After spending 54 years from birth to 2008 living in Iowa I was presented with an opportunity to live in Fairbanks, Alaska. My blog is a diary of the adventure to get to Alaska, day to day life in Alaska, as well as facts for loved ones left behind in the Lower 48. Enjoy.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Pioneer Park, Parka Parade n Puppies

Snowy buildings at Pioneer Park - formerly known as Alaskaland. See how much snow is piled on the roof? Fact: 50 5-gallon buckets of Alaska snow = 5 gallons of water. Another building in Pioneer Park. With no wind the snow just remains right where it falls, piling up.
The snow on the building below has begun to melt, creating a wave effect. Today the temperature was 27 degrees and we could see definite signs of melting.

The sweet children below are the children of Letha, our receptionst. She made the kuspak's for her daughter and son on the left and her mother made Letha's coat modeled by her other daughter. There was a nice article in today's paper...check out the entire article here:

Open water on the Chena River - it's been open all winter because it is downstream from the local power plant.

More drooping snow

Snow piled atop the trailer Brian and Camilla towed to Alaska in July. We've been told that once the snow begins to melt, it goes very quickly, as it is low in moisture content.

Letha arranging her coat on Chanda as her son, Randy, looks on. The coat Chanda is wearing won first place. Her prize was the parts and pieces to make a man's parka.

There were more dogsled races in town this weekend. It's amazing how they are all yippy once harnessed before they get to run, and once they start running they become stealthily silent. You can tell these dogs are absolutely delighted to be turned loose to run! Here are some interesting articles about the race:

Here's a photo from the outhouse races held last weekend in Chatanika, Alaska.

This little gal is all bundled up and awaiting the outhouse races. Every time we go to an activity I continue to be pleasantly surprised by the number of young, young children in attendance. Gotta hand it to the Alaskan parents for their patience in getting the little ones' gear organized, on and off...and on a regular basis.

More mushing competition pix. We watched a movie this afternoon at Pioneer Park and learned that they initially train dogs to pull dogsleds by allowing them to run alongside the dog team for a season. When the weather is very, very cold (by Alaska standards, not Iowa standards) they put booties on the dog's feet to keep them from injury. (They are very similar in appearance to the hand mits worn by newborn babies, with velcro attached to the top.)

More dog mushing. The wooden building across the river is a new bingo parlor. There are three bingo parlors in Fairbanks which are open 7 days a week. They each give away a minimum of $5000 every night.

They went to great lengths to get the snow in the right places for the race. They hauled snow back into downtown, as the race began on the street in downtown Fairbanks. At the end of the street they took a left hand corner where they'd built a ramp of snow down onto the Chena River.

It was a nice 22 degrees at the start of today's race. There were a LOT of people out on/by the river watching the dogs go by. One family brought their cookstove, lawn chairs, cooler, etc., and had a picnic in the snow on the riverbank.

The picture below is absolutely hilarious to me. This girl was at the riverfront awaiting the passing of the dogs. She brought along her pink hobby horse and her stuffed monkey. Here she is shown having propped her monkey on the teeter-totter and is attempting to figure out how to get the hobby horse attached to the teeter-totter. Right after I took this photo she threw down the hobby horse and hopped on the teeter-totter.

Handmade mukluks worn by Letha's children. The diamonds are pieces of fur cut in that shape and attached to the other fur to make the beautiful cuff. The bottoms are made from sealskin.

Hand beaded gloves made by one of Letha's ancestors. Typically these are made from moose hide.
I went to the Festival of Native Arts at the University Saturday evening where they had Alaska native dancers and craft sales. On one of the tables I noticed a purse made from a moose heart. I left it there for someone else to admire and/or purchase.

Awaiting the judge's decision. I told Randy he should get extra points. He was the only boy there and twirled his number stick around and around, entertaining us (or was it fighting boredom?). Either way, he was cute.

Nate holding the second place prize - a fox skin, won by Letha's younger daughter, Chanel, for her kuspuk. When she was given her prize she reached right out and draped it over her arm. I can imagine in Iowa if a teenage girl were given a "raw" fox skin they would not have the same appreciative reaction. Letha can be seen in the background behind Nate.

Here are a couple more newspaper articles I found to be interesting and want to share with you~
The second article (beginning Iditarod ordeal renews...) particularly touched me. You just may want to have a tissue handy~

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