Sitka Trails

October 9, 2007

Bear Mountain via Beaver Lake Trail

Filed under: Backcountry,Bear Mountain,Beaver Lake — Matt Goff @ 8:20 pm

Beaver Lake to Herring Cove from Bear Mountain

Labor Day dawned nice and sunny, so I decided to hike up Bear Mountain. I have only been up Bear Mountain twice before, once in late June or early July 1995 by way of Beaver Lake up to the summit ridge (but not the summit), and the second time just a little way up beyond the treeline in August 2004.

I borrowed the neighbor’s car to drive to the Beaver Lake trailhead. I wanted to do the Beaver Lake loop while hiking, so I took the slightly longer route along the lake shore to where I planned to leave the trail on the way up I just had a short section of shoreline and the cross-muskeg section to do on the way down. There were quite a few other people that I passed while headed up between 11am and noon, but I came down fairly late and did not see anyone else.

It took me a half an hour to get from the trailhead to where I left the trail. From there, it was about an hour and 15 minutes more to the treeline. I took a pretty good pace, pushing about as fast as I was comfortable with on the steep terrain. I took several short breaks, but tried to limit them to only a couple of minutes. Once I reached the treeline, I slowed down a bit and enjoyed the scenery. It was late enough in the season that there were not that many flowers blooming, so I was not too distracted by them.

I ended up taking roughly the same route as I had in 1995. From about 3500 feet up, things were much different, however. In early summer, the upper elevations were still covered by a single large snowfield. This time there were a few much smaller snow patches, with significant sections of rock and gravel.

It was in these upper sections that I found interesting alpine plants (see also: Bear Mountain Asters, Bear Mountain Saxifrages, and other Bear Mountain flowers). I also saw several tufts of Mountain Goat hair and some Mountain Goat tracks. When I looked down the other side of the ridge, I could saw three Mountain Goats resting on the snow well below me. (See my natural history notes from that day for more observations.)

It took me quite a bit less time getting down, though I do not remember for sure how long. I think it was about 2 hours from the 3500 foot level back to the trailhead, but it might have been a little longer.

Beaver Lake trail was in good condition. Getting up Bear Mountain was steep and fairly muddy in places. Route finding is relatively easy (for a back country route), as there are qiute a few flags marking the way. That said, it’s a very steep and strenuous hike with little more than a game trail to follow. I would not recommend it for those who don’t enjoy that sort of thing.

Bear Mountain Summit Ridge

Bear Mountain View

September 1, 2007

Crab Bay to Kamenoi Beach

Filed under: Backcountry,Kruzof Island — Matt Goff @ 6:19 pm

Kamenoi Beach and Kamenoi Point

Scott Harris asked me if I wanted to go with him to check out Kamenoi Beach as a possible site for his COASST project observations. So we left Crescent Harbor a little after 9am. It took us a bit less than an hour to make the trip to Crab Bay. There is a mooring buoy located here for those staying at Brent’s Beach Cabin.

From Crab Bay, we followed a set of undeveloped but well used paths through the woods to bypass the drift logs, windthrow, and steep slopes at Kamenoi Point to reach Kamenoi Beach. We just walked to the south end of the beach before making our way back to Crab Bay and the boat.

Some years back, I hiked south along the shoreline for at least a couple of miles and I know others who have hiked at least as far as Fred’s Creek. Between Crab Bay and at least Shoal’s Point to the south, the Kruzof island coastline makes for a relatively easy and interesting backcountry route.

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 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

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