Wednesday, August 18, 2010


The last few weeks of the season our crew worked on another DOT project just south of Fairbanks, as well worked on a hiking trail in Girdwood. I was excited for a project near Fairbanks because it meant another beautiful roadtrip to an area I hadn't been yet, and it meant I'd be able to go the farthest North I've ever been. It was also a relief for the crew to be near a big city where cell service, laundry, grocery stores, etc. were readily available, after spending the previous 4 weeks in incredibly remote places. Fairbanks has some beautiful surrounding areas but nothing about the town itself interested me. We did have a chance to attend WEIO, World Eskimo-Indian Olympics, and that was a really neat experience. People from villages all over Alaska come to Fairbanks to compete in events such as ear pull (two people stand face to face with a rubber band around each of their ears and pull backwards until someone gives up- blood and tears are usually shed). Another event is called the 4 man carry where each contestant has four 150-170 lb people hand around their necks and they compete for who can walk the furthest before dropping the 4 men. This event was created in honor of the strength it takes the hunters to bring back a moose, caribou, seal, etc. after a successful kill. There are some very interesting (and HARD) competitions at WEIO to demonstrate endurance, pain tolerance, and strength. Very fun cultural event to attend! 

Working on trails in Girdwood for the last two weeks was awesome. It was such a great way to end our season, being out in the woods rather than on the side of the highway or pulling invasive weeds. We fixed up the Beaver Pond Trail by building a few walkways over streams and widening the trail corrider so visibilty was improved. It was really satisfying work and it was great to work for such a fun town and community.

So now all the youth corps members have graduated and returned home for school or work. We had a wonderful graduation ceremony for everyone that completed the season with a beautiful slideshow that captured all the hard work we completed and the millions of laughs we all shared this summer. It was sad to see them say good bye, but I know the memories of this summer will live on forever.

 WEIO One foot high kick event. Whoever can kick the ball at the tallest height and land with only their one hand and foot on the ground wins! This event is based off a signal the natives use while seal hunting to signal back to the village that they need assistance in bringing in a kill.

Blanket toss event, based on the blanket toss eskimos do for visibility in order to look out for whales to hunt. 
Beaver Pond Trail before we started work.

Beaver Pond Trail after our work- nice open corridor so no one surprises any bears and hikers don't get stabbed by Devil's Club and other spiky plants! 

Crew member, Kim, and I after completing the little flat bridge for bikers.

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