Friday, January 20, 2017

Christmas Break in Alaska

Cody and I spent our Christmas Break differently than most young bush teachers. At Christmastime, there is a mass exodus of teachers leaving (usually the same day that school gets out) and heading down south to spend three weeks with their families. While Cody and I debated this, we also were concerned about the expense. It's nearly $1,000/person just to get to Anchorage from our little village. It's another $500-$800/person to travel from Anchorage to Chicago. The district will happily reimburse my flight to Anchorage, but we still had to pay for Cody's flight to Anchorage, both of our flights to Chicago, and all of the dogs' travel. So, as much as we would have loved to see our families and to go home, continuing to be debt-free ended up winning out and we decided to stay in Pilot Point.

Staying in Pilot Point for Christmas ended up being a fantastic idea. We had a ridiculously relaxing break, and I feel like the community really reached out to us because they were excited to finally have teachers stay over the holiday season. In our first two weeks of break we were invited to holiday parties, game nights, fishing trips, and a local who was heading out of town even loaned us their four-wheeler. I feel like we really were able to cement our relationship with the community by planting ourselves here.

The final week of break we did head to Anchorage for a few days. Our grocery stash was dangerously low, Cody and I both needed to find a new doctor, and Specks (our older dog) had developed a small mass on his gums over the last few weeks and we needed to get him to a vet.

Our stay in Anchorage was...interesting. We store our car in a gated lot near the airport, but somehow we'd managed to have our car get robbed even in a secure lot. Someone had stolen ONE tire off of our car and left it up on a jack. The first two days of our trip revolved around hunting down a tire, filing police reports, and dealing with insurance. After the tire fiasco, we were feeling (understandably) a little burnt on Anchorage. We did manage to have some fun in the city though, and it was nice to take advantage of the amenities of civilization. We ate at a different restaurant every night (49th State Brewing was my favorite), we shopped for new clothes, purchased many fancy groceries, and all of us - dogs included- saw doctors and left feeling healthier.

At the end of the week we headed back to our little village. Our flights both ways were with Lake Clark Air and we flew direct from Pilot Point to Anchorage (and vice versa). This allowed us to fly through some of the most spectacular parts of the state, including Lake Clark National Park. The mountains were huge, the lakes were endless, and I couldn't believe that we are lucky enough to call this beautiful place our home.

Your turn...What did you do over the holiday season? 
Currently listening to... Darkness and the Light - Trampled by Turtles 

(Special shoutout to My Place Hotel for being the most pet-friendly hotel on planet earth, and for having the most helpful staff.  Check this place out if you're ever in Anchorage!)


  1. Second try?
    Not sure how I got to read this but probably Susan liked it so it came on my timeline. Found it very interesting. I think Beaver Island is isolated in the winter especially if planes can't fly and ferry docked for winter! Didn't realize you had to go all the way to Anchorage for doctor and vet! Hope you don't get bad toothache! Glad you are enjoying being back in the great white north! Also glad you managed to get a break. Best wishes to you both. Continue to enjoy.
    Regards, Rose Spershott, (Sue's Mum).

    1. Hi, Rose! It is good to hear from you! I hope all is well on the island. We miss it quite often. We do have to fly to Anchorage for all of our doctor and/or vet visits. It's about 350 miles from here. Our planes do get weathered a lot here too, similar to the island. Thanks for stopping by! : )


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