A lot of the staff have been taking advantage of Sitka’s natural charms lately. It seems like every day, somebody else is talking about their plans for hiking, kayaking, or biking. Any time off is appreciated and enjoyed to the fullest, as all of us know that when the season really gets going, we won’t have the luxury of time or energy to explore Sitka.
Some of the boys ran up Mt. Verstovia the other day. Mt. Verstovia was named in 1809 by Russian navigator Ivan Vasilyev. That was way back before Seward’s folly, when the Russians still owned Alaska, and Sitka was their capital. The hike is awesome, with amazing views from the top. It takes approximately one to two hours to get to the top (depending what kind of shape you are in), and it rises 2550 feet from sea level. The boys pushed themselves hard and made it up and down in two hours. The trail is full of steep terrain and many switch backs, but if you are persistent, the views from the top are spectacular. For those who really like heights, the much higher (and more intense) Mt. Arrowhead is another 45 minutes’ climb. (Technically, what most people around here call Mt. Arrowhead is really Mt. Verstovia. Arrowhead is further inland and cannot be seen from town.)
Monday was a very nice day, and I took the afternoon off to go do some hiking of my own. My plan was to hike up Cascade Creek, which runs about 3 miles from some nearby mountains down to the sea here in town. I hiked from near its mouth, all the way up to the start of one of its tributaries high up on the valley wall. It was an intense hike—only about 6 miles, but there wasn’t a trail for most of it. I hiked through the water, and along the bank, climbing over, under and around downed logs, deadfalls, thickets, and boulder fields. It was a great workout. Cascade Creek is aptly named; there were dozens of small waterfalls along the way to admire. The coastal forest was a rich green color, and everything was covered in a spongy green moss. It was beautiful. I really had a good time, and I was happy that my planning came together nicely.
Sitka is an awesome starting point for kayaking; it is very well protected from the many islands around. Some of the staff have taken the kayaks out for overnight trips during the past few weeks. The National Forest service has built a number of cabins on many of the nearby islands, which they rent out on a first come, first served policy. They are quite popular among kayakers and boaters alike. You can see one of these cabins when we travel to or from the north when we take clients out fishing. It’s located on the west side of Neva straight.
One of our staff caught the largest King Salmon of the year so far. It was during a “fun fishing” day, when we didn’t have any clients out fishing. It was a nice King, weighing in at 33 lbs. You can check out a picture of it, as it was our “Catch of the day ” for May 25th.
Looking ahead on our schedule, we have more clients coming in this week, and we’ll have multiple boats going out to catch some fish. We are all excited, as we are starting to get into the busier times here at the lodge.
Written by Tom, Deckhand ~ Checkmate