Friday, February 29, 2008

Garbage update! Ice Break-up!

The Dumpsters are still gone. I finally took 2 bags of garbage to school and put them in the garbage there. I have seen garbage in the places where the dumpster used to be. Garbage on the ground. Every day though, someone picks it up. The garbage truck is broken down

The school van is broken down too. So, when people have to ride from school to the airport they must ride in a pickup truck. The lucky ones get to ride in the cab. Remember: zero degrees is a warm day!

The Yukon River ice breakup is usually in May. I am hoping to see the river flow for the first time. There is ice all the way to Canada on the Yukon River and it has to come flowing down where I am.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Emmonak, AK, SUNSET #2

10 above today! Sun Too! Hey, tomorrow, I fly with a couple of kids to the village of Alukanuk to snow shoe. We fly there in the morning, they snowshoe and we have lunch and fly back. It is part of the special olympics.

I am hoping to fly over some moose. The village is 8 miles away from Emmonak, and we have moose outside of our village. I am hoping to find the moose so I can hike or cross country ski to see them some weekend.

An Emmonak sunset

The Yukon River at 20 below - the sunset looks much like the sunrise.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Kids and snowshoes

Friday, I took 2 kids snowshoeing at the back of the school. It was about 15 below and neither kid had gloves. They were snowshoeing for about 20 minutes and we went in. Back in the room, someone asked them if they were cold. One Boy said, "I am warm, I am an eskimo! This is nothing." He had the biggest smile on his face. He was running around on snow shoes like a mad man.

This coming friday, I get to fly with 3-6 kids to another community for snowshoeing in the special olympics.

I went walking today on the river and I saw a healthy red fox. I walked farther than I had in the past and Alaska is barren snow and ice. The further you get away from the community, you more you get into white and cold. I saw a fox by the trail also. He moved away when I got too close.

Sunday Sun at 10 below zero

Sunny and cold! 10 below zero!

$39.00 worth of food

This is $39.00 worth of food at the local store. I just bought $180.00 worth of food online from Anchorage. It is cheaper to buy by the case and have it sent here on the plane.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Afternoon sun

The sun was super bright today - like out in the deserts of California.

20 below and quiet

Cold and quiet in Emmonak. The longer I am here, the more I am noticing the quiet, until a snowmobile comes by. It is kind of like being out in the San Juans.


This is DEATH VALLEY and my little buddy Shad. The sun in Emmonak, AK is as bright as it was in death valley. It is brilliant in Emmonak today and zero degrees. I put this up as a comparison. Death valley was much warmer than Emmonak, AK.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Garbage update!

The dumpsters have disappeared! Seriously - Gone!

Thursday, February 21, 2008


Minus 10 with 30 MPH winds = COLD! We had two days of 20 above zero or better AND NO WIND! it got as high as +28. We got about 8 inches of new snow too.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Garbage is overflowing!

The garbage truck is not working! The dumpsters which are all over the town, are overflowing! The dogs and kids are dumpster diving.
It is +28 degrees today! It feels so warm!

Thursday Update: There is someone who stuffs all the trash back into the dumpster everyday. I might also add that the garbage was last picked up last Friday. I hope they get the truck going again soon.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Foxes & hide and seek

I went for a walk today and I came across 3 red foxes. Two ran into the bushes but one played hide and seek with me. They sure are furry at this time of year. IT IS 15 DEGREES ABOVE ZERO TODAY!! It feels super warm. I am looking forward to spring. I went outside with only 1 shirt and 1 jacket on because it was so warm. Walking back, the wind was blowing and I wished I had the second coat on.

As snow melts or is blown around, I am noticing yellow snow that was hidden under the fresh snow!

Have a good week!

Boat waiting

The boats are pulled up next to the Yukon River and wait, all winter, they wait for the ice to break.

waiting for the river to thaw

This boat, like hundreds of others, is just sitting and waiting for the ice to break so it can get back to fishing.

20 below sunrise

Thanks Ash for the neck warmer, it allows me to be outside at 20 below.

Fish Camp

Families (for centuries) have set up little buildings on the river for their fish camps. When the fish run, they go live here and fish. They catch salmon, beluga whales, seals and even walrus. After the fish run is over, they load up and go home.

All of my kids talk about 'fish camp.' They have some interesting stories. During the summer and fall, the family will camp at these sites while the fish run. They also have these cabins on Bristol Bay, Bering Sea and the Yukon River delta.
This is how they make their living for many in these Bush towns. they also get moose and various animals for fur to make clothing. They pick sea grass from the Bering Sea and make the most beautiful baskets you can imagine.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Why do people live in Emmonak?

A student was talking about living in various places. They lived in Anchorage, Bethel, Emmonak and some other small village. He said, "We live here because it does not cost as much money for a house."

I just had the student read a local newspaper and we saw some housing ads. Houses were $220,000 to 350,000 for houses in Bethel. He talked about living in Bethel and then moving to Emmonak to save money on housing.

Lockdown at School

Yesterday, we had a lockdown at school. Two kids got in a fight and it was broken up. One child came back later and started threatening students and staff. The child tore up the office and attacked the Principal. He wanted to get the child out of the building.

Of course, it escalated. We were told to lock down, no kids in or out. The police were called but all police were at the village 5 miles away. This child has done this multiple times before. I do know the child and the family. This child has some great siblings by the way.

There is a lot of upset with parents and the superintendent has been called a lot. The police came today. Court orders have been in place to keep the child away from the school and staff housing.

We have been working hard to stop the terrible comments and behavior of a few kids. it is an interesting job. I might add that in Alaska, everyone has a gun or two or three. Hunting to live is a way of life. Nobody is really worried but everyone is being cautious.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Emmonak Phone Book


I just saw the Emmonak phone book. I counted the phone numbers on one page; 60 numbers.

