Rush Hour in Fort Yukon

life in a village

23 degrees. Snow depth 3.5 inches

The skies are our interstate, the Grand Caravan our favorite transport. Its cabin is spare and the seats are on the other side of cramped. Its aisle is not an inch more than 12 inches wide, one seat on the left and two on the right. If I swore, I would swear that I am always the last to board and the only seat left is the front one behind the copilots empty berth. Getting there is a trick. There are little labels on the control panel, warnings really, about what to do if the wings ice over. Already this fall I have traveled three times to Fairbanks on business. I love these flights, low over the earth so its beauty reaches upward and grabs you hard. I must take a hundred aerial photographs every time I go up. The flight to Fairbanks is one hour long, enough for some pictures and a catnap or two on the side.

Temperatures are on a steady decline.Last week in the 30’s, now in the 20’s. The air is drying out, maybe as a consequence of the cold, I am not sure. I dress right, comfortably cocooned in four layers: tee shirt, flannel shirt, shirt jacket and lined windbreaker. I turn up all my collars and slide on a neck gator. My woolly Pendleton rests on my head under my windbreaker’s hood. I have not yet broken out my snow pants and thermal underwear. I really don’t like thermal underwear because when I get to school I can’t take them off, and it can be quite warm inside our school. Snow pants are better because they fit over your jeans and can be easily removed.


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