Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Over the River and through the Woods

What an awesome Sunday School Class I've been blessed to be part of. We had a fantastic canoe  trip with 20 ladies and a couple of token men (who provided emergency back up). Twenty ladies loaded up into canoes and kayaks for a 13 mile float trip.
Again I'm photographer and am not in the pics. The lady with the red life jacket is Wanda. Babs from the Tok Mission Center is I center and Lynne on the other side. Notice the Alaskan ladies in sandals or water shoes. The water temp is about 36 degrees. The water on Clearwater River is crystal clear showing submerged rocks of many colors.

The rapid flowing current turned over one of the canoes right off the dock. The women were soaked and cold, but okay. They were given a ride home to change clothes and warm up.
Wanda, my paddling partner is deaf. What a challenge to keep the canoe on course! We made a brief shore stop. The shore is lined with huge spruce and willows. We saw an osprey, a bald eagle landing on its nest and several "V"s of geese.

Eight miles down the Clearwater, the river joined the murky, silted Tanana River which was braided through gravel bars and lined with sweepers (fallen trees that cause an undertow in the swift current.
The wind picked up to 20 MPH wiwth gust up to 40. We struggled to enter a stream that was flowing from the Clearwater Lake. Paddling against the current and into the wind, Wanda and I gladly accepted a tow. So did the canoe on either side of the flat bottomed motor boat.
Alan and Babs Dial, the missionaries from Tok pose with their two adopted sons from Africa.
Babs and Alan have several ministries to the local (within 100 miles or so) of Tok. They house and sponsor mission teams from the lower 48 and have had an exhausting summer.

I accompanied Babs and others to one of the villages to contribute to a pot luck. The Native gentleman is preparing for a memorial potlatch in honor of his parents, his wife and his two adult children who have recently passed away.
He is holding some of the blankets donated to the potlatch.

Some of the elders were instructing the youngsters in Native songs, dance and drumming. I think the boys are dancing and chanting to a hunting song.

We visited a Native cemetery. The spirit houses and decorated fences are testimony to the influence of the early Russian settlers.

I don't know the family's personal significance of the end of the trail symbol over the American flag. Someone suggested that the person buried here had been in military service. This was his last resting place, the end of the trail.
Summer is rapidly coming to a close. Last Sunday we hosted a church wide picnic at the camp with about 80 adults and numerous children (they didn't slow down long enough to count). While the adults ate and visited, the kids ate and played in the rain.
Monday early we traveled 350 miles, 7+ hours from Delta to Wasilla. I'm at the public library in Wasilla sending this blog and enjoying a beautiful sunny day. Later we'll be going to Anchorage, then back to the camp to drain water lines, close up the camp and prepare for winter.

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