Monday, May 26, 2008

Oregon Bound

I will be in Oregon in 7 hours. This sure has been a great experience! The week of travel allowed me to see some pretty amazing country.

AK Road Trip is over!

I turned in the rental car and now have 11 hours to wait until I fly out of here. The road trip was great! I have many more pictures than are up on this blog.

LAST NIGHT: A MOOSE! In Anchorage about 11:00 PM. I saw it about 3 blocks from the motel. I thought it was a statue but then it moved. I got a picture but not a good one - I think.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Wrangell Mountains

Wrangell Park is the largest park in Alaska. I drove in 30 miles and still had 30 to go to get to the entrance.

ice chunks

Portage Bay

Portage Bay, AK

Portage Bay, AK

See all the ice chunks in the water? There is also a glacier here.

I woke up to this view

Nice spot

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Homer Eagles

This is dinner for the Eagles. One Eagle ran the others off, what a hog.

Eagle at Homer, AK

There were about 5 Eagles getting dinner.

Seal at Homer, AK

This gal came out posing. See her smile for the camera?


This moose stopped traffic a few times. He was one of many moose seen in the Kenai.
They are everywhere at dusk.

Horses in Delta Junction, AK

These horses helped stack wood, they think. A friend and I were stacking some wood at Will's ranch and the horses decided to come over and stand on the wood. These are draft hores. We finally got the wood stacked and the horses started moving the wood around. I guess we did not stack well enough for the horses liking. The horses were overseeing out work.

I spent the night at Will's house and slept in a real bed! That sure felt good.

Homer, AK - beach

Here is Homer, on the spit. Mountains everywhere. I have photos of Eagles and a posing seal from Homer too. Today, I am back at Denali. At 11:00 PM last night, I had to find a place to crash. I wanted to gt out of the city so I started going East. I thought I would take the road to Valdez but missed it and ended up going towards Denali.

I camped at a view point overlooking a lake. I stopped driving at 2 AM. Since I was only 120 miles from Denali, i came to Denali and had breakfast.

Eagle Video

This is the Eagle video. I only got a little bit, the good stuff did not make the video. This Eagle got a BIG rabbit and was flying down the middle of the road. He could not get elevation because the rabbit was so big. I was driving and got within aobut 10 feet of him and his dangling rabbit meal. I went for the camera and he flew to the side of the road. He was about 10 feet to my right and I was eyeball to eyeball with him and his dangling prey. He dropped the rabbit and flew off, that is when I got the camera going.

You get to see the Eagle flying off.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Another Morning Picture

How about this one Sky? This is by Denali Park, AK about 5 in the morning.
Alaska dark before the light.

Morning Picture

This is about 5 in the morning. This is dark in Alaska.

Midnight Shot for Sky

The colorful skies came after 11 PM.

What do you think Sky?

Road System Alaska

I have traveled just about the entire road system in Alaska. Here is a 'normal' picture.

Homer and Seward, AK

I made it to Homer which is the beginning or end of the Alaskan Highway. I saw probably 30 moose. I also saw about 10 eagles. I even saw a seal on the beach that posed for me. The wind was blowing and cold, so I went inland to sleep.

This morning I drove to Seward which is a nice little coastal type town. Actually, all of these towns are coastal type towns.
There is a lot more traffic and people in the Kenai than East of Anchorage. Moose are everywhere around here. They have had about 170 moose killed on the highway in the past year. It is kind of like the coast of Oregon or Washington with little towns dotting the plac.

RAINED LAST NIGHT AND TODAY! I found the video on the camera of the Eagle with the rabbit. Problem: My new computer battery is dead and I have had no way to charge it so I have not been able to download it and check it out. I have to tell you that the pictures I have taken do not do the actual place justice.

I will get pictures up when I get my battery charged.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

I am at Kenai, Alaska

No Picture yet. I don't have much battery, so I am getting on to make a note and get off. The weather is great. Mountains with snow and ice and clear water. That is what is at the Kenai. I have gone over 1600 miles in Alaska.

