Posted by: Bonnie & Hans | December 26, 2010

Christmas in Shungnak

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.

Bering Air--10:30 am

Welcome to Shungnak

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.)

Meeting the dogs

Hitching up

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.

All-men song (Silent Night)

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.

Margaret knitted HC yarn socks for Christmas.

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.

Merry Christmas from the Arctic!



  1. Merry Christmas you three! It was wonderful to read your blog and to see Hans C. The videos are fantastic! I am so jealous of the dog sled ride. We miss you a lot. It was about 85 degrees warmer here yesterday than it was there. Have a wonderful time during the rest of your visit together. Love from Heidi and Dick in Sequim.

  2. The pictures and video were great.We enjoyed seeing Hans C on the sled. Wish you were here for a game night!

  3. Loving the videos!

  4. Hey! Merry Christmas and thanks for your posts. I remember Hans C at driving-bow height on the sled in McGrath! Sure glad he got his ride – what good fun. All well here in the banana belt. Beth’s mom and Charles-the-younger with us. A full house. Played Pictionary Christmas night!
    Safe and continuous travels home, Hans C.

  5. As usual I truly enjoy your blog. Just wish I could also be there in person to see this winter wonderland. Hope Hans C has a less eventful trip back to the lower 48. Happy New Year!

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