Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Basketball and Snowgo Ride!

     Basketball season came to a close in early March. As I've said before, basketball is a BIG deal up here in the villages of rural Alaska. The kids love to play basketball. The season is pretty quick and exciting. It is a little different than in the Lower 48. There are over 20 schools that make up the Lower Kuskokwim School District and are spread over an area the size of Ohio. Every school would not be able to play each other, it would just involve too much traveling. So within the district there are several small conferences that play against each other. Kind of like how all the schools in one county will typically play against each other in the Lower 48.
     We had a junior high team and a boys high school team. In February, I got to travel to Quinhagak, a nearby village, with the junior high team one weekend. We left Friday after school, I believe there were two other schools that traveled in as well. All the teams play against each other on Friday and Saturday and then you typically head home on Saturday. Well that weekend the weather was especially windy and Quinhagak is on the coast so it was even worse there. The wind chills were in the -30s. Since the wind was so bad the planes were not flying. So we got to spend an extra night. It was actually pretty fun to hang out with the students and chaperones from other schools and the kids had a great time.

Headed to the airport.

Quinhagak from the sky, past the village you can see the sun shining off the Bearing Sea.

Getting warmed up, go Cougars!

They have a school bus! This is for my mom!

Playing ball, Quinhagak has a new school and there gym was really nice 
(and a lot bigger than our gym here in Eek).

This was the weather when we were stuck, notice the wind chill.

     When we were leaving on Sunday, we were loading the plane and I set my bag down, because it was so icy and windy my bag started blowing away! I also made the mistake of only wearing a thin glove on one of my hands instead of putting my glove on as well and by the time I got on the plane I though my hand was going to fall off it was so cold. I had only been outside for about five minutes, shows you how fast below zero temperatures can affect you. It was a little bit of a bumpy plane ride getting back to Eek, but we finally made it safe and sound.
     We also ended up having our own junior high basketball tournament in Eek a week or so later. It was fun to go and watch and help out, but it was also nice to sleep in my own bed that weekend. :)

     One of the other teachers, Dirk, had a snowmobile or snowgo (as the locals call it) and before he got rid of it he took Kayla and I out for a ride. This was back in February so everything was still frozen, but it was a really nice day. It was a lot of fun, we went up river a ways (around 10 miles maybe) and Dirk even let me drive!

The river and someones fish camp.

The snowmobile and me having the time of my life!

The beautiful mountains, that was the closest I've been yet!
(other than being in an airplane)

This is the tower in Eek, it looked so far away.

     The Eek river is partially affected by the tides, so we get overflow on the river. This is where the river is frozen and when the tides go in and out water pushes up through the cracks in the ice and flows over the ice. It appears as if the ice is very thin and water is coming through, which is kind of scary. In reality it is just water sitting on top of a very thick layer of ice. The river was definitely frozen and safe to ride on, but we did have to go through a little overflow water. Basically the only thing bad about it is that you get a little water on you, which can be very cold. I took a video of us driving through the overflow water.

Enjoy! As always, thanks for reading!

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