Posted by: Bonnie & Hans | November 21, 2009

How Does Forty Below Sound?: Thousands Swarm to Grayling

We had some o-o-o-o-o’s and ahhh’s on last week’s twenty below temperature, so this week’s 40 below should get a standing ovation. The mercury went to -40 on Monday morning and stayed there all week. It would warm up to maybe -25 during the day, but we set records all along the Yukon for the coldest November temperatures since the Weather Service started keeping track in 1948.


We’re here as myth-busters to let you know that exposed flesh doesn’t freeze instantly at that temperature and your lungs don’t freeze either, but doors do.

School Door; right by Bonnie's room

Cold: close-up of crash bar

Nobody even considered sticking their tongue on the crash bar (or any metal). When it gets cold like this, you still go outside. You just dress for it.

Kindergarten Kids Heading Home

The kindergarten goes home daily at 1:00. They’re good at getting all dressed up by themselves quickly; just need a little help with tying their scarves.Think about us the next time you read Thomas’ Snowsuit.

Winter gear; functional and fashionable


The cold weather makes for nice blue and pink lighting and the trees all look like they’ve been flocked.

Ridge Behind Our House

The cold temperatures were just one sign that winter is on the way.

Pamplona may be famous for its running of the bulls…

Running of the Bulls in Pamplona

… but Grayling has the running of the eels.

Running of the Eels in Grayling

Migrating Lamprey: Swarm of Eels

We’d heard from downriver villagers that the eels were on the way. The run is very quick and only lasts a day or two. The men cut holes in the ice, scoop out the twisted masses of eels with nets, and haul them back to town in sleds and buckets. The eels are sold to restaurants in the states and also international markets like Korea and Japan.

Buckets Awaiting Transport

Eels in a Bucket

Here’s a link if you’re interested in more about the running of the eels:

Just like the eels, time for us to run. The high pressure system is supposed to move out tonight bringing warmer temperatures and snow…

Have a great Thanksgiving!



  1. Whoa didn’t think I’d be seeing anything about the running of the eels! Always good to get updates 🙂 Much love.

  2. Ann says “I love seeing your pictures!” We will check next time we have dinner together.

    Happy Thanksgiving
    Ann sends lots of love!

  3. Wow!!!Look at those eels. And to think that I thought a wiggley mass like that came only to France so they could make their famous boullabaisse. So what else do they catch to go in their stew or do they sell the whole lot? My friends in Fairbanks keep a hair dryer at the outside door. So what do you do? By the way, where do you get your electricity, water? Another blog subject.

  4. I can’t even utter a complaint about our 28 degree weather. Tell me what’s it like going from the Lavender Festival to the “Running of the eels”?
    Personally, I favor the taste of eels over lavender.
    Happy Holiday’s! We invited Hans over for Christmas but Ryan’s not sure what he’s going to do yet…..Bev

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