It seemed that for my second full day in town it would be good to go up a hill somewhere, especially since the clouds were breaking up and it looked like it would be a nice day (apparently a rare event this past July), so my brother and I decided to hike up Mt. Verstovia. We walked from town to the trailhead (a bit under two miles) and started up the hill. I definitely noticed when when we started heading up the hill. Even though I have been fairly active over the last year, it was only rarely that I did any hiking where hills were involved and in my experience there is a big difference between being fairly active and hauling yourself and a pack up a sizable hill. Fortunately for me, we were in no big hurry, so we stopped at each of the nice view points on the trail to relax for a while. (My brother commented to me that we never did that when he was the one out of shape back on 28 July 1998.)

Once we made it to the top of peak 2550, we found three other people getting ready to head up to the main peak. My brother and I decided to relax for a while on this peak and decide later whether to go up to the top of the main peak or just do a little exploring around peak 2550 before heading down. Part of our decision rested upon whether or not it looked like the clouds would lift off the upper peak. While we were relaxing another two people came up the trail and talked to us for a while before proceeding on to try and get up to he main peak. It turned out that they were both working on the cruise ship which was in town that day. It sounded like they made a one week circuit and while they were in the various towns, they tried to get out hiking as time allowed. One of them had been up this far before but had not had time to make it all the way up to the main peak.

Perhaps spurred on by the sight of one of the earlier hikers on the main peak, we decided to head up to the main peak ourselves. Since my brother had complained a little bit about our breaks to this point in the hike, I decided that I would stash most of my stuff in some trees and we would try to make it up to the main peak in 30 minutes. I took only my digital camera and water bottle and we set off. In going from peak 2550 to the main peak, you must first go down about 300 feet elevation into a saddle before heading back up a little more than 1000 feet to the summit which is a little over 3300 feet above sea level. We took a quick pace down into the saddle and then started up the other side. It gets pretty steep above the saddle, and we found it expedient to take a short breathers a couple of times before continuing up. At about 3000 feet the trail to the peak leaves the top of the ridge and goes around to the southeast slopes of the peak in order to avoid cliffs. It was at this point that we caught up with the two people from the cruise ship. They had been unsure of where to go and had left the trail and been forced to backtrack a little. We showed them the trail and continued on up. It ended up taking us 31 minutes. That seemed like a fairly fast time, though I am sure there are people who can do it in half that.

Upon reaching the top, we found two of the three people whom we had seen getting ready to leave at peak 2550. Apparently the third had decided it looked a little too risky for her tastes and had stayed a little bit further down. It seemed a little strange that we had not passed her on the way up, but I did not see much point in worrying about it at the time. The clouds had settled back down on the peak while we were hiking up so we waited a little while for town to become visible again. Our wait was not in vain and we did get a view of town and Mt. Edgecumbe before starting back down.

On the way down we caught up with the woman who had chosen not to go all the way up and the person who had wondered if we had seen her (as it turned out, the three we had seen were not all together on the mountain except by chance). They had found each other, though I still do not know where she might have been when we were heading up. Sometimes it is fun to jog down the hill, but I was wearing fairly heavy duty hiking boots which, even in the best of times, are not ideal for jogging in. My feet were still not used to the weight and hardness of the boots, so jogging seemed like a bad idea. We did not have any trouble getting down. The only problem was that we had to walk back into town along the road. This was not exactly a pleasant activity in the warm sun on the hard pavement in heavy boots carrying a pack and not having any water left, but perseverance got us back to town anyway.


Marker #60
Alaska Airlines Jet Lands
Jonathan on Peak 2550
Main Peak of Verstovia from Peak 2550
Hiker on the Summit
Standing on the Peak of Verstovia
Heart and Thimbleberry Lakes from Verstovia Summit

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