Showing posts from February, 2017


Basketball is life for students in rural Alaska. Our village is no different in this respect. Basketball is one of the few sports that our students can play year round because all it requires is access to an indoor court (and conveniently all of our schools have one of those). Our village does have an outdoor court - one with wooden planking for a court floor, a fishing net in place of a standard hoop net, and endless ocean views - but it is really only in use during the summer months. The rest of the year, the school basketball court is king.

In our district, there are only two schools that are big enough to compete in regular 5-on-5 basketball tournaments. The rest of our small schools, including Pilot Point, compete in 3-on-3 tournaments instead. This year, I volunteered to be our schools basketball coach. Our team was tiny, with only one student allowed to travel, but we still practiced hard and flew to two separate tournaments this season. We were paired up with Port Heiden, a ne…

Adventures in Smelting

Consistently cold temperatures, sometimes down in the -20's, have been a regular part of our winter here on the Alaska Peninsula. While we do often get some reprieve, with temperatures jumping all the way up into the 30's occasionally, the cold has been regular enough to cause a deep freeze to occur on our lakes and rivers in the area. This has been VERY exciting to everyone in our village because smelting (going out and ice fishing for tiny smelt fish) is a hugely popular activity. The last few years have been poor for smelting, so the successes of this year have been much to celebrate in our tiny corner of the state. 

We have been invited out to join local families for smelting a few times, but I had been nervous about the thickness of the ice. However, last week, we were informed that the ice was 4+ feet thick on the entire road out to the smelting grounds. I figured that 4+ feet of ice was more than enough to support us out into the wilderness. 

On Friday, Melissa (the oth…