Northern Notes – May 2019

The view from North Beach at the Caines Head State Recreation Area – Courtesy Steven Merritt

Life’s a Beach—Alaska Style

By Steven Merritt

The summer countdown is on around our house as May hits the halfway point. School is almost out, the yard already needs mowing, and the wall calendar corners have become even more worn with use as events and hopes fill the squares.

Like most families, getting a schedule set can be like nailing the proverbial Jello to the wall—you can’t be in two places at once. But one of our “hopes” for the summer is a for weekend outside Seward backpacking in the Caines Head State Recreation Area, the site of a former World War II fort.

Young hikers exploring the Caines Head State Recreation Area near Seward – Courtesy Steven Merritt

Reached on foot or by boat, Caines Head—a massive, 650-foot headland—features a network of nature trails, some of which follow original military roads. The 4.5-mile trail from Lowell Point to North Beach skirts the ocean and smaller forested headlands. Hikers are urged to plan for the tides, as one section of trail can only be accessed at low tide. Most trekkers plan to stay at least one night at North Beach, where a tent on the sand offers stunning views of Resurrection Bay.

We love exploring the remains of Fort McGilvray, built in the summer of 1941, along with what’s left of the original battery installations and docks. Relics are everywhere, and the commanding view of Resurrection Bay makes it easy to see why the area was chosen as a protective sentinel.


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