Valdez is a great place! I was there yesterday. It is called the Switzerland of Alaska. Jagged peaks, one after the other and a small fishing village where the Alaskan oil is loaded up.

I had an eagle catch a rabbit and fly in front of the car. He dropped it and I flew off. I am hoping that I got pictures of it but I have not seen it yet - maybe I didn't get it after all.

Weather is great. Seeing moose daily. I am on my way to Homer and plan to camp out here in the Kenai tonight.


Monday, May 19, 2008

Mt McKinley, Alaska, Denali Park

I am in Denali Park in Alaska. This is a photo of Denali Park.
I might not be on every day. My battery to my computer is in Anchorage and I will get a new one when I get back there in 3 or 4 or 5 days. Anyway, I have hole in the back of my computer so do not want to take it out much.

Bye Emo

It has been a great experience, I will miss this place and the people in it. Bye!

2 in the morning, I was awaken by something hitting the house. It was a rock. other rocks hit the roof. The rock throwing lasted for about 15 minutes. I was talking to someone today and they said their house had been rocked last night. My room mates said they had been rocked in Sept and Oct of 2007. I looked out the crack of the window and the rocks were line drives, so the person was pretty close. Without a phone, I couldn't call anyone. it is quiet now at 2:20. What a way to wake up - yikes. Scary actually. 3:30 still awake. I was thinking. This village has a lot of broken windows. Houses with people living in them have boarded up windows. Is this rock throwing common? Since we are in the bush, getting a pane of glass is not as easy as in a city.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

More Midnight Sun

Kids are playing basketball and running around acting like kids in the summertime.

Land of the Midnight Sun

This was shot at midnight in Emmonak, Alaska. I fly out in less than 10 hours.

The little dot in the water is a man in a canoe, under the midnight sun.


I won't see the ice break. I leave in about 13 hours and it is still one solid piece.
If you compare this picture to old pictures, you can see the water rose higher. I was walking and the some Yukon silt gave way and I fell into 2 feet of water - yuk. I needed to do a last load of wash anyway.

Frozen Yukon River Today

This is the frozen Yukon River today, the last full day that I am here. Still no signs of break up. The water level is much higher than last week. I was able to walk down below the rock wall last week. It is now water. 24 hours from now, I will be almost be in Anchorage, AK.

**WARNING: I HAVE NOT HAD A HAIRCUT SINCE DECEMBER and I will not shave until I get back to Portland! I will try to take a shower before I get on the jet to Oregon but if I miss that - watch out. My hiking boots are coated with Yukon River Mud too. **You might want to bring a clothes pin to plug up your nose when I get to Oregon just in case I forget to shower.

This is by the dump.

The Yukon River is big, frozen but the ice has not broken. I did not see any snow mobiles out on it today.

Snow, Last Day at Emo

It snowed! Things look white with dirt showing through. Will it continue throughout the day? River is still frozen - no break up yet.

Clean out the frig day: BREAKFAST: Bagel sandwich with 2 eggs, hamburger patty, relish and ketchup, with coffee and tea.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Snow, Ice and 20 below zero = Emo

I was just thinking, what makes this place unique? I think the top things would be: 20 to 30 below zero, Snow, Ice and a totally Frozen River from December to May. Walking on the frozen Yukon River when it is 20 below is quite unique. I will certainly miss that along with quite a few other things. Got to also say: Emo sure has some great craftsmen and craftswomen making things in the traditional way. MOST OF ALL: The YuPik people. Could you survive in 20 to 60 below weather for 6 months out of the year and flourish? They have lived off the land successfully in extreme conditions. The Eskimo people are pretty amazing.

boarded up

I walked to the river this AM and the river level is up substantially. The ice still seems solid but the water level has gone up by at least 4 or 5 feet. I saw a snowmobile splash the water and get onto the ice then take off to Alukanuk.

The ice break up is still a hundred miles or so away. Still hoping to see it by the time I leave. It does not look promising.

