Home > Photojournal > 2004 > Fall/Winter > 18 September

Harbor Mountain-Gavan Hill Trail

After seeing all the blueberries while hiking Harbor Mountain-Gavan Hill Trail last week, I decided that it would be nice to do the hike again with a berry picker and bucket. Like last week, the morning weather was sunny, but unlike last week, there did not appear to be clouds moving in. We made it to the trailhead by around 10:30am. The kids wanted to get out they and their mom walked up the hill part of the way with me. As we were starting out, a pair of hunters came down packing a deer. Connor was pretty excited to see it.

I made it to the top of the bowl by around 11am. There I discovered that the air was as clear as I had ever experienced it. The Fairweather Range was visible in the distance. This range of mountains is in the vicinity of Glacier Bay and is over 100 miles north of Sitka. I have previously been able to see the Fairweather Range, but only faintly. On the other occasions, it has been difficult to tell whether I was seeing mountains or clouds in the far off distance. This time it was very clear that mountains were in view.

After all the birds I saw last week with low visibility and rain, I was hoping to see a bunch more this week and have a better chance to get some pictures. However, there seemed to be very few birds flying around. I do not know whether they had all moved on or were just hiding out a bit more.

I kept a pretty good pace until I got the south slopes of Harbor Mountain. This was where I remembered seeing so many berries last week. This week there still looked to be lots of berries, but for some reason it did not seem like quite so many (even though it looked like there were more or less the same amount). Still, I picked quite a few with the picker as I went. By the time I got around to the shelter, I had managed to get about 6 cups in the picker and a few more in my belly.

I was interested to see that there were more flowers blooming this week. It is entirely possible that they were blooming last week as well, but in the rain I failed to notice them. I saw hawkweed, white mountain heather, sea-watch, siberian miner's lettuce, a willowherb, and western rattlesnake root all blooming along the trail.

As I approached the shelter, there were quite a few people there, so I opted to keep on going. I kept an eye out for birds as I went along the ridge where I had seen so many last week. I did not see anything of note, however.

I decided to take a detour up to the summit of Gavan Hill. When I got up there, I took a set of pictures looking from Southeast to South. I was able to stitch them together into a very wide composite image. I was interested to discover that Mount Bassie has a substantial glacier on it. At the time I was not sure what the mountain was because the maps do not indicate Bassie having permanent snow/ice. With the wide panorama I stitched together, I was able to line things up on the map and determine that it was Mt. Bassie.

I moved fairly quickly down Gavan Hill Trail once I left the summit area. I did not keep track of time very closely, but I think I completed the hike in about 5 or 6 hours.