“I’ve been here 20 years, and I’ve hiked just about everything on the road system,” said Tia Leber, the hike leader, on Saturday. “I can share the knowledge and meet lots of people.”
The hikes happen on Saturday and Sunday at 9:30 a.m. Participants meet at the ferry terminal, sign a waiver and drive to wherever the hike begins.
Last weekend, the group hiked Swampy Acres and Termination Point. This weekend, Kashevaroff Mountain and Abercrombie Park are the destinations.
On Saturday, the Swampy Acres hike took participants on a four-mile loop up a gentle hill and along a river on an old military road.
Some of the participants are life-long Alaska residents. Others, like Abhijit Chatterjee, comes from afar. Chatterjee hailes from India and is in Kodiak for a post-graduate research project, having recently finished his Ph.D. in engineering at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.
“I grew up in Kolkata, this huge metropolitan city,” Chatterjee said. “It’s one of the most populous cities in the world; there was no chance to see the natural beauty. Hiking and camping were not even in my vocabulary before coming here.”
For Chatterjee, the hikes provide a chance to get out, explore, meet new people and enjoy nature for free before his year-long research project comes to an end.
For others, the hikes provide a way to learn the trails and get out without worrying about bears.
“It’s a really good way to learn the local trails, since so few are well marked,” said hiking program coordinator Cindy Bower. “There’s no bear worries since there are lots of people. It’s a great social activity to meet new people, and it’s good exercise.”
The hikes are sponsored by the Kodiak Audubon Society and led entirely by volunteers. Locals who know the trails volunteer to take different hikes that range in difficulty from a flat trail to hiking a mountain.
Future hikes will include Monashka Mountain, Pyramid Mountain, Russian Ridge, Spruce Cape and yoga on top of several mountains.
“Later in the summer, there will be yoga on some of the peaks,” said Bower. “One of our volunteer leaders is a yoga instructor.”
A complete schedule is available at kodiakaudubon.blogspot.com.
Contact Julie Herrmann at firstname.lastname@example.org.