Boarded Up House: It is so weird being inside and hearing the kids outside. They were talking, yelling and laughing until 4 AM behind my place. I happen to live at the gathering place for kids.
I talked to the VPO (Village Police Officer) a few days ago and asked how it was working the 11:00 PM to 8:00 AM shift. He said it is crazy. Kids are running around and doing stuff and then play hide from the police.

To Skyler and Shad

Hi my little buddies,

Sky, I will see you in about 11 days. I am excited to see you play baseball. Your mom and Dusty say you hit that ball like crazy and you run the bases like lightning. Tell Alex hi for me.
We are going camping soon. Help your momma and daddy get the chuckwagon ready.
Shad, help take care of your little sister.
Pappi, in Alaska

They boarded up my windows yesterday. I am living in a place with no light - weird.

The picture is of my front yard less than a week ago. The snow is now gone.

Friday, May 16, 2008

May 16, Snow is gone

I went down and checked, the snow is gone on the bank of the river. The snow in this picture is no longer there. The Yukon River is still frozen over though. I was told that the ice melts from below, caused by the water rushing by it. The sun melts the top too.

Some snowmobilers are still riding on the river but I was talking to one fellow whe felt it was dangerous at this stage. You need to stay by the side if you do ride. The guy I saw was riding in the middle of the River.

My Emo year is over - it is official.

I have finished my time at Emo. I officially signed out this afternoon. I will mail stuff off and take some stuff to the dump and fly out Monday morning. I will drive around Alaska next week to check the road system out. I hope to get pictures up.

Story: I have seen kids make great progress. One boy was fighting and biting when I first came. He has become a much calmer and a lot less violent. The day before school was out he hit another student in the face, 2 times, and got suspended. I let him come back the last day for the party. I was walking from school and saw this boy helping his dad work on the snowmobile. This dad also takes him hunting and fishing, the YuPik way. The lives are different but they are very knowledgable and good people who are passing on the means of staying alive in a harsh environment.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Last Day with Students at Emmonak

It is hard to believe that this is the last day, but my Emo time is winding down fast.
I have had such a great experience. I have seen an amazing amount of academic progress in kids and we really got the discipline worked through here at Emo. Last night I had dinner with staff down my hall and they said some great things. It was not easy but I feel we made a difference. I will have many wonderful memories but am ready to start summer.

I am still thinking about next year.

This is and old picture. It was when we had snow everywhere and the sun even set.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Little ice left

Compare this picture to the May 10 ice picture. Notice the difference in thickness of the ice. It is the same ice. A few days of sun makes a big difference.

A few snowmobilers are still riding on the Frozen but thinning Yukon. One of my classroom assistants said she was ice fishing last weekend and her husband got the snowmobile stuck in ice. After 3 hours of being stuck, another snowmobiler came along and got a tow rope and pulled him out. She said they were going about 50 MPH on the ice. They went to the Bering Sea and fished and hunted there. (She caught 20 fish and he caught a cold.)

Emo Corporation Fishing Boat

I think this boat is going to be dismantled and sold for scrap.

It is 10 PM and it looks like about 4 in the afternoon. It stays light forever.

Emmonak - Stay?

I have been asked to reconsider my resignation and stay at Emmonak next year. I have even been told that I could teach 1/2 year if I wish. Something for me to consider. Mentally, I was totally ready for a new adventure. Then again, 1/2 year is a tempting idea.

By the way, the picture is of ice under water.

The road out of town.

It goes to the airport.

Ice is disappearing

It is getting harder to find snow and ice. Ice is still on the river.

Getting to Airport: People have to walk the last 1/2 mile to the airport. The road has turned to mush so vehicles drop people off and they walk the last bit. I am hoping it will be dried up by Monday when I leave.

2 days with kids

Time is getting short.

Monday, May 12, 2008

This mud tried to steal my boot

This is the section that sucked my boot in.

Here, in Emo, white people are known as Gussacks. If a white person marries an Eskimo they can become a Guskimo. That is what a student said.

My boot was sucked into the mud

I was walking near the Yukon River and stepped into the spot where I took pictures of the snow melting. The ground was like quicksand and tried to steal my boots.
I got out just before it went over the top of my boot.

