Posts Tagged ‘Thimbleberry to Heart Lake Trail’

Sitka Trail Works will offer a variety of hiking, bike rides and other events as part of its annual summer guided hike series.

After losing much of the 2020 summer guided hike series to the Covid-19 pandemic, Sitka Trail Works will have Covid mitigation policies in place this year to prevent the spread of the pandemic. This includes pre-event screening. The events are led by volunteer board members.

The series opens at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 8, with a Sitka Cross Trail bike ride that starts at the Salty Spoke Bike Co-op (behind Hames Wellness Center). This bike ride will give cyclists a chance to ride the five new single-track mountain bike loops built off the Cross Trail by the Sitka Cycling Club last summer.

Other events in town include the Ben Grussendorf Forest and Muskeg Trail and Starrigavan Trail Loop hike on Sunday, May 16; a Herring Cove and Beaver Lake Trail hike on Saturday, May 22; an Indian River Waterfall hike on Saturday, June 12; a Mosquito Cove Trail hike on Saturday, June 26; a Gavan Trail to Harbor Mountain hike on Saturday, July 3; a Verstovia Trail hike on Saturday, July 24; and a Thimbleberry to Heart Lake to Sawmill Creek Loop hike on Saturday, Aug. 7. The in-town events are free, but membership donations are encouraged to help with trail maintenance. In addition, there is a National Trails Day maintenance party at a trail to be announced on Saturday, June 5.

There also are three out-of-town events costing $110 each (price includes boat trips to the trails). These events include the Mount Edgecumbe Hike on Sunday, July 18; the Shelikof Bike Ride on Sunday, Aug. 1; and another Mount Edgecumbe Hike on Sunday, Aug. 15. Space is limited on these trips, so register early.

Finally, there are two running events on the calendar, both with limited space. The Medvejie Solstice Run is on Saturday, June 19; and the Alpine Adventure Run is on Saturday, July 17. These events are hosted by other groups, but included on the calendar.

For more information and schedule updates, go to the online calendar at https://sitkatrailworks.org/weekend-hikes/. For other details, call Sitka Trail Works at 747-7244, or visit http://sitkatrailworks.org.

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Bill Hughes demonstrates his climbing technique during the 2007 Sitka Fun Fair.

Bill Hughes demonstrates his climbing technique during the 2007 Sitka Fun Fair.

Sitka cyclist Bill Hughes first started going to Utah several years ago for some recreational mountain biking. Since then, he started competing in the Huntsman World Senior Games in Zion National Park, Utah, and he now holds the overall title in mountain biking for the age 70-74 division.

The owner of Sitka’s Yellow Jersey Bicycle Shop, Bill competed in both the mountain and road bike competitions in October. He won all three events in the mountain biking competition, which gave him the overall title. In the four road cycling events, he added a couple of bronze medals in the hill climb and time trial.

“I won the mountain bike this year, but I didn’t do much road biking,” Bill said. “I’ve won the mountain biking (overall title) before a couple of times.”

In the mountain biking hill climb, Bill posted a time of 18 minutes, 45 seconds to beat Rex Farnsworth of Redondo Beach, Calif., by three seconds. In the downhill, Bill posted a time of 7:15 to beat Ron Near of Toronto by five seconds. He also posted a time of 1 hour, 20 minutes, 46.0 seconds to win the 25-mile cross country event featuring single-track trails through canyon country by nearly four minutes over Farnsworth’s time of 1:24:40.0.

Bill Hughes adjusts the spokes on a bike tire at his Yellow Jersey Cycle Shop.

Bill Hughes adjusts the spokes on a bike tire at his Yellow Jersey Cycle Shop.

“I started going down there just to mountain bike, and then I started going to race,” Bill said. “Now I go down for recreation and competing.”

In addition to his exploits at the Huntsman World Senior Games, Bill also has competed as a solo racer in the 148-mile Kluane-Chilkat International Bike Relay from Haines Junction, Yukon Territory, to Haines, Alaska. And about 7-8 years ago Bill did a solo bike ride across the United States.

When he trains, Bill said he rides out to Green Lake to climb the hill. He also trains with Dean Orbison and other cyclists on the Thimbleberry to Heart Lake Trail then to Blue Lake and then Green Lake, a distance of about 30 miles, about 40 of the 52 weeks each year.

“The training’s not so bad on the mountain bike, but with the road bike the boredom sets in,” Bill said, referring to Sitka’s 15 miles of road from one end of town to the other. “But you can go to Juneau for some higher endurance.”

Even though there aren’t a lot of places to train on a road bike in Sitka, Bill said he does feel Sitka is a Bicycle Friendly Community. “I like how compact the community is. You can ride anywhere on the bike and it’s fairly safe.”


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