|Late summer sunset from the porch in Tunt.|
We've landed, and settled into this village on small river about a mile and a half from its confluence with the "mighty Kuskokwim". Our house is on lake-front property. People in other places far away from here pay a lot for a view like this. Here, everyone has it. Many take it for granted and just want to go see something different. But often, when they do leave, they're drawn back for lot of reasons but mostly because it's home. For now, it's home for us too. This is our fourth "home" in Alaska, fifth if we count the bio-hazard site we were living in last school year.
|Coming home after Volleyball regionals in December|
|My yard?! No! Their yard! For about two hours, actually.|
Even still, it is a place I'm never bored, either by the adventures I have had, or the potential for them, even if I haven't lifted a finger toward those endeavors...yet. One reason I'm writing this blog is to publicly proclaim my intentions. I'm actually trying to shame myself into doing what I say I'll be doing. This strategy, of course, is reliant on the presumption that anyone actually reads this thing. Let me know if there's anyone out there besides crickets.
Here in the village, the potential for adventure is more problematic. During the spring, summer, and fall, after break-up and before freeze-up, if one steps off the boardwalks around here, count on wet feet...or knees...or hips. The substrate upon which the village was built is shifting silt so we're sitting on land that is pretty tentative in its resolve to remain land and would just as soon become river bed or even suspended particulate in the ocean.
|Morning fog in Tunt|
|The Tuntutuliak Fun Run, as school year winds down.|
Winter travel would call for a snow machine, which I'm thinking about, but my upbringing has conditioned me to put the words: "God damn" in front of the word "snowmobile". I do have cross-country skis, which, when the snow is deep and powdery, is fun to get out on, but still, I'm not up to a winter journey of any length greater than around the village or an hour or so up or down the river. Foster, the Australian Shepherd, is NOT a sled dog. He knows his "GEE" from his "HAW" but "ON-BY" is really hard for him. He's pretty easily distracted by his environment, be it another dog or an interesting smell. He's very strong and can pull me hard and fast, but he also is a herd dog so he finds the need to check on my progress and wants me to have the opportunity to "help" us in our progress, so the line tends to be a bit slack for much of our excursion. When we were in Toksook, on Nelson Island, this was not as much of an issue since we usually had lots of snow, when it wasn't being redistributed by 40 knot winds that were, though not constant, certainly frequent. We also had "The Hill" which allowed us the pay-off of a fast down-hill run after puffing and panting our way up the hill. Mekoryuk on Nunivak had potential, but we were only there a year.
|Jeordyn on the roof of the Kenai Peninsula, Harding Ice Field|
Skiing on the flats requires a different mindset and feels more running on a treadmill; we see where we're going and it's pretty much just like where we are, and where we came from... keep going. The tundra and the delta from the air is a unique sight. I know when I first came out, landed in Bethel then on to Toksook, back in August of 2000, I shot about 2 rolls (remember rolls?) during the hour-and-a-half-long flight over to Nelson Island, by way of Nunivak. The color of the tundra was almost emerald green, with all those lakes and tributaries scattered and meandering across this strange landscape. The flight to Toksook involved stops in at least two other villages, depending on the routing. Our runway was short and very close to town. It, however, did not have runway lights (due to the youthful indiscretions of one who will remain anonymous on these pages) so any flights that came in had to happen after sunrise, as late as 11 am, or before sunset, as early as 4:30 pm. This meant, if we left in the afternoon, we'd have stops in Tununak and then Mekoryuk, since they had to pick us up before dark. In the morning, flying out from Bethel, We landed in Toksook last, in order to give the sun a chance to rise. It's was a milk run and if you had to pee before you got on the plane, you REALLY had to by the time you got to Toksook. If the plane turned around due to weather or runway conditions, you'd have a VERY uncomfortable ride back to Bethel.
|They came to visit in Toksook, right before the Airport was built|
|Snow in Toksook. Just pretend we don't have steps for now.|
|"Road trip" with the volleyball team...in a place where there are no roads|
|Me and you-know-who. She was very... nice.|
These pictures I included with this entry have no real order or significance. They are just images of some of our experiences that we never could have imagined unless we'd made the decisions we made back in July of 2000.
|Senna and Me at Exit Glacier.|
|Foster by the Kenai River.|
|Early in the Morning on the AK Highway|
|"Got anything to eat in that backpack?"|