Sitka Trails

August 27, 2007

Indian River Valley

Filed under: Backcountry,Indian River — Matt Goff @ 8:18 pm

Indian River Forest

I hiked up Indian River Trail a couple of miles before venturing off the trail to look around in the west valley. It was a great day for hiking, with sunny skies and comfortably warm temperatures.

The trail was in good condition. I imagine the trail will stay pretty nice until the rain and wind that accompany our Fall and Winter storms arrive later this year. Hopefully the work that was done this summer holds up well.

Other observations from hike.

August 25, 2007

Starrigavan Recreation Area

Filed under: Estuary Life,Forest and Muskeg — Matt Goff @ 8:18 pm

Walking the Forest and Muskeg Trail

We took a family walk on the Forest and Muskeg and Estuary Life trails yesterday. We parked at Old Sitka walked the two trails and connected the loop by taking the road side path back to the parking lot. It was a nice afternoon walk. Despite threatening clouds, we did not get rained on, and the sun even shown through a little bit. Salmon are moving up the stream, and it was interesting to watch the schools from the bridge directly above them.

August 20, 2007

Mt. Edgecumbe

Filed under: Mt. Edgecumbe — Matt Goff @ 3:31 pm

Climbing Above the Treeline on Mt. Edgecumbe

Recently I had the opportunity to go on a hike with a group of people from UAS. Although I have been up Mt. Edgecumbe before, it had been several years since I had last made it out that way. That last time I made it over to Fred’s Creek and the trail was in July 2003. Since that time, a new cabin has been built and the lower 4 miles of the trail have been rebuilt, including a new trailhead and bypass. The original trailhead was right behind the Fred’s Creek Forest Service cabin. The new trailhead is down a 50 yards or so from the cabin. I think this trailhead and trailhead bypass was built to allow hikers to avoid disturbing people staying in the cabin.

The last time I was on the trail, the upper part of the trail had been recently rebuilt. I think work was being done that summer, and perhaps the next, on the lower section of the trail. After at least a couple of years, the trail is still in good condition. There was very little mud, despite the fact that much of the trail runs through or along the edge of muskegs. There was one significant bit of trail damage, however. There was no sign of any bridge across the stream bed near the shelter. I am assuming it was washed out, but I suppose it is possible that the bridge was purposely removed. In the summer, the stream is mostly dry, but it obviously gets lots of water at times. With high water, the stream would probably be difficult to cross, though this is unlikely to be an issue for summer hikers. The new three-sided shelter appears to be in good condtion, and someone has rigged up a rope system for hanging food (or deer?) nearby. The signs for the old and new shelters appear to have been switched, however.

Probably 30 or more people started out on the trail, but only a few when all the way to the top. It took about 3 and a half hours for those I was hiking with to make the summit. Unfortunately, the clouds were down on the summit and it started misting to go along with the stiff breeze, so it was quite chilly and we did not spend long up there. I am sure the trip down would have gone about as fast, except I stopped a lot to take pictures.

Other thoughts and photos related to this hike:
Sandhill Crane
Comments and Question about Kruzof Island Flora
Observations from the Day

Mt. Edgecumbe Trail Along the trail about halfway up.

Mt. Edgecumbe Trailhead Trailhead

Old Mt. Edgecumbe Trailhead Old Trailhead

August 13, 2007

Middle Sister

Filed under: Backcountry,Indian River — Matt Goff @ 6:43 pm

Indian River Valley

Yesterday was my brother’s last full day in town, and he was interested in doing a backcountry hike in the sisters. On what may end up as the warmest day of the year (the temperature got up to 75 in town), we headed out around 9am to climb the Middle Sister. It took us 4 hours or so to reach the summit. From there we followed the ridge back to the last saddle on the south ridge of the North Sister. From there we made our way down into the valley above Indian River Falls. Along the way, we made some unfortunate choices and had to thrash through some unpleasantness (especially considering our warm weather clothing). We finally made it down to the falls about 3 hours after leaving the ridge top. It took us about an hour and fifteen minutes to get back to the trailhead from the falls.

Indian River Trail has seen quite a bit of work done to it since I was last at the Falls in early June. The trail is in very good condition. The brush has been cleared all the way to the falls. The trail itself has been fixed up with several small bridges rebuilt, and several sections with river gravel put in to fix up muddy areas.

We passed four people on our way up Indian River Trail, saw three people coming down the Middle Sister, and passed four people on the trail on our way back. I’m sure there were many more on the trail during the day, given the weekend and weather.

Jonathan Hiking on Alpine Ridge

Mountain View

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.

August 8, 2007

Mosquito Cove Hike

Filed under: Mosquito Cove — Matt Goff @ 10:46 pm

My brother and I went for a hike around Mosquito Cove trail this afternoon. I wanted to see if there were any interesting slime molds, as I had seen several slime molds along the trail around this time last year. I was a little disappointed, as I saw evidence of slime molds that were already pretty much dissolved, but in the end I did find three or for different slime molds. This trail seems to be one of the better locations for finding them.

The trail is in good condition. It looks like the brush has been trimmed back this summer. There is evidence that a bear has been on the trail. We saw several other people also walking the trail while we were on it.

August 7, 2007

A Wet Day on Indian River Trail

Filed under: Indian River — Matt Goff @ 6:27 pm

Indian River Muskeg

My brother and I hiked up Indian River valley yesterday. We were on the trail up past the second bridge and there doesn’t seem to be any problems with the trail to at least that point, though it was a bit muddy due to the rain.

It is August, which means the pink salmon have started running up the river. We didn’t notice any in the river while we were hiking up, but saw several in the various pools visible from the trail beyond the muskeg. Presumbably either we weren’t paying enough attention, or they moved up with the increased flow brought on by the day’s relatively heavy rain. Of course the bears know the salmon are on their way also, and we saw evidence that at least one bear has been utilizing the trail recently, so it’s probably a good idea to be aware.

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