Climbing Mt. Edgecumbe

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This has got to be one of the coolest hikes I've ever done!This last July I was able to participate in the Sitka Trail Works Mt. Edgecumbe hike (i.e., climbing our local volcano).The trip began with a boat ride across Sitka Sound to the trailhead at Fred's Creek Cabin.After unloading and organizing our packs we began our 7 mile and nearly 3,000 vertical feet climb up the mountain (and that's just one way!).

The first part of the trail winds through a giant stand of old growth hemlock and spruce.After a few minutes zigzagging through the trees we broke out into the open muskegs where the majority of the trail is located.The muskegs of Kruzof Island are a truly amazing site as they are some of the biggest in the area,stretching across most of the island.

After roughly 4 miles of fairly flat terrain, we arrived at the three-sided shelter.There we found a number of other trip participants resting and nourishing themselves for the climb to the top of the volcano.From the three-sided shelter to the top of the volcano it isroughly 3 miles and nearly 2,000 vertical feet.It's by far the hardest part of the hike, but also the most rewarding.

About two miles from the three-sided shelter we broke through thetreeline.At that point the trail dissipates and we were left with an assortment of cedar posts stuck in the ground as trail guides.At first glance the cedar posts marking the trail seemed a bit overkill, however, when the fog rolled in we were happy to have them.

From thetree line we climbed for about twenty minutes completely engulfed in a thick layer of fog.Just as we began to crest the rim of the volcano, the clouds broke and we could see where we had wandered.Below us lay the muskegs of Kruzof Island andits rocky outer coast.To our east and south we could see the peaks of Baranof Island and the small speckles of civilizationin Sitka.At that moment, we couldn't think of anywhere else we'd rather be.

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