Sitka Trails

August 9, 2007

Harbor Mountain to Gavan Hill

Filed under: Gavan Hill,Harbor Mountain — Matt Goff @ 10:05 pm

Harbor Gavan Shelter View

My brother and I hiked Harbor Mountain to Gavan Hill today. The weather was decent. It was sunny on the drive up, though that did not really last on the trail. There was no rain and the clouds were mostly up above us, though occasionally we were in them. If anything, the wildflowers were even more abundant along the south slopes of Harbor Mountain then they were 4 weeks ago. Certainly the number of different species in profuse bloom was greater. The mud condtions were pretty good for looking at tracks, and we saw lots of ptarmigan tracks along the trail. My brother also followed a bear trail through the grasses some distance. It appeared to him that a sow and 1 or 2 cubs had crossed the trail and headed down into the Cascade Creek drainage between Harbor Mountain and Gavan Hill.

Trail conditions overall were pretty good. There is no snow on the trail at any point. Someone has put nylon netting on the boardwalks heading up into the bowl on Harbor Mountain. It certainly makes the boards less slippery, but I am guessing it won’t be very durable. Along the ridge between the top of the bowl and Harbor Mountain Ridge trail, there were some very muddy spots. As the trail goes along the south facing slopes of Harbor Mountain, there are sections where the Sitka Alders are growing out into the trail. This is causing people to walk at the opposite edge and widen the trail on the downhill side (where there isn’t much room to widen it). It could probably stand to be brushed out a bit. On the Gavan Hill side, it appeared that someone has trimmed the brush from along side the trail most of the way up. The mud terraces along the trail below the Cross Trail intersection are still in place, and the muddy patches continue to get wider as people seek to avoid the deep mud where the water is backed up.

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.

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