miles back around, mostly following the shoreline of Starrigavan Bay. One of the things I like about Mosquito Cove trail is the opportunity to take a look at the rock outcrops directly adjacent to the trail as it comes in (or leaves) Mosquito Cove toward the water side of the loop. These particular rock faces are one of only a couple of places along the Sitka road system that I have noticed Green Spleenwort (Asplenium trichomanes-ramosum) growing, and the only one that is easily accessible via trail, so it’s always fun to take note and say hello them as I’m walking along.

With a fair amount of time left before needing to be back for other activities, I decided we could walk the Estuary Life Trail as well. We parked at the viewing shelter parking lot, and I opted to make a loop of it by walking along Nelson Logging Road and then Halibut Point Road, while the kids chose to just go along the trail and back. Although we didn’t see anything too unusual along the elevated boardwalk of the trail, it is always nice to check out what’s going on in the estuary. It can be a good location to observe birds, and over the years several rarities have shown up it. The highlight for me was not actually on the trail, but rather a small group of scoters came up fairly close to the road bridge over the river, and among them was a pair of Black Scoters. It was fun to observe them at relatively close range, as they are not very common around here in general, and are even less often seen from the road system.

1.5 miles (Mosquito Cove loop)
1 mile (Estuary Life loop)

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