Posted by: Bonnie & Hans | September 20, 2015

Not Exactly Roughing It

For those of you who have been curious about where we live, this blog is for you.

Like many districts, there’s a teacher shortage here, which is becoming more and more apparent. In an effort to attract and retain teachers, many districts have made a concerted effort over the years to make affordable, modern housing available.

Kobuk1An aerial view of Kobuk. It’s never hard to find the school in the villages! Four of our six staff live in the two units at lower left. The other two live in the old clinic building (silver roof, left center, next to satellite dish )


Ashley and Corrine made the beautiful swing on the deck.

Ours is the converted portable on the right. The tall building in the background is the school gym. (Ashley and Corrine made the beautiful swing on the deck)

Before the new addition and gym were built, these two units were portable classrooms, hence their close proximity to the school. Apparently these prefabricated units came up river on barges as intact halves and were assembled on their raised foundations at the marriage line. It would have been interesting to watch these come off the barge and be maneuvered into place.


This unit is split down the middle the long way, making two, narrow, studio/one bedroom apartments. The high school teacher lives on the far side, facing the playground, and the 3rd – 5th  grade teacher lives on this side, facing the mountains.



A view of our kitchen from the dining area table: electric range, fridge (complete with your photos!), kitchen sink with hot and cold running water, “Nash’s Organic Produce” poster – not unlike our Sequim kitchen, minus the dishwasher. No window over the sink, so pictures of Hurricane Ridge, Skagit Valley tulips, and bicycle photos give us something to look at as we do dishes! If you were to look out the window you’d see the airport apron with the mountains in the background. The double-tiered tank by the window is the water filter.



View from the dining room area into the living room. Left: “Anna Plant”, flat-screen TV, Bonnie’s fat bike on the rug. The doorway leads to the “guest room”. There’s a hallway to the right of the sofa leading to the laundry room (yes, washer/dryer), our bedroom, and the bathroom. Marla’s wall hangings add beauty and color, calendar keeps us connected with family. (Note programmable thermostat above sofa and baseboard heaters, lower left. Wifi router – though intermittent – hanging from cabinet). Though we definitely have the most space and nicest of the four apartments, as you can see, the facilities and maintenance people did a pretty amazing job transforming these classrooms into living space!


Master bedroom showcasing Anna's

Master bedroom showcasing Anna’s “Pi Quilt” (her first quilt ever!) – our Christmas present in Shungnak in 2011.


All the conveniences: running water, flush toilet, full bath and shower.

All the conveniences: running water, flush toilet, full bath and shower.


photo 5(1)A far cry from the 16′ x 20′ cabin in Shungnak! No chopping wood, no packing water, no wrestling with fuel oil drums, no trips to the outhouse; but alas, also no howling dogs, no Northern Lights surprises, no crackling wood in the woodstove, no smell of cooking dog pot, no hanging harnesses. (Painting by Spence Guerin)

Something gained, something lost….


Steps leading up to our apartment. Everything is up on stilts/risers to avoid the flooding during break-up. All the utilities run through the utilidor system under the buildings. Thanks to Ashley and Dan for the cool gate!

It’s nice to be next to the airport, especially on days like Saturday when the cross-country runners needed to get on an airplane to Kiana early in the morning and return that afternoon. In some villages the runways are several miles out of town, sometimes requiring long waits in all types of weather.


It is a bit disconcerting, however, when the Douglas DC4 pulls up just feet from the wall to off-load fuel oil and gas for the community, especially the first time!


When those four engines fire up the walls shake!

When those four engines fire up, the walls shake!


Never tire of the view from the deck...

Never tire of the view from the deck…

* Closing aside: This Wednesday marks the fall equinox. As we watch the sun diminishing in this hemisphere, we’ll be celebrating for Hans C’s first (and only) sunrise in six months. “Good morning, Hans C.!”



  1. Quite interesting! I sure didn’t picture Hans and Bonnie living is such top notch buildings!

  2. Thanks for showing us your housing. Great photos, and we especially like the one with the Douglas DC4 outside your window!

  3. I always enjoy reading the blog posts, but ESPECIALLY when the posts highlight everyday living. I can picture your daily existence there a little better now 🙂 Much love, Anna B.

  4. Very modern digs. Nice to see snow in the foothills. Salmon are running up the Dungeness River here lately.

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