Saturday, April 29, 2017

Honda Rides on the Tundra

One of the things I've been wishing for most since we arrived in Pilot Point is regular access to a Honda (aka four-wheeler). There are so many beautiful places around Pilot Point that we can't access by car or on foot. We've been shopping for a Honda for awhile this year, but have yet to find anything that we can purchase and get shipped to the village easily. Thankfully, we have some pretty awesome friends in the village. One of the local couples has been paticularly wonderful about offering their Honda to us on many occasions. While they were out of town last week, they gave Cody and I free reign of the Honda.

We did lots of little rides around town and a few short rides out onto well traveled trails, but we didn't have the guts to go anywhere too far away. Then, one day after work, our friend Warren offered to take us out on the back loop trail that goes 8ish miles out behind the village and then snakes around the river back up to the village, eventually ending on the other side. We happily agreed to tag along, but definitely didn't know what we'd gotten ourselves into ahead of time. 

You see, Cody and I have both ridden Honda's many times before, but neither of us have ever ridden one off-trail on the tundra, or through giant ruts, and definitely neither of us have ever gotten a Honda stuck multiple times in one ride. On this particular ride though, all of these things happened - a lot. 

Before entering the trail Warren warned us that it would probably be a little rough because of all of the recent rain and the frequency with which the trail had been used during hunting season (everyone has been going out for caribou lately). At this warning, I grabbed on tightly to Cody and hoped that I wouldn't get too muddy. After about three minutes on the trail - I had totally given up this hope. The Honda was bucking like a horse over the huge ruts, with me flying up at every bump. As we approached particularly crazy ruts, Cody would turn his head and yell, "HOLD ON!" After the first couple of minutes though I resigned myself to just keeping a tight grip on the handles at all times. The Honda got stuck at least five times too because the mud was so thick and deep, but we didn't mind hopping off and helping learn from Warren how to get the bike unstuck. 

The loop was incredibly scenic. Words can't describe adequately how amazing it was to be out riding in complete wilderness. We couldn't see the town, we never saw another soul. It was just us, riding around and enjoying the sunshine. We got off of our bikes when we were a few miles from the village and shot guns for a bit, and then we just lounged. 

Overall, we were out on the tundra for almost two hours. I was sore from head to toe and completely covered in mud, but I was also happy and content. The ride was probably one of my favorite memories from this year in Pilot Point. I'm so happy that we've been able to make so many good friends in the village this year, and I'm so happy that they are willing to share so many neat things about the area with us. I already can't wait to be back next year and having more adventures. 

Your turn...Do you have much experience riding Hondas? 
Currently listening to...Rabbit Heart - Florence + The Machine 

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Springtime Arrivals

The weather is changing. The change is subtle, but it is absolutely happening. Hints of springtime are officially in the air on the Alaska Peninsula. It helps that the sun is now shining for over twelve hours a day.  Sunrise is at 7:51am and sunset is at 9:15pm. We no longer live our lives in the dark. Instead, we walk to work in beautiful sunrise light, and we even go to sleep some nights with dusk still on the horizon. This newfound daylight has definitely been affecting our daily schedules.

At the beginning of the month, we had visitors to our little corner of the bush. Two student teachers from the University of Alaska came to visit Pilot Point as part of their Rural Practicum program. Our district frequently hosts student teachers, practicum students, and even tutors. They come to us from universities all over the US. However, Pilot Point is not often one of the places where these visitors find themselves. Our larger villages tend to be more appealing simply because there is more to do. Pilot Point, while being a nice little home for us, is also considered one of the more "boring" villages in our district.

With that in mind, I was determined to show our visitors that, while Pilot Point is indeed a quiet village, we are not a boring village. Cody and I were happy to pack as many fun activities as we could into the short week that the student teachers were visiting. We took them for drinks at a friends house, we hosted multiple dinners at our own house, we went for walks after work each day, we explored all of the special little spots in town, we went hiking, and we even had a bonfire in the middle of a frozen lake.

All of this wouldn't have possible three weeks ago. The single-digit temperatures, 60mph winds, and knee-deep snow kept us inside and in a state of hibernation. Thankfully, the sunny days and rising temps that signal the start of spring have officially broken through.

There are a few days next week with snow in the forecast, but it definitely feels like we've begun to turn the corner into spring. The longer days are perfect for adventuring and breathing new life back into everything, including us.

Your turn...Is spring starting to settle in where you live? 
Currently listening to...Head Full of Doubt - The Avett Brothers