June 21, Wednesday
Tom had scouted out another hike that he wanted to try – just ½ mile away from our campsite. Knowing what I know now – the blurb on the map (Mosquito Cove Loop 1.25 miles, easy gravel and boardwalk) left out a lot of detail! With the temperatures in the low 50’s we didn’t think we would need to worry about mosquitoes! It was also raining very lightly as we started out.
It started out easy enough, a nice wide path leading into the deep, dark woods, and a bit of gentle up-and-down. Then the trail got down to some serious business – lots of steps --- some board-walk-style, and some made out of halved logs set into the mountainside. Either way – I worked up a sweat. Pretty soon, I was dripping wet, and that was underneath my poncho! As we advanced we saw glimpses of the cove as our path meandered around and up and over the mountainside.
Tom follows the rules when hiking in bear country -- giving the bear a good chance to hear us coming: "We're coming around the corner" . . . "We're hiking up the trail" . . . "We're coming over the bridge." (The original policy was to yell "HEY BEAR" as you go down the trail. But, we have been told that tends to panic anyone that hears you coming.)
The end of the cove was where the trail curved around and looped back to the parking lot via a shorter distance. It was a beautiful hike . . . one that I enjoyed in spite of having to take off my glasses that kept fogging up!
We stopped back at the camper for dry clothes, made sandwiches, and headed into town. I had a hankering for some more Sitka shopping, even if it was to be the same stores over again! At a a grocery store we got some leafy-green to go with our supper, and rented a movie for the evening -- "A Dog's Purpose." This will be the 4th time that we have ever had the TV in the camper turned on!
June 22, Thursday
Today marks our 3-weeks-since-leaving-home observance – and our last full day on Sitka. Remembering that we visited the Sitka Historical Park on Sunday, when the visitor center was closed; we headed back to see what we had missed. Inside was a nice display and video of native Tlingit history entwined with Russian conflict. Also, there was a record number of the totem poles in the area, and a master (totem) carver, Tommy Josephs, working away in his studio (and me without a camera!)
With blue sky making an appearance we headed out on the totem trail for a second time. It is such a lovely, level, wide, trail that skirts the ocean and the rain forest. Back in town we made sure that we had not inadvertently skipped any of the local stores, and we scouted out a fish retail store that would ship to Ohio. Then back to the Silvermine for lunch. We had already decided that the afternoon would be a clean-up of the truck, and that for our last night in Sitka we would head into town for dinner out!
Scratch that! Change of plans! We were talking to our 4 woman/3 generation family next to us (in an A-Liner – from Georgia), and they commented about the beautiful views from Harbor Mountain. Yesterday we investigated the turn-off to Harbor Mountain, but had read nothing about it, and when the road declined to a narrow, graveled road, we turned around and came back. Now the gauntlet was thrown – “you can not miss Harbor Mountain” and off we went.
I think that Harbor Mountain view is Alaska’s answer to Cadillac Mountain in Bar Harbor, Main. And the roadway itself is more like the harrowing road that we took up to Mt. Washington last summer. And, at times, the views were as daunting as those on the Road to the Sun in Glacier National Park! All this combined made it a GREAT trip. The road was narrow enough, steep enough, and twisty enough (6 full switch-backs) that Tom was constantly on guard of other cars coming towards him and then having to negotiate a drive-by. On top, there was a full view of the Sitka Harbor, and a very different topography of scrubby undergrowth and saturated, spongy, mossy, ground cover.
As for the plans to go out to eat – our gracious neighbor ladies gave us a huge salmon filet that had been given to them by the campground host.They sell for $25 a filet, but we have been told that you should not have to buy your seafood -- someone should GIVE it to you. BINGO! After our jaunt to the mountain-top we stopped by the grocery and bought some easy-fix side dishes to go with the salmon! Tom tried a recipe on the back of a post card, and it will be another entree in the near future . . . it was simple and delightful. What a successful last evening in Sitka!
We don’t go camping any more . . . we go ‘streamin’ ! The “SIlvermine and His” is our 2016 23' Airstream, and ‘streamin’ is the name we use to describe our adventures. Stream along as we document everything from weekend trips to longer summer excursions and full-blown vacations. You know what they say: if you’re not in an Airstream – you’re just camping!
Tom & Ella Brown