130 Miles, 8 Days, 1 Spellbound Hiker/Photographer on Kodiak Island

Kodiak Island, the second largest in the United States, is best known for the main quarry of this trip, the oversized subspecies of brown bear, the Kodiak bear, that is unique to its mountains and shorelines. This journey goes 130 miles along the notoriously rough shoreline of Shelikof Strait, across river drainages and bays, paddling packrafts through a series of lakes that end at Karluk Lake, which flows into its namesake river and the point of the start of the journey.

The Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge shares many characteristics with other wilderness areas in the United States in that it is largely untrammeled. Despite the occasional indication of human presence, the hinterlands remain much as they did when the glaciers from the last ice age began their inexorable retreat into the mountains, and the ancestors of the Alutiiq people settled the island some 7,000 years ago.

These places are best experienced one step, or paddle, at a time. Capturing the wilderness connects the present with a past beyond our own. It connects us all to the earth and our collective past.

Sitka black-tailed deer, a nonnative mammal to Kodiak Island, were first successfully introduced to the island in 1924 as were other nonnative species including reindeer, mountain goats, Roosevelt elk, beaver, red squirrel, snowshoe hare, and pine marten, between the 1920s and 1960s. They landed on Kodiak in an effort to increase subsistence and recreational hunting opportunities. The Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge estimates that 30,000 to 50,000 Sitka black-tailed deer live on the islands of the archipelago. And so do some predators.

Read full story…


The following are paid links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.