There are two pages in the Emmonak phone book: 120 phone numbers (approx) in the whole town!

I live in a big city! I wondered how my assistant always knew the phone numbers: I just say what is the number for __________ and she tells me. She has the whole book memorized. She has lived here for 50 years.

sunrise over Emmonak

A view of the sunrise over the town. Hey, I just found out that I live where it floods first if the river and ice over flow. It flooded 2 years ago.

Monday, February 11, 2008

frosty bush

A frosty bush on a minus 30 morning. This was also a windy day!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

my dork hat

This is my normal head gear to stay warm. The mask really helps a lot in staying warm. It is 20 below zero and the wind was blowing 20 to 30 MPH! COLD - all day!

Me, at school

We had a dress up day and here I am, dressed up a bit.

This past Friday, I went to a potlatch and watched Eskimo dancing. It was a big deal.
The women danced in native clothes and men danced and drummed drums. The community center was packed. There were at last 100 snow machines outside the center. May people from town 5 miles away, Alukanuk, came too. It lasted past midnight and then the visitors had to snow machine hoe - at 30 below, in the dark. I did not take any pictures though. I CANNOT TELL YOU HOW GREAT THE FUR CLOTHES ARE THAT THE NATIVES MAKE AND WEAR HERE! Hand made, beautiful and warm! There was a seal skin jacket that was amazing looking.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Tundra? I hope so.

The last picture was the Yukon River. I hope this is of the Tundra.

Tundra - Internet down a lot

This is tundra behind the school. WHY ARE HOUSES AND BUILDINGS RAISED?: 1. Flooding.
2. Because of the tundra: If buildings are on the ground and you heat them, the warmth will eventually warm the ground. This warming of the ground will cause the earth to get soft and ruin whatever foundation your have. So, you either insulate the ground very well before building or you raise them off the ground. There have been school gyms that failed because they were on the ground and not insulated.

INTERNET DOWN A LOT: I usually try to get pictures up on the weekend but we have blasting wind and the internet is hit and miss. I get shut down before I can get things onto the site. Even the schools internet is down.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Hiking on the Yukon River

My boot prints. At some spots I would go up to my hip. It is hard to tell where the drifts happen to be.

snow coming off the roof

This is at school.

I ate at the Restaurant

I had shrimp fried rice, a BLT and a bottle of water: Cost $17.75. The rice was good but a little salty. There was a large plate of the rice. The BLT was a BLT on untoasted bread. Other people had hamburger and fries and they looked good. The hamburgers looked like the 50 style burgers.

Inside the restaurant looks like a truck stop frpm the 50s. Linoleum floor that is cracked and very old. An old clock on the wall with a light that flickers on and off all the time.

The tables are clean and 50s style. The tables have the metal legs.

Overall, The food was good and I will eat there again. There is a pool table and a sign that says there is a 25 cent charge any time a ball hits the floor. One part of the restaurant is off limits because it is being remodeled. My teacher friends said it has been like that since school started.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Chipped Tooth

I chipped a tooth while eating last night. I am told there is a state of the art dental facility here. I have to call at 8:30 to get an appointment. They say it is often same day service. I GOT IN AND MY TOOTH IS FILLED. It was just like going to the dentist in Gresham but at 30 below to get there.

Directions to the Dentist: Go to the post office and keep walking up the road. LOOK FOR THE BIGGEST BUILDING IN TOWN! I FOUND IT!

Dentist Story: The dentist said he has been doing this for 25 years. He said when he first started they used to get water and put it in a garbage can and then use it in the dental office. He said in the winter time, they would cut ice from the river and boil it in the garbage can to use in the dental office.

The principal pulled out some pliers to take care of my tooth but I decided to go to the dentist.

Monday, February 4, 2008


We have a boil water order for the town. We are using water from the Yukon River and we must boil it until further notice.
WARMER - 20 below and no wind for this Monday AM!

Sunday, February 3, 2008

My walk to the Post Office

Yesterday, I went to the Post Office, about 4 blocks at 15 below zero. I ran into a fellow whose snow machine was stuck in a snow mound. I helped him push it out and he was so thankful. (He also laughed and said I had my U of O hat on backwards.) I turned the hat around and he asked me where I was from, etc. I told him Portland and that I teach at the school.

Me: shirt and two coats on, a hat, 2 sets of gloves, snow pants and snow boots.

Him: No hat , 1 coat, no gloves, snow pants and snow boots.

Question: Who was the native? Can you tell. 15 below zero too.
No mail for me this day.
***IT IS 30 BELOW ZERO AT 11:30 AM, Sunday, IN EMMONAK!******

Behind the school

See the basketball hoop?

school - the hallway

This is the hallway that goes to my room.

The tower

This is a picture behind my apartment. The tower is a big horn which does not presently work.

Some want to get it to work and blow it at 10 PM to let kids know about the curfew.

The buildings to the right are the old school, that got flooded a few times.
My apartment is on the left.

Sunrise on the Yukon River

25 below zero

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Eggs anyone?

There are 4 cases of eggs loaded onto this 4 wheeler.

It is parked outside of a house.

Sun through the bushes

The yukon River is to the right

Yukon river road

This shows the Yukon River where the snow machines travel. It is like a regular highway.

Sunrise on the Yukon River

minus 15 degrees or so. We have had snow. 9:30 AM  Those are ATV tracks which I walk on to get onto the Yukon River for a walk.

slippers - bottom

The bottom is made of seal skin with seal fur showing.

The blue is cloth.

the seal/ beaver slippers

These are the tops of the slippers.

Light color is seal, dark color is beaver