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Friday, April 24, 2009

Tornado Fun

Another whirlwind week that started last Wed with an early morning swim followed by a family plane ride to Anchorage with a 7 hr layover and eventually ended up in Juneau. From there Sarah, Hahnah and I cruised through event after event, meetings of old friends, gatherings of music jams and even playing on two sets during the Alaska Folk Fest. This was interspersed with three random run-ins with ultra runner (and fellow ITI competitor) Geoff Roes and even my own fun 10 mile run through the hills of Juneau and a failed attempt at post holing in shorts up Perseverance.

An early wake up on Monday and we were on the plane ride back to Anchorage. We actually sat right in front of Sarah Palin's mom of all people. She was very pleasant and said how cute our Hanhah was. Back in Nome we were wiped out and exhausted but I had to get ready for Gambell. On Tuesday I flew to Gambell for a clinic and of course a storm came in after days of sunny weather. Going from, practically, summer like weather in Juneau to the winds of Gambell with completely different focuses is quite a trip.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Going South... Juneau

Usually going a 1000 miles south one would think it would end up in some hot exotic place. Well I suppose it may be compared to Nome. I'm changing tracks a little bit from the outdoor stuff to musical excursions; which can be just as misadventurous for me. I'm sort of the tagalong spouse with the fantastical wifey singer/songwriter. Sarah, Hahnah and I are heading to Juneau on Wed for the Alaska Folk Fest. It's Sarah's home town so it will be cool to visit again. Sarah is playing as Sarah C Hanson and the Huzzband (me + Jim + Carol: you guys make a great huzzband!) on Friday night and then again on Sat with our friend Ryan.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

More wood and an ice hole

Well my grand plans of caribou hunting with a friend from Unalakleet did not pan out. I was supposed to snow machine down to Koyuk but I just couldn't get my act together to be ready. My motivation was lacking and then when another friend wanted to go ice climbing I also bailed on that.

I wanted to provide some kind of food from the country so I went by myself down the coast toward White Mountain and stopped over by the topkok cliffs. Got a little exercise putting in this ice hole.

I thought the ice would be thinner closer to the cliffs but it turned out to be 4-5 ft down before I broke through.

Fished a little bit with a hand line but no luck there. On the way back I couldn't pass up some great logs to chop. It's hard to believe this place is such a blowhole when it was so calm today. All in all not a very successful day but at least I got some wood.

The sled is necessary to haul the tuuq, axe and wood but I sure miss going without. I'm always wanting to push the speed a little faster and I end up having to fix the sled each time from getting slammed around.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Marco arrives and leaves Nome

While everyone else seems to be enjoying some sort of spring Nome temperatures were -17 this morning. Blah. On the plus side with solid hardpack the snow machine options are endless, possibly a little caribou hunting this weekend or some crabbing.

Well the ITI finally finished as Marco arrived in Nome early yesterday (wed) morning around 3 am. Hanhah and Sarah have been sick so I couldn't ride the snow machine down the coast the previous evening to find out where he was. Though it probably wouldn't have mattered since a 3 am wake up would have been difficult. Poor Marco ended up not knowing where to go after standing under the arch in Nome and wound up in the bank atm entrance since it was heated. The police swung by picked him and drove him to the volunteer shelter. He said they were very nice and seemed to know who he was and of the ITI. I have been sending out many messages to the Nome community about his arrival so there did seem to be more awareness of the race.

I had some coffee with him this morning before driving to the airport for his return to civilization. I asked which parts seemed the most difficult and he answered most of the trail was soft snow so he used his snow shoes frequently... but particularly the trail between Elim and Golovin he was caught in a blizzard. The visibility was so poor he couldn't see his sled behind him and for 8 hrs battled to find his way by crawling on the ground to see the trail looking for snow machine tracks. He said he almost felt like he was losing his sanity as if he were two people, one person wanted to just give up and the other to go on. Some of this might have been lost in his limited english but I do understand the emotional states that you go through are so extreme it is something not easily explained. What a tough year and what demons to fight to get to Nome.