My job allows me to visit a lot of Alaska on a yearly basis. I wanted to capture the trips in one location!

Opps, no luggage and it’s -22 in Dillingham!

I left Juneau on a beautiful sunny day, and got to Dillingham by 6:30 pm and there was still some of the sunset glow in the sky. However, somehow Pen Air (the main airline that flies in/out of here though in the summer Alaska Air does) managed to forget my luggage in Anchorage ūüė¶ and it has all my training materials in it… AND it is -22 degrees with some strong wins coming off the ocean.

Kim, the Board President picked me up and dropped me at my hotel.  I stayed at the Thai Inn, the only person in the entire building, so not the same experience I had up north, it was quiet and just me.  The Inn is now being leased by a couple from AZ, Pablo and Ceanna,  and they serve Mexican food on Sat/Sunday, though not until after I left!

Just over 2300 people live in Dillingham and it has 2 school district offices here, of course Dillingham and then Southwest School District. SWSD is composed of many of the villages that consider Dillingham its hub community.  This is yet another community in Alaska that you can only fly or boat into as there are no roads that connect Dillingham to other parts of Alaska.

Dillingham is known for its commercial fishing of salmon.¬† It is one of the sustainable wild¬† salmon fisheries left in the world.¬†Dillingham, in terms of population, is the largest community in the Bristol Bay region and a lot of people commercial fish.¬† I also learned that the largest state park in the US is in this area… Wood-Tikchik State Park.

After our workshop, I was dropped at airport around 3:00 for my 6:40 flight, and please note that the airport is not much more than a small tin building with a few chairs inside.  There was plane on the ground headed to ANC but they would not let me on because they had given ANC the count already, I was certainly not happy.  In the end, my flight was a bit delayed, but I did get out by 7 and was in ANC by 8:30.  Spent a lovely night in ANC and landed in Juneau around 1 p.m. on Sunday though the landing was questionable b/c it was snowing so badly.

Thanks Harry for keeping up on the snow at home.  I am home til Tuesday when I leave for Tok and Delta Greely!


“Flying Wild Alaska” Unalakleet adventure Jan. 16-18, 2012

I didn’t make it to Unalakleet¬†(YOO-nuh-luh-kleet) on the day I was supposed to because they had too much fog for a plane to land, but I did make it in the next day around noon. Bering Strait School District has 15 sites and people from each site flew to UNK for the training I was leading.¬† The¬† communities in this school district are:

  • St. Michael
  • Elim
  • Brevig Mission
  • Diomede
  • Gambell
  • Savoonga
  • Teller
  • Koyuk
  • Golovin
  • Shaktoolik
  • Shishmaref
  • Stebbins
  • Unalakleet
  • Wales
  • White Mountain

Unalakleet is located on the Bering Sea, about 150 miles South of Nome.¬† Unalakleet has both Athabascan and Inupiat Natives that call the area home.¬†¬† In the 1830’s Russian American Company built a trading post in Unalakleet, and they still have amazing artistic items to buy.

I felt welcomed from the minute I landed and loved both my days there.¬† I walked from the school to dinner at “Peace on Earth Pizza” in -10 and it was as cold as you might think.¬† After dinner we were driven to our hotel where I ended up spending about 4 hours sitting with many of the ladies in my training and talking about life in their villages. I felt blessed to listen to them telling stories of life in the years past.¬† Esther an 81 year old grandmother of over 80 grand children warmed my heart.¬† Ironically I know on of her grand kids, Fred, whom I met my first year at the University in Sitka, 1996!¬† Small world.

I learned how TB took most of the individuals in Wales, and how they buried individuals on the other side of Tin Mountain.  I learned how many of the women met their husbands, how they birthed children (and sadly lost some), how they lived off the land and how they loved to sit around and talk, much like we were doing that night.  I felt blessed to be involved in the evening.

On Wed. I continued training with the group and finally prepared to catch my flight back to Anchorage ~ this is when the excitement began!¬† I was flying on ERA Air and for anyone that might watch “Flying Wild Alaska” you know that the Tweto Family run the airline there in Unalakleet.¬† My friend Kristie’s son Camden LOVES this show and family and I was able to meet 3 of the family members and have them sign a hat and t-shirt for him, as well as deliver a letter he wrote to them.¬† I was almost as excited as he was.

As I flew out, the sun was setting on the Bering Sea and I am already looking forward to a return trip to this region next year!


Cordova, Alaska during Snowpocyolypse 2012

I had planned a trip to Cordova, Alaska for work purposes back in Oct. Little did any of us know that it would be under emergency status due to snow fall, today it was over 18 feet and make national news while I was there.  I was very lucky to get into Cordova on Monday, which ended up being a beautiful blue skied, full of sunshine day.  It allowed me to really see how much snow the town had gotten.  There was the avalanche that had come down and blocked the main access road into town.  I did lead the workshop on Mon. afternoon until early evening, then again on Tues.  However, Tuesday was a totally different day, full of snow, wind, and a less visibility.  I was worried I might not get out of town, however at 4 we headed to the airport and was told the plane was flying.  Once at the airport, they indicated that as soon as the plane left, the road to town would once again be closed b/c of concerns with visibility  I was lucky to get out as  there was a storm rolling in and it was coming FAST, another hour or 2 and I doubt I would have gotten home. We overflew the stop in Yakutat due to white out conditions and landed in Juneau and hour early.

UPDATE: on 2/1 I got a message from Jeannie the Superintendents Administrative Assistant with the picture of the 2 of them being taken to the roof top on a lift.  She was very excited to share the shot!  They were removing snow from the overhangs on the Elementary School.  Fun times!