Posted by: Bonnie & Hans | August 15, 2011

Reverse Migration

In May, just as the animals were coming out of hibernation and the birds were beginning their northerly migration, we headed south against the flow of wild creatures and hordes of campers and RVs. Driving from Anchorage to Seattle via Fairbanks we were treated to a beautiful view of Denali.

Hard to believe it's 40 miles away

Once we crossed the Canadian border, we were treated to another amazing sight.

Unusual ice formation

Ice "bowls" - 18 inches in diameter

Andy Goldsworthy-esque

All the way across the lake

We didn’t see anything like it on the rest of the drive down, and haven’t found anyone who has ever seen anything like it. Back here in Shungnak, elders we’ve showed the photos to have never observed anything similar or remembered stories of this phenomenon. Theories?

After a summer filled with visiting family and friends, we began our migration back to Alaska on July 22. Six days of driving and 2700 miles later, we began the ritual of shopping, sorting, packing and mailing everything we’d need for the next nine months.

Car full of shopping

Hans; master packer

Anchorage Airport Post Office - Open 24 hours; Oh yeah!

Our new post office friends

Arriving back in the village we were greeted with the sweet sound of “welcome home”. The past two weeks have been filled with visiting, getting our classrooms set up for another year and catching up on what we missed during our absence.

Home sweet home

The blueberries are ready for picking.

Arctic cotton

Summer green is still here, but with the return of the salmon will come the reds of fall.

The fireweed here has almost topped out; a sure sign that the school migration is about to commence.



  1. Your pictures look like post cards. So what do you think created those ice bowl?. How lucky you were to see them. Hope you have a great school year! Alaska sure does look beautiful this time of year.

  2. Hey! I’ve been waiting for the next blog post and here it is. Quite exciting to think you’ve got another year of teaching ahead of you. It’s a beautiful, sunny day in Seattle today. Sending you much love. Anna B.

  3. I’m jealous of the berries! We are just getting summer weather now.
    Stay warm!

  4. Glad to see you back on here. Have been hoping to see news here again. Did you get to see your mom this summer? Think of her often and wonder how she is doing. My husband was in Dyersville hosp. last summer and we met her then. Sold you some raffle tickets for Delhi Lions Pride Day!!!! Thanks so much for buying them!

    Bobbie Schuster

  5. Welcome back (to Alaska and here) guys! Busy days. The weird ice formations make me think of tracks…but of what? I’ve never seen them melt out quite like that but certainly seen some odd track shapes at breakup. However, you’ve got folks there with much more experience than I! Maybe you should ask Ned Rozell in Fbks.
    Happy start to the school year! We start tomorrow – high school – again!

  6. Hi again, Hated to see you go, but happy you are “home”. Once again I can look forewars to the weekly blog. Have you learned any thing about the wierd ice formations?

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