Hans C was above the Arctic Circle for this Christmas; 24 years since the last time. He arrived on Christmas Eve, a day later than planned due to weather in Nome and Kotzebue that delayed his flight. Bonus: a night in the Kotzebue hotel. Unbonus: $199 room.
It was warm. Only ten below zero and no wind, so we decided to go for a dog run. (We are taking care of the Kobuk teachers’ 12-dog team over break.)
So, Hans C got his wish, to run dogs while he was here. The team is well trained and in good shape; a pleasure to run. Hans said it was like riding a bike; you don’t forget how (either that or the dogs are very forgiving and took pity on an old guy).
After that, we went to the church for the community Christmas program; this year’s was rather short at just over two hours. That was followed by passing out presents. It’s a tradition here that everyone brings all their gifts to the church. There was a huge pile of presents that spread from under the tree in a huge mound. Four men were reading off the tags and another eight people were hand delivering the packages to the intended recipients. That lasted another two hours. The Christmas Eve gathering at the church is one thing that hasn’t changed much at all since we left. Nice.
On Christmas Day the temperature started to drop. We had a group over for turkey dinner and then went to the church for the community feast. We talked to Anna on the phone, emailed, texted, and even Skyped which were all good, but definitely nowhere near as good as if she could have been here with us.
Today we woke to -34. Not as good as -40 or lower, but good enough for…
Hans C was able to meet Margaret; they share the same Eskimo name.
It looks like it will stay cold until Hans C leaves on Wednesday. We’ll see if he wants to do any more mushing. If not, he can always join us as we go out twice a day to feed dogs.