More winter photos and snowshoeing

Dec 16, 2012 | 0 comments

This week I’ve gotten out to explore a couple times since we still don’t have enough snow to close off all the roads, so I thought I’d post some pictures.
Yep. That’s a negative-20.
Heading west out of town

These signs are on all the roads out of town

Fox (?) tracks found while snowshoeing

On a -17 degree day, frozen rivers were steaming!

Sunset over the outskirts of town

Less-frozen parts of the sea ice were steaming

On Friday I got to go with one of the rangers to the elementary school to help out with a program. Originally the plan was to take the kids snowshoeing since most children here have never done it before (go figure!), if it was warm enough. In Nome, “warm enough” is defined as -20 degrees or above. Ha! Well, Friday turned out to be one of the coldest days of the week so we brought the snowshoes just in case but assumed we would be staying inside. I didn’t even bother to put on my snow gear.

However, when we arrived, the temperature had risen to about -17, deemed safe to go outdoors. The kids all had their snow gear and were stoked to get outside, so after a briefing on snowshoe etiquette, we got them prepped and braved the cold, ourselves, to take them out to a nearby field.

5th Graders trying out their snowshoes for the first time

Two lessons learned: 1) It takes about a half hour to get sixteen 10-year-olds in snowshoes, and 2) always be prepared!  I ended up standing out in the tundra in -17 degrees just wearing my hiking shoes, jeans, and a coat for about 45 minutes. Both my legs were completely numb on the walk back and it took me the entire rest of the day and night to finally feel warm again.

A really great group of kids!

The kids absolutely loved it though, and they were a great group. It was very interesting to see what it’s like to be a kid out here; there was a very broad spectrum of abilities, experience, and personalities in the class, but they were all quite smart and had a lot of local knowledge. Hopefully we’ll be able to take them  out again in the spring when it warms up above 0 again! 🙂


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