Friday, October 2, 2009

A Record Number Turn Out for the Salmon Run

"We were born to unite with our fellow men, and to join in community with the human race." ~Cicero

Ready, set, GO!!! And they were off sprinting, jogging and power walking from the start in front of the school toward the old airport! Men, women and children of all ages making the trek, some for the fun of it, some for the race time but all to encourage healthy lifestyles for our community! Off they raced, 1/2 an hour earlier than scheduled to give them a head start on the ominous clouds that were marching on to us from the Bering Sea. Meteorologists had been threatening to put a kibosh to our 1st Annual Salmon Run all week then confirmed in last night's forecast that which we'd all been dreading...the front was moving in like it or not and would be arriving for our race! In a last minute decision to outwit Grandfather Winter Sheri made an announcement over the VHF to the whole village (it's like a scanner but everyone has a CB and can talk over it to everyone else at the same time) many people have them in their homes, "We are starting early, We are going to beat this storm!" And we did! Over 120 finishers braved the beginnings of this winter's first major storm complete with winds, rains and cold temps. As one of my runners so eloquently put it during a particularly nasty training run in the rain earlier this cross country season, "We don't care about rain, we don't care about cold, we can run in anything, WE'RE YU'PIK!" I thought it was a point well said. So today we had courageous finishers of all ages and sizes. The Top 3 Male Finishers were all from our Cross Country Team (they got medals, I was proud) and 2 of the 3 Top Female Finishers where affiliated to our CC Team- 1st place being my lone girl runner's mom (obviously the apple didn't fall far from the tree;) and 2nd was assistant Coach Steph who trained with us all season! Mike finished the 5k strong in a notable 24:40 good enough for 9th place out of 50 some runners! Meanwhile I was running my own race: getting pictures, handing out bibs, stuffing goodie bags, and hauling crying toddlers into the gym to wait for their parents to finish:) Sheri even more sprinting her own race: handing out goodie bags, orchestrating start/finish/awards, administering 1st aid to skinned knees of crying children (is there a theme here, I promise most participants were not crying, at least that I'm aware of) corralling children, making announcements, and doing it all with her 5 month old in a Baby Bjorn swaddled to her chest! She is an inspiration to us all. She organized this entire event! Kudos Sheri!!!! You Rock Girl! Something to aspire too. Meanwhile outside the school the starting line dream team of Principal/Dog Musher/Jack of all Trades Eric, Bear Hunter by Weekend/High School Teacher by Week Tim, Potential Ansel Adams Competitor Photographer/5th Grade Teacher Jim, and Local Video Store Owner and Operator Sammie was hard at work starting the race, recording times, and getting everything on film. Our wild west Georgian Speech Path, Kevin was flying around on some one's four wheeler directing participants on the route which was well posted by two of our cc runners I had recruited earlier in the afternoon and sent out to mark the course. Unfortunately I forgot I had assigned them this task and they got back about 5 minutes after the start since it had be moved up! Apologizing profusely we sent them off running before they even figured out what had just happened. In the end a good time was had by all! Operation Salmon Run is declared a success! We celebrated by playing the first of weekly Friday staff vs. students volleyball scrimmages (students won). We've already had inquires of when the race will be next year...start planning your trip now I'm certain slots will fill up quickly;)

Only in Bush Alaska....
...Can you be at school and over hear a student comment, "Do you have room on your four wheeler?... Just let me grab my lap top." Then later that evening look out your living room window and watch speech pathologist pack his gun into into his backpack secured to a four wheeler.
...Does standard professional attire mean a clean pair of carharts, the newest school pride sports hooded sweatshirt, and mud boots.
...Is a camping size back pack substituted for a briefcase.
...Can you talk on a cell phone while emptying your honey bucket.
...Can you watch satellite TV after you make a trip up river in your boat to collect dry wood so you can fire up your steam outside to bathe.
...Do you have to stay to the far side of the road from the tundra or be blinded by tundra dust sweeping in from the mountains no matter which way ATV traffic is headed.
...Is there truly a four wheeler rush hour
...Does everyone have a boat instead of a car
...Are there no roads coming into to town thus no roads going out of town unless you are in an airplane.
...Can you send a package from the lower 48 to any address and as long as the receiver's and village's name are on it, it will get where its supposed to go...example: I recently told the customer service rep. we ordered sweatshirts from (who was in Indiana or somewhere) that my address was "123 Honey Bucket Lane". The shirts arrived last week. Principal Eric prefers "1234 Salmon Rowe". People get bored and clever therefore addresses get more and more creative (there may very well be an ongoing unspoken competition happening) to the amusement of the postmaster;)
...Does the barge make its last trip into port for the season carrying all the village's fuel for winter and get stuck for several weeks when they try a "new channel" forgetting that the tide goes out (coast guard eventually rescued them so they wouldn't have to wait it out til spring)!
...Can you can travel all year round by snow machine aka"snow go". Apparently tundra is as navigable as snow (we watched several zoom by the other day leaving tundra flying every which way behind them).
...Does everyone notify each other when the store gets a new shipment of fresh produce in or anything else that's really cool.

Friday Night Fish Fry
It's Pine Ridge, It's Wayside, It's Angler's...Nope, it's my house!!!! Mike fried up the fish. I added tater tots and veggies. We had regular ole' fish fry, not just for Wisconsin anymore. We hiked out to the beach several evenings this week trying to seize the day and the light (remember it's fading fast) since Mike is scheduled to depart Sunday evening. Here are some candids of the latest tundra excursions.
Ani in Action Tearing Around the Tundra (his favorite thing to do)
Seriously this is so hilarious to watch. I let him off the leash (he's become very obedient at returning when I call so I trust him now to run free) and ZING! He's gone, faster than a speeding bullet, looking more like a dash hound than a husky:) Leaping over tundra mounds, flying in circles around me then whizzing by and general running all around like a mad dog! I laugh just watching him.
"So don't sit around on your hands! No more dragging your feet! Clear the path for long-distance runners so no one will trip and fall, so no one will step in a hole and sprain an ankle. Help each other out. And run for it!" Hebrews 12:12


  1. Ani is so cute. That's just how my Nali acts when I let her out of the pen in the evenings. It's that sled dog blood - they love love love to run and pull! I'm definitely teaching Nali to SkiJor this year!... or maybe she will teach me!

  2. Oh fun bring her up here when you come! We'll all go skijoring together!

  3. Ani is so cute. It has been a great pleasure to travel AK with you. Thanks so much for all your postings. Your in my thoughts and prayers.
    Your kayaking friend from the frozen tundra of Hayward WI. L.O.L.

  4. Sonia! Hi, I miss you! Hope all is well in the Haywardian Frozen Tundra! Thanks for your company along the journey in AK! I appreciate it more than you know;) Much love, Rach