It stays light until past midnight. At 1 AM, it is still light enough to read a little in the twilight.

This is behind my apartment.

I walk by it daily to get to work.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

ice picture

The snow and ice will be gone soon si I thought I better take pictures now.

Ice under a few inches of water

Happy Mother's Day to all the mothers. Here is another ice picture for Ash.

I was walking along the Yukon River looking for ice pictures because Ashley said she liked the ice shots. Snowmobiles are still riding on the river. I saw about 10 on the river while I was out taking pictures and walking.

Play equip for the little guys

This is the only play equipment for the younger kids in Emmonak. It is old. The building behind is the old BIA school. This is about 3 blocks from the new school and we do not have any play structures at the new school. (The new school was built about 1970.)

It is raining today.

Dust and mosquitos

I was told that when it dries out here, the place becomes very dusty. The mud is a very fine silt and quads or any vehicle makes the dust fly.

Lots of good sized mosquitos too I am told.

Birds are chirping

Signs of spring started suddenly. The birds started chirping yesterday and I noticed some buds on the trees and bushes here in Emmonak.

Basketball Court, tank farm

This is the one place for kids to play in Emmonak. Kids play basketball here until midnight. This is the only activity area for kids to play.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Melting Ice!

Melting fast. you can get an idea of how thick it is. This is the thin ice. It is by the side which is getting the water runoff. The ice on the river is thicker. The ice level is rising as the day progresses.

On the yukon River looking at Emo

That is the boat that I have quite a few pictures of. Last week, it was covered with snow and ice.

Smoke from the fires in Russia! We have a little smoky haze here and I am told it is from some forest fires and grass fires which are going on in Russia, Siberia actuall. we get the smoke. I guess we also get dust from the wind storms on the Gobi dessert.

downtown Emmonak

When you walk down the street, it is kind of like walking on a sponge. The dirt gives a lot.

Emmonak 5/08

Lots of mud here. Rained yesterday. This road/ alley is blocked because it is a mud blog. The outhouse I found last week is down this alley to the right.

Internet - I am not having much luck with the internet. It is very on and off.

Uptown Emmonak/ community center

The snow is melting and I could not get onto the main ice this morning. The ice is rising up becsuse the water under the ice is rising. We had rain yesterday and they had rain upriver. There is flooding on the Tanana River which feeds into the Yukon. I was talking to folks about teaching at Manley, AK in a school with 10 kids. Manley is now flooded and they had to take people out in helicopters. Ice is the problem. Seems the ice backs up and the water goes around and into where people live.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Last Friday with kids!

It is about 35 degrees this morning.

Shower: We have hard water here. The shower head gets clogged. When I first got here I used a toothpick to open up a lot of clogged openings. They are clogged again. When I take a shower, I have to move around a lot or the 8 -12 jets of water will drill through me. It is quite a blast. I think I will keep them clogged until I leave in 11 days.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

mud anyone?

This is out in front of the apartment!

I was told that when the ice breaks upriver, that usually means the ice will break two weeks after the upriver breakup. So, according to that, the ice should break here about May 20. I fly out on the 19th. Maybe I will see it.

I sank down in the slush

It is getting slushy and I was sinking down in the slush. The ice is still strong but with a little water on the top. A few snowmobiles still ride on the ice but most people are putting the snowmobiles away for the year. A couple of snowmobiles ride their snowbobiles over the water

Emmonak traffic jam: 10 quads were driving down an Emmonak street yesterday. A lot of traffic. A police officer stopped his quad and asked how his son did at school. His son acted a little goofy but did a science project too.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

The ice broke upriver

The dirt is showing! 45 degrees melts away the snow and ice.

They have a contest upriver as to when the ice melts on the Koyokuk River. The tripod fell last night at 10:00 PM. People bet on when the ice breaks. This year, the winner wins $330,000.00. The win is determined when a tripod setup falls down. Shifting of ice causes the tripod to fall.

We have seen no effects of the ice breaking upriver yet