Athens friend and small dog lover Jon Dowker
from The Freestyle Connection BMX Team
said, "lets do some BMX shows in Alaska in February." Normally when I'm on the road doing BMX shows I end up in Alabama, Ohio, or something like that so Alaska sounded great. First day we were there we woke up and the temperature was -20. Never in my life have I ever felt cold like that but after a few days you learn to deal with it.
The task for Dowker and I was to perform at several small schools along the Yukon River in the Alaskan bush. Many of these schools had less than 15 kids and the communities were small as well with populations ranging from 70 - 1,000 people. No roads leading into these communities so the only way to get to them is by plane. Two bikes, PA system, food, clothing and 4 people filled up most of these small planes.
our ride from the airport
Many people view Alaska as the last frontier, but people have inhabited these areas for a long long time. Namely the people we were performing for the Athabaskan Natives. The Athabaskan who call the Yukon River home are famous for being some of the last native tribes to come in contact with whites. Whites came to this area in search of gold and furs and to this day this is still a major part of the economy. Hospitality and warm smiles are abundant in what seems like an endless wilderness along the river.
this is posted in a school
The way of life out in these remote and isolated areas is different than in the lower 48. First off there are no stores. You can't just go out and buy stuff so you have to plan. Many of the people still rely heavily on land for food. Moose and fish (especially salmon) are major parts of everyones diet. This way of life is somethings that is disappearing. People just go to the store and buy food and never think anything of it. We dont have to look a cow in the eye and kill it or cut a salmons head off to eat it. We have no idea how much work it takes to harvest your own food from the earth. This separates us greatly form every other animal on this earth.
The people and the land of the Yukon River are simply amazing. You can gain a lot form people who live and think on different from you and never has that been more evident to me then durring this trip. Many thanks must be handed out to Jon Dowker and Bob Hawkins. I love Alaska.
road back to civilization