Sunday, February 27, 2011

Caribou Day Camp

This past Thursday we let school out early for a Cultural Day Camp at one of the local Elder's houses. Students spent the afternoon cutting up three Caribou.

High School'ers survey the damage before starting into two more Caribou

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Flying Home to Arctic Once Again

When we flew home to Arctic on Sunday, it was an exceptionally clear day (and a cold one!)

Beautiful as ever! We saw plenty of caribou too, but I didn't catch any in these pictures.

Everything Freezes

When Sam and I left Fairbanks on Sunday the Truck said 40 below. Which meant that it was sure to be much colder when we got home to the village.
Since we live in a dry cabin there is not much harm in just letting it freeze up while we are gone. Without a fire going constantly everything in the cabin starts to freeze. Here are a few pictures of some of the more unlikely things that froze.

Did you know olive oil could freeze to a solid state? I was surprised. I didn' t know an oil could freeze like that. It freezes at a lower temp than water, but it sure does freeze!

Even peanut butter, which is mostly solid, but does have oil in it freezes! And the texture of the peanut butter since it has melted isn't quite the same, but the flavor is still fine.

Even the Karo syrup, which is mostly just sugar, froze solid and turned very white.

The only thing that didn't freeze was the hand sanitizer, 99% alcohol doesn't freeze at any temp.

Monday, February 7, 2011


This past week I got the chance to go to Kaktovik with the Infant Learning Program. It was only a 90 minute flight on Era from Fairbanks, the same time that it takes to fly to Arctic, but since they fly bigger planes up there they cover a greater distance much faster. Kaktovik is on the North side of the Brooks Range, literally in the Arctic Ocean.

The people of Kaktovik are native Inupiat, often referred to as Eskimo here in the US, or Inuit into Canada. The Inupiat name for the village of Kaktovik is Inuuniagviat Qaaqtuvigmiut. In order to fly to Kaktovik I actually flew to Barter Island.

Here is the plane I flew in to Kaktovik. Compared to the small Cesna's I have flown in to other villages, this plane was luxuriously large!

When I stepped off the plane I realized that I was seeing the other side of the mountains we can see from Arctic. As the crow flies Kaktovik is just 150 miles north of Arctic Village.

It was a beautiful clear day in Kaktovik, a rare thing there as they get ice fog for most of the winter, often making it impossible for planes to get in and out. It was also pleasantly warm for this time of year, 0 degrees.

Here is a view of the village from the airport. The population of Kaktovik is about 300 people.

And here is a view of the Brooks Range as we flew back from Kaktovik to Fairbanks. I think this may be the Hula Hula river you can see.

I have heard many stories about polar bear sightings in Kaktovik, but I didn't see any. I looked very hard from the plane, although I thought it would be difficult to see a white animal in a sea of white. The pilot had spotted one the week before. He said that in the spring and fall when the polar bears cross from the sea ice to land and back he has been able to see up to 50 bears during one flight! How amazing that would be! Apparently the best place to spot one is out past the airport where the whale bones are discarded after a whale is harvested each fall.

Even though we were right on the ocean I couldn't tell what was water and what was land. Everything was frozen and snow covered, so it all looked the same! The lady who gave me a ride from the clinic to the airport told me that the ocean was just a few hundred feet beyond the road. I would love to go back later in the spring and be able to see the ocean.