Thursday, March 26, 2009

Unique Experiences

Living in Alaska has produced many opportunities for unique experiences. Living in a small village has produced even more unique experiences.

Most of you know that there are no roads in and out of the village, therefore a small plane is required to get anywhere (besides the dump). The small planes do not fly in bad weather either, so any snow, rain, wind, or low clouds and you are stuck where you're at. We have had multiple times when we have been trying to get in and out where weather has either post-poned our departure or made us leave early. It can get nerve racking when you want to get out of the village when you have a flight out of Anchorage that you are trying to catch. Luckily, every time we have needed to get out, we have.

Groceries. Getting groceries is a unique experience. It teaches you to plan ahead. To get groceries, we fax an order into Safeway and tell them what time to bring it to the airport to fly it over. We listen to hear the plane coming and take the truck to the air strip. The plane lands and we unload the groceries and bring them home. It is always interesting having someone else do your shopping for you. Sometimes we get interesting things, but for the most part we get what we want. It gets hard sometimes when you want to cook something but do not have all of the ingredients. The store is not just around the corner, so it teaches patience and planning. It is humorous when planes come in to watch everyone scurry to the planes to get groceries. When we were leaving for spring break people were on snow machines, four wheelers, and trucks to get groceries. A few people were waiting to get the fast food they ordered! One family ordered McDonald's for dinner! Pretty funny.

Volcano's. You don't need to worry about Volcano's in Michigan. Here, we have been dodging lava for a few weeks! (Just kidding) We have been worried about ash. Mt. Redoubt has erupted over a dozen times in the last week. Ash, which is jagged rock and glass, has been shooting 50,000-60,000 feet in the air. The wind for the most part has been in our favor. We got our first light dusting of ash yesterday. pretty gross stuff. It has been really cool to watch the sky. We are not too far from the volcano and can usually tell by the color of the sky when it erupts. It has a grayish, yellow tint to it. It looks creepy sometimes because it looks as though it is right over us and should be falling on us, but it is up to 8 miles over us! Here is the website that we look at daily to keep informed on the volcano's activity.

Earthquakes. Alaska has dozens of earthquakes everyday. We experienced an earthquake earlier this year. All of a sudden our house started to lightly shake for about 10-15 seconds. It was a cool experience. Here is another website that shows Alaska's daily earthquake activity.

These are a few unique experience of life in the village.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Winter weekend

This past weekend (March 6-8) was quite the exciting weekend. We were blessed with a beautiful new niece on Friday morning. Lily Kay Smith. My sister Kristin and Tanner are doing well.

Also in Tyonek, the Chief Chikelusian Celebration was going on. It started with a potluck on Friday night. There was so much food! It was really good. We had moose meat for the first time! There was moose stew, moose meat in gravy, plain moose meat, all very delicious. After the meal some of the kids in the village did some traditional drumming which was really neat to hear.

Saturday night, we decided to cross-country ski down to the river (which is about 2 miles away). We found a good camping spot and set up. We did not anticipate how big of a job setting up a campsite would be, but because the snow was so deep the moment we stepped out of our ski's we would sink to our knees. After pounding down the snow with our ski's and boots, we set up our tent. We also made an area to have a campfire. Our fire wasn't as big and warm as we had hopped, so we decided to make hot chocolate instead. The night was extremely cold! I even slept in my down jacket! It may have been a premature camping trip, but was fun anyways. Granger also got to shoot his new gun that he got, which is always fun. Once we got home and started to thaw, my feet began to swell! I thought I was going to loose a few toes, but everything turned out ok.

After we warmed up a bit we headed to Second Lake to watch Snow Machine (Snow mobile) races. The kids were ice fishing and playing on snow mounds. They also had a riffle shoot. The kids did an egg toss in the snow! It was really funny to watch because the egg was dropped almost every time but never broke! They had a blast though. We enjoyed the picnic and headed home.