|Conical Poot Peak, rising above the foothills across Kachemak Bay on a misty day|
|A cabin is tucked onto an island on China Poot Lake, accessible only by float plane or boat|
|Poot Peak rises above the trail as one hikes out to the lake|
|China Poot Lake as seen from the north route up Poot Peak|
The hike to China Poot Lake is fairly well maintained--not overgrown with brush and with relatively few roots to get over.
The campsite on China Poot Lake aleady had two tents set up, so it looked like it was going to be crowded by Alaska standards. After setting up camp, we went out for a walk, which on my map the trail was flat, but that must have been within the lines, give or take 100 feet, because it did go up and down plenty. And while it was a "walk" because we didn't have our backpacking backpacks on, it was still most definitely a "hike" on the rough trail with occasional splotches of berry-filled bear scat.
A fire ring offered a less rustic feel to this backpacking experience, and we enjoyed a few hours around the flames. A bear container was convenient for our foodstuff, but we also hung one backpack on the cable strung between two trees for that purpose.
The next morning the kids headed out of camp by 9:30 with their daypacks on, heading for the summit, while Doug and I cleaned up camp and pumped water for our waterbottles. Our goal was up the mountain, hopefully to the nob (that sticks out of Poot Peak near the top), but not the summit. Everyone we'd talked to had done the North Route, which was unmaintained, even though the South Route was supposedly maintained, so we headed up the North Route. And UP is an accurate description. Up and up and up, sometimes very steep, slippery slopes and then near the top, a more gradual up through a mountain meadow.
We made it as far as the sign above, which marks the final climb to the summit, which includes a scree slope and a bit of rock climbing. A little lunch and lots of water later, we headed down, packed up camp, and headed back to Halibut Cove Lagoon for our water taxi ride back to Homer. As the kids said (in my words, paraphrased!), it was the most unremarkable peak they have ever climbed. Although it is 2880 feet, and it rises above the surrounding area, it doesn't have this awesome grandeur feeling that one gets on Grace Ridge or even Alpine Ridge. It rises by itself and is just a hunk of rock, with passable views, but only near the top. Camping at China Poot Lake will definitely get put on my list of regular hikes, to explore the area, but making climbing Poot Peak will unlikely be the goal. But one has to do it to know it, and now we can say we've done it. Check!