“It’s a little bit like a treasure hunt,” said park volunteer Nancy Meitle. “It’s kind of a cross between a treasure hunt and geocaching.”
Meitle composed a 50-stanza poem, which she printed onto a small pamphlet. Some of the stanzas contain clues while others contain military history or plant information.
“Take the first letter/of the trail sign nearby/Clue 14/It will satisfy,” reads one stanza.
“Along this trail/200 men stayed/Flat spots in the forest/Are the places they made,” is another.
Each place where a clue leads will have a letter there. Those letters are filled into a three-word, 17-letter message on the back of the pamphlet, which leads to the final location where a box with a guest book is hidden.
Anyone who completes the quest can sign their name in the guest book.
Meitle said she might have a prize for the first few people to complete it, but that’s not the goal.
“Remember that the joy is in the journey,” Meitle wrote on the front of the pamphlet.
“It gives you a chance to look at the park from a different point of view,” she said. “Lots of people in Kodiak hike in Fort Abercrombie, but it kind of explains what some of the things are that you pass along the trail.”
Meitle and her husband Chuck, who visit Kodiak every summer to volunteer, are from Oregon, where quests like this are popular, she said. Creating this quest took about a month.
The quest is about two hours long and involves a two-mile walk.
Eventually, after a lot of people have completed the quest, Meitle would like to come up with another one.
“That’s kind of my goal,” Meitle said. “In fact my real goal is for there to be a series of them all over Kodiak. I think they’d be fun to have for other trails and other places.”
Participants can pick up a pamphlet at the Fort Abercrombie park office.
Contact Julie Herrmann at email@example.com.