Jun 16 2007
May 19th I was able to accomplish a goal I've had for a long time: hike to Sea Lion Cove on Kruzof Island, the island that hosts our ancient volcano, Mt. Edgecumbe. It was a fund-raising hike for Sitka Trail Works, an annual event that is a ride on a fast Allen Marine boat to Kalinin Bay, where we are dropped off on the beach and spend the day hiking over a pass to Sea Lion Cove and back. The weather was made-to-order!
The morning was calm and very low tide. On our return, it had filled in all those mud flats.
By the time I got to this point of the hike, I was by myself, having stopped many times to take pictures of the incredible scenery. I started up this hill, wondering when I would catch up with folks ahead of me. The boat's captain and crew member were somewhere way behind me. I felt very alone, which was okay until I saw the bear skat right in the middle of the trail in the deep, dark woods. I increased my speed through that stretch of woods and as I was coming up onto a muskeg area I saw some slow hikers. My heart rate gradually decreased and I was once again able to enjoy the hike.
The unnamed lake at the halfway point is a particular delight. It's not large but is quite beautiful. The trail continues along the right side of it, in amongst the trees and roots.
The oldgrowth forest on this side of the hike was amazing. So untouched and very green. It had a mystical feel to it.
Coming out of the woods, after trailing alongside a little woodland stream, was breathtaking. Sand dunes off to the right are slowly becoming wooded and a fringe of trees grows just above the beach. Spring flowers were not out yet but the meadow below the trees and above the beach must be full of Indian Paint Brush, Western Buttercups, Silverweed, among many others. I did see a few blooming Shooting Stars along the trail in the muskeg area.
The beach from end to end is about a mile wide. The twenty-some hikers spread out, some after resting at the trail head, others with hardly a pause, eager to beachcomb the untouched sands. I was one of those. About halfway down the beach towards the south end, I stopped to drink water and eat some lunch. A welcome respite. The breeze was a bit cool, coming off the Pacific, in spite of the sun, so shoes were left on. I got to that end and discovered I would need to wade across a very cold stream in order to climb out on the rocky bluff, my original destination, and where some others had gone ahead of me. So I changed course and wandered inland a bit, alongside the stream. I was a bit wary about bears so stayed out in the open and didn't go far. On my way back, I rested up on the meadow a while, enjoying the scenery and watching my fellow hikers. During my walk on the beach I saw tracks from deer and land otters. Pretty cool! Not sure what they were after as there was no seaweed on the beach for the deer to eat. I suppose the otter might have been going out for a frolic in the surf.
I spent some time in the woods just beyond the meadow. I communed with a squirrel munching on a pine cone for a while (pictures were out of focus - too dark), and saw some salmonberry leaf buds venturing forth on this spring morning. Other signs of spring were everywhere in the woods.
After a pleasant walk back with another photographer, the hikers gradually straggled back to Kalinin Bay to await their ride.