Sitka Day 6: Herring Cove to Beaver Lake

Hark! There be sunshine alighting on this island! And so it goes, that when the clouds part all tasks must come to rest and any good Sitkan must attend to the opportunities immediately at hand: glimpsing great views and hiking unburdened by rain gear.

Today, that took the form of a 5 mile snowy loop hike on the newly expanded Herring Cove to Beaver Lake trail in the Tongass National Forest. But in order to get my map and meet my new hiking buddy, I had to find his house…on a tugboat. If you’re from here that’s not a big deal. To me, it’s quite astonishing. Needless to say I enjoyed a morning cup of tea sitting at a table that seemed to teeter…or was it the walls that moved? Or the good company I kept–maybe he was moving side-to-side? All of it was moving, of course, as the boat gently bobbed. This required no act of concentration for the host. My concentration, however, was another matter.

The trail was clear down to the rocks in places, in others the snow knee-high, and still a few other times if I missed a step or two I found myself thigh-high in white stuff. With air temps in the high 30’s, I didn’t mind and it made for a bit of adventure. Here’s a glimpse:

And here, as the trail seemed a bit unclear, our fearless leader Colorado
guided us for nearly half a mile with impressive accuracy.

Later, we encountered this surprise: a massive windfall of western hemlock and Sitka spruce. Apparently, on November 11 an uncustomary northwester tackled Baranof Island with gusts up to 60 miles per hour. I’m told a few hunters were out at Beaver Lake that night, and they said the sound of these trees crashing through the lonely dark was indescribably powerful. We contoured and climbed and got over without too much trouble, slow and steady.

Finally, the short drive home afforded a nice view of the fjords that characterize
Southeast Alaska. So nice to see the Tongass today in delightfully uninterrupted light!
Showing 4 comments
  • Anonymous

    Katey, Thank you for posting this. I cannot imagine experiencing the journey you have described so well, both geographically and personally. You've definitely given me an idea of what this part of the world is like. The photographs are wonderful. EMS

  • Mendy (Hillpoet)

    WOW! What else can one say? Hope to see this myself one day.

  • Ellice Teems

    Absolutely astonishing! Thank you!

  • layana

    That place looks amazing! I can only imagine the excitement that I will feel to experience an adventure in a dreamy place like that.

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