Sunday, December 12, 2010

ice hiking

 The ice has finally made its grand appearance around Thursday and Friday. However, the students call it slush, but it's all ice to me.

 Our boardwalk is slowly being buried by the snow.

 Someone caught an oogruk (bearded seal), and they cut it all up on the boardwalk and let the blood drip off onto the snow.

 Sometimes Diomede reminds me of the Swiss Family Robinson's home, but instead of rope bridges and tree swings, the boardwalk steps connect all the homes.

Adorable puppy.

 Many of the natives here ferment their walrus meat for months. They keep them in barrels like the ones above.

The boardwalk is slowly getting covered by snow.

He was eating a candy necklace. 

 It was a really pretty day.

 Standing on the helipad.


 Someone on a boat.

 Christmas party at Sandra & Joe's apartment. We had chips, toffee, apples, and caramel!

 Sandra & Joe. Willis looming in the background... All three sporting their Island Living shirts!

 Our Christmas tree. Kind of sad. It's not like you can just run to the store to replace the broken string of Christmas lights. So you just do without.

 The humble abode.

 Sunset around 3:45 p.m.

 If you haven't looked at the webcam, you should. It's the view from our living room window.
Oh, and we put up Christmas lights!

 On Saturday Adrienne & I went hiking up to the top. We left as soon as the sun was up (about 12:00 p.m.) The whole journey took about three hours. We were going to borrow Willis' ice pick, but we decided against it. We regretted it later once we were closer to the top of the island though because the ice was impossible to break with our boots. So we gave up and went home after we couldn't get any higher.

 Bundled up.

 The mayor currently has my hood because she is sewing a polar bear ruff on it. I wish I had snow pants. I ordered some a month or so ago, and when they arrived, they were ginormous. So, I had to reorder...  So, I just layered for the hike. Base layer pants, jeans (not enough at all, but I survived). Regular socks, wool socks, Sorel boots. Long-sleeved shirt, big thick hoodie, down parka. Cotton gloves (i.e. fake gloves) and big giant thick arctic gloves. One Diomede toboggan hat and a scarf to cover my face.

 Kind of pathetic, but all will be better once I get my snow pants and hood back.

 On the way up, the sun began to rise.

 The village from midway up the island. It's amazing how small it seems once you step away to look at it.

 In a moment of exhilaration, I turned to Adrienne and said, "We live here. Can you believe that?"

 Looking towards the south. There were two boats that were out hunting seal, and as we hiked, we heard a gun shot every ten minutes or so.

 Towards the north.

 The sun peeked out, and the ice glistened and the snow turned gold.

 When we had to turn back because of the thick blue ice, we discovered that it was a lot easier to slide down on our butts. Truthfully though, I came back sore and bruised. For several stretches of the climb, we had to crawl on our knees, crouch between boulders, or walk on all fours. We had to break sheets of ice with our boots to get footholds. Because you are walking on rocks, ice, grass, and packed snow, you never know where you're stepping. What you think might be a steady rock actually ends up being a crack between two rocks. Several times we'd fall in the cracks between the rocks. One time both of Adrienne's legs got stuck in between two rocks, and she had to carefully maneuver herself out. Once I was trying to cross an icy slope that had no rocks I could cling to, and I started to slide down the side, but Adrienne grabbed my arm while I was hanging there about to slide and said, "This is just like Cliffhanger...right before he lets go and she dies." Thanks, Adrienne. Thanks.

What happened yesterday though was 100% the opposite of what happened in Cliffhanger, but still Adrienne should have known better to not say such a thing. Regardless, she pulled me up, and I didn't slide down.

 And then! We saw a fox! It was beautiful. It watched us as we made our way down the side of the island.

Here's a close-up.  As we went back down the island, we saw that the fox had been following us. His paw prints were right along our tracks. Sneaky fox.

Adrienne got the creative idea to pick up a piece of ice and put it in front of the sunrise (or sunset...both are the same when you only have four hours of light). So cool.

 You cannot imagine how quiet it is when you are that far away. Silence is all you hear, and then you remember that this is the way God made the world. Such beautiful silence.

 There are days I forget that I live on this island, which I attribute to human nature's inclination to take everything for granted. I can't take this for granted; I can't let that happen. If I forget the beauty around me, then I forget Christ.


Tacy & Stephen said...

beautiful post! i loved this line: "Silence is all you hear, and then you remember this is how God made the world. Such beautiful silence." Well said. Love the last line of the post, too. You do indeed live in a beautiful place Meredith.

Sandy said...

Beautiful! God's handiwork declares His glory!

Jessica Horton said...

WOW! It's beautiful there! SO JEALOUS! I want to come visit! Thanks for sharing all the amazing pictures :) It's so cool to see where you live. And glad you have SOME christmas lights even if some of them are broken! Can't wait to see you soon!