On The Air

We actually have a radio station right here in Unalakleet, Alaska! The KNSA studio sits on the edge of the Bering Sea and broadcasts in a way that most folks outside of the village might think is quite unique. Having very limited hours of local programming, the station simulcasts KDLG out of Dillingham, 350 miles away. Hearing want-ads and advertisements for a place that is a world away (16 hours by plane, because you have to go through Anchorage to get there) may seem a bit odd. 
However, the real fun starts when Open Line airs at 11am on weekdays. Open Line is a program where listeners from anywhere in the world can call an 800-number to leave a live message for someone in the KDLG/KNSA listening area. Usually, it’s locals wishing happy birthday to one another or summertime shout-outs to fisherman out on boats in the Bering Sea and Bristol Bay areas. You can listen to recorded shows at You have to hear it to believe it! I me…

Oil Tank Refill Adventure

So, Gregg left early to go Caribou hunting this morning and I went back to bed after he left. When I got up later, the cabin was cold. I checked and the heating oil was out! We knew it was getting low so we had a 5 gallon can of it to pour into the reserve tank, but Gregg didn't want to do that until the big tank was completely out, so that he would know exactly how much oil we still had. So, of course, the tank runs dry this morning and I had to refill it with the 40 pound, 5 gallon can. First, I had to break trail through two feet of snow uphill to the tank, and brush the snow off of the top to find the entry point.
Then, I had to slide back down the snowy hill, get tools from his shop – a wrench, hammer, and chisel, go back up the hill with these tucked in my pockets, because I needed my hands to climb up the snowy slope. I finally got the cap off of the tank and then trudged/slid back down the hill to get the oil can. In order to get it up the hill, I had to swing it a couple …

Getting Ready

It’s been two years since Gregg’s been on a caribou hunt. They’ve been too far north to make the trip feasible. I squirt a nickel-size puddle of cocoa butter oil into my palm to rub on my hands before slipping on the yellow rubber gloves I use to wash dishes. The oil absorbs into my hands as I submerse the gloves into the wash water; it’s like having a spa treatment for my hands while I wash dishes.) The water has been heating on the oil stove for an hour and is almost boiling, perfect temp for washing dishes that practically dry themselves, but impossible for my bare hands to withstand.
This year, the caribou are closer. Word from a local pilot has it that there is one large herd of a hundred and several smaller groups just 50 miles north, near Shaktoolik. I always start with the silverware, letting it soak for a few minutes in the steaming tub of soapy water. The plastic is blistered around the inside of the yellowed tub a couple of inches from the top from the scalding dish water …


VRROOOMMMM! One one-thousand. Two one-thousand. Thr—VRROOOMMMM!
When the river became a racetrack this week, our quiet cabin sat on the front row. The world’s longest, toughest snowmobile race crosses 2,031 rugged Alaska miles from Anchorage to Fairbanks via Nome, along the Unalakleet River twice, on the way to and from the gold rush city.
This year, the race began last Sunday, February 18th, in Anchorage with 49 teams of two. The first team crossed the finish line in Fairbanks at noon today, February 24th, while I was writing this post. Less than half of the teams will finish the race due to injuries and mechanical problems.
There are checkpoints along the route approximately every 100 miles, sometimes nothing more than a tent and fuel that was air-dropped to the location months prior, and costs the racers up to $8 per gallon.
The Trail Class teams whizzed down the river Monday afternoon; one team even stopped to chat with Gregg as he was out checking his trapline. Then, the Pro te…