BootsnAll Travel Network

Archive for September, 2007

« Home

Saturday School – Eskimo Style

Saturday, September 29th, 2007

Alak School closes early for the summer as many of the Inupiat Eskimos move to fish and hunting camps upriver – or set out to go hunt seals or go whaling. To make up for the lost school days, we have classes on several Saturdays and today was our first. Rather than have a boring day of math, language arts, science, and etc, we structured the day to be a bit more fun. We had Eskimo dancing and drumming, extended wood shop time, swimming, and had some students begin painting a mural on a wall near the gym. Some of the teens set up an apparatus to practice a traditional sport – 3 variations of high kicking: kicking an object with both feet, with one foot, and then with one foot, but just using one leg to jump.

Wainwright, Alaska – Tundra Village on the Arctic Ocean

Saturday, September 22nd, 2007


The Cessna Grand Caravan that I flew from Barrow to Wainwright was split down the middle: Passengers on the right, cargo on the left. At least I knew for certain that all 7 of my bags and cartons made the flight.


Wainwright is a village of about 500 folks – it seems a bit smaller than that. I’m sharing an apartment with a guy named Tex. He’s never been to Texas. The school is just 100 yards from my door, easiest commute in my life. Our living room window has a fair view of the Arctic Ocean, about 1/4 mile away.


Since the beach is so close, it’s the first choice for an after school walk. Sometimes some of the younger Inupiat kids join us. On the first day of school we had an assembly. While waiting for all of the students to file into the gym, I did a few simple tricks for the grade school kids. I am now known as Mr. Magic.


Dog teams have been replaced by snowmachines and 4-wheelers, but most folks still keep a few dogs around, but haven’t come across anyone that has enough of them to pull a sled.


A neighborhood family getting ready to head out to pick berries.

This morning I took a 10 mile hike to the DEW military installation with a couple of other teachers, Rusty and Emily and her 3 year-old son, Henry. Rusty brought along a gun in hopes we could bag a caribou. No such luck. As Em and Rusty had thought about camping at the now-abandoned base, they carried backpacks, and I was the lucky guy who carried Henry. We hiked along a lagoon before we had to cut across the tundra and came across this carcass of a seal that was shot in the head and left to rot.

caribou.jpgAlthough we didn’t spot any caribou, someone in town had some recent success.

Barrow Bits

Sunday, September 9th, 2007
wbone.jpg I've been up here for over two weeks and, sad to say, I've pretty much seen everything in town - and it's a bit of a stretch to say that many of these sights are special. ... [Continue reading this entry]

Field Guide to the Arctic Blue-Turfed Hooligan

Sunday, September 9th, 2007
football1.jpgspectators.jpgfootball2.jpg This past Saturday was the final football game of the year for the Barrow Whalers. They played Nikiski, a team from the North Road of the Kenai ... [Continue reading this entry]

Arctic Ocean Beach Bum

Saturday, September 1st, 2007
barrowbeach.jpgIt's the first of September and the beginning of the the 3-day Labor Day Weekend. Slept in a bit - I usually have to wake up at 5:30 AM to get to school on time, ... [Continue reading this entry]