Posted by: Bonnie & Hans | January 7, 2012

Moving 101:

This post is a little tardy chronologically, but since it’s new information, it may not matter.

This year, like last year, we shared a shop teacher with Ambler School. First semester of 2010-11 he taught in Ambler and spent the second semester in Shungnak. This year was just the reverse; he spent the first semester in Shungnak so, over Christmas Break, the District chartered a skyvan (in this case a Casa 212) to move his household and classroom materials back to Ambler.

Since the principal was gone and we were without a maintenance person, it fell on Hans to ensure the teacher’s stuff got out to the airport. Six sled-loads later we had it stacked on the runway apron…

Old Iowa adage: "How do you load two tons of fertilizer in a one-ton truck?"

In the meantime, one of the region’s dogmushers who had been working on the local housing project through the summer and fall was trying to get his dogs down to Noorvik. He was going to haul them down by snowmachine in this sled, but the trail was not through to Ambler or to Selawik; too soft and drifted in. So, when he heard there was a charter coming in, he checked to see if he could piggy-back on the load and get his dogs on, since the Casa 212 has a maximum payload capacity of 5,245 lbs. The pilots thought they could do it, weight-wise; it would all be a question of volume…

Pull up to the tail-ramp and unhitch...

Unload the straw bale and dogfood...

Get lots of help... and LIFT! (Guess who gets this corner)

* (Note the plastic bottom on the sled. It’s been slit and folded — out of one piece — to form the curve in the toboggan)

Dogs are in. Replace food and straw. Now the freight...

16 dogs, if we counted correctly…

Now all we need to do is load this and a four-wheeler...

and… (drumroll please)


Close the ramp. And now the question is…

Yes, it did.

Fortunately, it wasn’t as cold that day as it’s been recently, which may have made it a much more difficult job.

No caption necessary; speaks for itself

When we moved up here, we sent almost everything in cardboard boxes through the U.S. Postal Service. That’s still the cheapest, most reliable venue. Now we’ve noticed that many bush teachers buy the 18 gallon Rubbermaid-type tubs when they’re on sale at Home Depot-type stores for $5.00 each and use them as mailing containers. They can be zip-tied, used as storage or stacked empty, and reused.

There you have it: Moving 101.

As a post script, for those of you who are religious followers and may be interested, this is post number 100!!!  We hope you’ve enjoyed these posts and thank you for sharing in our excellent adventure.

Oh, yes, and Happy New Year!



  1. Wow! That was an amazing feat finding room for everything on the plane. The dogs appeared content and very well-behaved.

  2. Great post! Great photos! Great Scott, that’s freakin’ COLD!!!

  3. Wow! Post 100!…and it was a good one 🙂

    That was amazing packing. Stay warm and Happy New Year!

  4. Happy New Year!! When are you coming to SEQUIM?? We miss you!
    Pat Davis

  5. Happy New Year to you too, and two! Always an adventure! Makes my life seem so mundane and safe…..and, that is OK. Keep the posts coming! Warmth to you,

  6. Congratulations on #100! It was amazing to get all that stuff , especially the dogs, on one aircraft. Did the owner ride with his dogs? I must say Bully for those bush pilots! Elsie

  7. Fun pictures! I had my fifth graders look at the pictures after reading them some Gary Paulson stories about sled dog racing. Stay warm!

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