Saturday, October 09, 2010

Hunkering Down

Well it looks like Sitka's got a hold of us for the winter. We've decided to at least leave the boat here and explore more of their wonderful trails. The harbor's nice, and they promise not to have too big of a La Nina year, so we're looking for money-making opportunities so we can keep up the gypsy life next year.

Here are acouple of interesting trails we've hiked recently.

The first is the causeway built from Japonski Island to connect several islands for defence in WWII. Recently dedicated as Ft. Rousseau State Park, there are plans for interpretive stuff and boat launches to get over here from Sitka. The airport kinds of blocks access from land, so you can only get here by small boat or kayak. Regardless of the access issues, it is an interesting place. Built with antiaircraft gunnery, and concrete bunkers, there's still lots of cool stuff to see here.

This railway was probably a circle to roll the cannons for a 360deg view.  Waves have eroded many of the filled areas, and there are a few places where the trail is missing.

 The maze-like antiaircraft batteries were evidently covered with some sort of roof, but could look out in all directions.
 One of the abandoned bunkers is not quite empty. A rough-cut bar with stools, make-shift disco ball, and wood stove are ready for the next rave.

Blain thought he could get this old crane working again if he'd only brought his leatherman. Darn. We've been needing a crane.
 The causeway is exposed to the gulf waves, and it's a spectacular spot on a sunny day.

The new deisel heater came in and Blain spent the better part of a day and a half putting it in. We are very happy to report it works wonderfully, and really takes the chill out of the fall air. Here's Blain trying to figure out the fuel metering pump and filter.

 After the work was done, we tackled a couple of new trails. The Beaver Lake and Harbor Mountain trails.
 Gorgeous rock work and bridges really are raising the bar on trails in Alaska. Sitka Trail Works and the Forest Service have partnered to really build them right. And the citizens and visitors of Sitka reap the rewards.

After slogging and crawling through so many muddy rootwad tracks that get called "trails" in SE Alaska over the last year, we were utterly shocked by how good the Harbor Mtn trail was. Obviously built by folks to last a lifetime, it incorporates full bench construction, substantial rock causeways and stairways, and to the delight of Monique, neat stone benches and overlooks.
 The shelter at Gavan Hill was squat, but would be cozy if stuck in a snowstorm.
And the view. Well ya got to love it. The string of land between the islands is the WWII causeway (Ft. Rousseau).

 Obviously Sitka has done what few communities in Southeast have done - invest in their trails. We, for two, appreciate it.