Alpine Hiking on Kodiak

Rangerpants

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Planning a hunt in 2023 on Kodiak Island and am running into a question that effects camp planning:

How long would you expect a strong, but not herculean, hiker to go from a camp around 500 feet in elevation to the tree line around 1800 feet or so on Kodiak island?

How about from sea level to 1800 feet?

I know the terrain is nastier than what most of us are used to, but not sure to what degree.

On a related note, I typically hike in the dark to get where I want to be in the morning. Is that as suicidal as it sounds on Kodiak?

I've tried some searches and can't find anything specific to my question, so sorry if this is a repeat. Thanks everybody!
 

Fartrell Cluggins

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The hiking will be completely terrain dependent. Some places on the island are too rugged to hike. Others are relatively smooth and not very steep. The grass can be deceptively deep where there are no existing trails. You look at it from a distance and it looks like a pasture. When you get into it, it can be waist to chest deep, and always wet. Do you know where on the island you will be base camping? Get a good topo map.

I never let darkness deter my movement through the wilds of Kodiak. I don't get called bright very often either, so there's that.
 
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Rangerpants

Rangerpants

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Thanks for the info! not sure on location yet, and the answer to this question might affect that. The south side of the island for sure, but still haven't made a decision on landing on a lake or in the salt. If you've got ideas on general areas, feel free to PM, but I don't want to steal anybody's secret spot or anything,
 

AZ_Hunter_2000

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Thanks for the info! not sure on location yet, and the answer to this question might affect that. The south side of the island for sure, but still haven't made a decision on landing on a lake or in the salt. If you've got ideas on general areas, feel free to PM, but I don't want to steal anybody's secret spot or anything,
May want a Plan B. You can plan on landing on a lake only to have to it freeze over 1-2 days before your arrival.
 
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Rangerpants

Rangerpants

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Ah, planning on late August/early September, so freeze up is pretty unlikely that time of year. If that's still a major risk that early, that definitely affects the plans!
 

kwackkillncrew

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After mid october our pilot stops landing on the smaller lakes. If I was you I would pick out 2 spots you are interested in and talk to your pilot about it. It's not worth coming up with any plans after plan b because they day you fly and what has happened the week before is going to dictate where you go. I spent hours finding plans a b c d e and we ended up going somewhere completely different based on what our pilot was seeing and where he could drop us off and pick us up with the terrible weather. When looking for spots we had 2 areas picked out that had all possible environments withing a couple miles of where we wanted to land. This way wether they were up high, on the beaches, on small hills or in the wetter areas we would have decent access to the terrain.

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Movi

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I wouldn’t think twice about walking in the dark on kodiak.

The terrain in most areas is mild to very mild. If you’re coming from a mountain state in the west kodiak isn’t chit.

Agree with having a plan b c d e. Kodiak is very popular these days and likely someone will be in your plan A spot.

Good luck and wear a rubber!
 
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Rangerpants

Rangerpants

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Thanks everybody, this is really helping things come together in the early planning stages.

Movi, interesting to hear you think the terrain is easier on Kodiak than elsewhere. I've hunting Utah, Arizona, Montana, and some of the roughest stuff in California and was expecting Kodiak to be tougher!
 

kwackkillncrew

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There is plenty of tough stuff to climb if you need to. It all depends on where you go. Some areas you might gain 100 feet to find deer other areas maybe 1200 or more.
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wildwilderness

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If going in August there is no need to travel in darkness, since it's light for many many hours! I haven't seen a need to be anywhere at first light either, southern Kodiak in summer its possible to glass deer all day. really neat to see the reddish summer coats on deep green grass
 
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Rangerpants

Rangerpants

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It looked to me like the high alpine lakes were likely too small to land a plane on, but perhaps I'm mistaken. If that's an option, it makes the choice much easier. Sounds like my next task is call the flight services and ask them about all the options.
 

OXN939

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It looked to me like the high alpine lakes were likely too small to land a plane on

Most are towards the smaller end of the spectrum, but of those a lot are doable. Remember that the smaller the lake, the better conditions will be required to get into it on both the way in and the way out- I know one group that was delayed a week coming out this year and had a big event rescheduling their commercial flights and work.

Many parts of Kodiak are such rough terrain that it's virtually impenetrable. Your mobility will largely be influenced by how well you can read the land to determine what is actually easy versus what just looks easy. Follow game trails religiously. Highly recommend bringing bear spray and a sidearm... bears are very much present all over that island, including the alpine.
 

kwackkillncrew

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Buddy had to DLP a bear out there this year......goat hunting. Follow the bear trails for the best walking. We had our tent set up right off a bear interstate. Only saw 1 bear this year, if they walked by our tent at night we would have never known due to the 60mph winds and the tent bouncing all over hell. Easy to forget about the bears when you are worried about the tent.
 
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