Late for Nowhere

From life in Southeast Asia to backyard adventures in Kodiak, Alaska

Kodiak backyard hikes: An autumn morning in North End Park

leave a comment »

DSC_2139

After a week of stormy weather that brought heavy rain and gale-force winds to Kodiak, the first Saturday in October dawned bright and clear. My wife and I were keen to get out of the house and enjoy the crisp fall weather.

One of the most enjoyable aspects of Kodiak is the amount of exploration that can be done without the need to get into a car and drive somewhere. Forest trails and beaches abound within a 3-mile radius of our apartment.

On this day, we headed for North End Park, just 1 mile from our front door on Near Island, which is accessible by bridge. With the previous week’s storms now passed, as we crossed the bridge, we were able to catch our first view in many days of the mountains to the west.

DSC_1983

We entered the park the back way on Channelside Trail, which at the start is lined with salmonberry bushes that bear fruit in the summertime but whose leaves were just beginning to show the discoloration of approaching winter. Farther along, Sitka spruces and some deciduous trees started appearing. The mossy forest ticked with water droplets from the all-night rain that had tapered off shortly before we left our apartment.

Channelside led us to the Northend Trail system. We followed the path to a set of wooden stairs that descended to a rocky beach. The tide was low, and the shoreline was strewn with seaweed, tangles of bull kelp, and other debris washed up by the previous week’s high waves. At one end of the beach, a small, temporary waterfall cascaded down the rocks.

Re-entering the forest on the other side of the beach, we picked up a trail that took us to land’s end, providing a clifftop view of the ocean and local fishing boats heading to and from Kodiak’s two harbors.

DSC_2083

From there, we followed the forested coast, where mushrooms sprouted in the shade beneath the trees and, on one occasion, an unseen but vocal squirrel bombarded us with pinecones from high up in a Sitka spruce tree.

We stopped at another small beach, drenched in sunshine and caressed by the cool wind blowing off the ocean. The calm was occasionally broken by small aircraft landing at the Near Island floatplane base.

We later happened across another interruption in the natural splendor of the forest in the form of a rusted vehicle dating back to World War II – a remnant of the U.S. military forced deployed on Kodiak to defend Alaska from invasion from Japan.

DSC_2131

We eventually made our way back to the first beach, where the tide was reaching its highest point and the morning’s waterfall was now silent.

DSC_2135

We climbed back up the stairs and followed the forest path through the tunnel of trees to exit the park at the main parking lot. A short walk back across the bridge to Kodiak Island had us home before noon.

Written by latefornowhere

October 17, 2020 at 4:46 pm

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: