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  • Writer's pictureRoy Thomas

Staying home, not staying still

With our European walks canceled we look to adventure closer to home.

It's hard not to get a little down when a trip you have been planning for nine months starts unraveling, one booking at a time. The hardest "send" click was the request for Iceland Air vouchers to be used next year instead of June 4th. Gone for now the West Highland Way, Camino Portuguese, and a week of theater in London. As we looked to moving those adventures to the future it became apparent that we needed to adjust our attitude by adjusting our Altitude.

We love hiking, and we love hiking around our island home, there is something we don't love, except from afar, bears.

There is just something intimidating about these amazing bears with a population density of nearly one bear per square mile on Kodiak Island finding yourself close to bears is not an "if" proposition it is a when. In reality Kodiak bears are quite predictable and negative encounters are few. Having some bear knowledge and a plan of what to do when you encounter a Kodiak bear is essential. One of Kodiak's leading naturalist, Stacy Studebaker, wrote a fantastic children's book about our bears. The book, Hey Bear Ho Bear includes a song to sing when in bear country, and the book is used by many of our local teachers. Just this past summer I found myself singing out this catchy tune to a young bruin whom I came face to face with on the Shelly Lake trail. The bear and I eventually went our separate ways with the only result being an elevated heart rate. As unlikely as a potential negative encounter is over the years the potential has led us to limit some of our backcountry choices.

Kodiak has some of the most amazing hiking in the world. If it were more accessible I believe it would be a destination hiking location. In an effort to promote Kodiak's fantastic hiking Discover Kodiak initiated the Adjust Your Altitude promotion in 2019. Participants sign up in advance, get a "passport" buy a sticker, and have the opportunity to will prizes for completing all seven summits. The promotion this year runs from July 1st to September 7th. This list of mountains includes:







North Sister

These peaks are prominent from our road system and popular day hikes.

Kodiak's trails and views are amazing, this view is only 2 miles and 1000' up from my back door. won't be heading to Europe this summer, but that doesn't mean we are sitting still. Crystal and I plan on doing a lot more hikes close to home. We want to reach out to our Kodiak Friends to join us as we explore the island. From the seven summits to a quick grab of fresh air up Old Woman, we will be moving. As school winds down I'll start posting invites on our page. Hiking in a group decreases the possibility of an encounter with one of our gorgeous bears. Let's adventure around our island together one step at a time.

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