Discover Kodiak launched a hiking challenge in the summer of 2019 to encourage people to get out and enjoy the wonderful hiking trails on the island. The first year, about 300 people participated. Last year, more than 1,200 people took part. “It’s really great to watch the community get out and get active and be involved,” says Aimee Williams, Discover Kodiak’s executive director.
The Adjust Your Altitude hiking challenge involves summiting seven mountains all accessible from the Kodiak road system. “As long as you own a pair of shoes and a water bottle it’s pretty much free,” Williams says. Participants have to take a picture of themselves and their Adjust Your Altitude sticker at the summit. Everyone who completes all seven summits is entered to win a $1,000 cash prize.
Discover Kodiak also gives out weekly prizes to people who summit a challenge mountain and share their picture on social media with the challenge’s hashtag. A foothills division, made for families with small children and individuals with less mobility, includes seven shorter summits and the chance at a $500 prize.
Williams says in 2020 the challenge promoted “negative trace” by encouraging participants to pack out everything they took in, plus any additional trash they found along the trail. “So that they leave the trail actually better than they found it,” she says.
The 2021 challenge, which runs from June 1 through September 6, is dedicated to Lydia Cullum, an active participant in past years who died in September 2020.