Headed to higher ground: Seeing Kodiak from above

View of St. Paul Harbor, Pillar Mt., Kodiak, AK

The best view of the city of Kodiak isn’t much of a secret, anyone will tell you — just drive up Pillar Mountain. The problem is it’s usually just too foggy to see anything. In fact the fog in Kodiak is legendary, it once saved the island from an air attack in WWII. It’s hard to bomb a place if you can’t find it!

But last weekend, I lucked out and had two gorgeous days on the island before the rain and fog came in. After 18 years of living on Kodiak, I can tell you this is an incredibly rare thing so I didn’t waste much time driving up to see the town from the top of Pillar.

View of Near Island, AK from Pillar Mountain

The bridge leads to Near Island, home of some pretty hiking trails, a float plane dock and Dog Bay.

View of Kodiak from Pillar Mountain

The city center

Pillar Mountain is known on the island for more than just its view though — it was the evacuation route during the great Alaska earthquake and tsunami of 1964. My dad, who lived through it, has told me about the traffic jam that occurred when all the city’s cars took to the road to get up to the top of Pillar. Eventually people just got out and started running up the mountain.

Now Pillar is home to eight windmills, which still surprise me whenever I look up there. These were all built after I left the island for college.

Windmills on Pillar Mountain, Kodiak, AK

Windmills on Pillar Mountain, Kodiak, AK

Looking over this city makes me feel blessed to have grown up in such a beautiful place. I didn’t appreciate it as much as a teenager (no malls, one movie theater, nowhere to drive to), but coming home after so long away, it’s easy to fall back in love.

From Pillar Mountain, Kodiak, AK

Lupine, Pillar Mountain, Kodiak, AK

8 thoughts on “Headed to higher ground: Seeing Kodiak from above

    • Oh yeah, it was torture as a teenager. In the time before the internet, we were so isolated. One movie theater that played 1 movie a week, 6 months after it was released. No malls. You knew everyone from pre-school to graduation. I remember the excitement when we finally got a McDonalds. It was so popular it put the Dairy Queen out of business. Now there’s a Walmart, Taco Bell and a Starbucks! Sigh.

  1. It certainly is beautiful! And an unusual setting for growing up–I can imagine you feeling envious of kids in bigger towns. How did you feel about the windmills? There are quite a lot around here and I think they’re fascinating and lovely, in their own way!

    • It did make for an unusual childhood — something I appreciate much more as an adult than I did when I was living it. =) Honestly the windmills are pretty cool. They still take me by surprise but they are pretty interesting. Plus in hauling them up there, the city really had to improve the road system up the mountain which is great.

  2. Never been to Kodiak. Thank you so much for taking me there. I need all the ideas I can get because me and my hubby will always visit Alaska. But only if we have the cold, hard cash! We have not even tapped its total beauty. I want to see Denali before I kick! That would be one of the many thrills of my lifetime.

    • Denali is gorgeous — but Kodiak has its charm. You have to be into hiking, sightseeing or camping though because in terms of entertainment, the town doesn’t have much going on. But the rocky beaches, mountains, oceans and the ocean air will more than make up for that. Hope you make it there some day! =)

      • Thank you so much, Jessamine! Love it! Now I have to get out of retirement and go make some money so me and Honey can get to Kodiak. I have this thing for bears. Or maybe, with his new promotion, I can get into his wallet while he sleeps. Ah, that’s a much better plan.

  3. Pingback: An iconic sight: Kodiak’s Russian Orthodox Church | Attempts in Domesticity

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