When Alan and I visited Kodiak Island while on a 52-day cruise with Regent’s Seven Seas Mariner, “The Fort Abercrombie State Historical Park Nature Walk” excursion gave us a chance to stretch our legs. Arriving at the trailhead via school bus, we embarked on a 1.5-mile journey that meandered through a Sitka spruce forest to a coastal view. Although the cruise tour desk brochure called it a walk, it felt like a short, easy hike to me. And my lightweight Kuru hiking shoes made for sure footing along the sometimes muddy trail.
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During the guided tour, a park naturalist pointed out World War II bunkers located along the trail. Taking a short spur to enter one of the lookout bunkers, we could feel the cold dampness that soldiers experienced. The sounds of crashing waves drifted into the bunker from the rocky shoreline far below us.
As the hike traveled on a ridge line above the shore, one of our group spotted a pod of whales out in the ocean. We watched as the whales took turns blowing spouts of water into the air. A variety of seabirds flew overhead but the famous Kodiak bears remained illusive. Actually, our guide told us that the best bear sightings are in Kodiak Island National Wildlife Refuge reached only by air or chartered boat.
After passing Lake Gertrude, the hike continued to the Kodiak Military History Museum located in the ready ammunition bunker at Miller Point. The grass covered bunker is filled with both American and Japanese World War II artifacts, including uniforms, communication equipment, artillery, 1945 Willys MB Jeep and a 1942 Dodge Ambulance. The hike ended at park headquarters where we browsed the small combination book/gift store until the school bus appeared for the return ride to the pier.
While this wasn’t a taxing hike (some wouldn’t even call it a hike), we enjoyed the time spent outdoors walking in nature. The history we observed was an added bonus.
Of course you don’t need to book a cruise excursion to hike the trails in Fort Abercrombie State Historical Park.
If you are on a cruise and want to try this on your own, you’ll need transportation to and from the park. Also, the Kodiak Military History Museum is open by appointment only to WWII veterans or groups.