Tuesday, May 10, 2011


Saturday morning, we were lazing around, when a neighbor came a knocking on our door to tell us that the ice was moving! We ran outside to check it out, because this is the best entertainment we've had around here for months! It was moving indeed, in big sheets, quietly gliding along, occasionally bumping into each other. Before long it got jammed up, so we went back home, but kept an eye out the window. A few hours later it started moving again, and this time it was much more dramatic. Big chunks easily 20 inches thick were heaving out on top of other chunks, crushing and grinding away! It looked like a glacier moving in super fast forward. As the day progressed, the ice would get jammed up and then re-start, and the water level would rise and fall a foot or two. Everyone was on high alert, as a flooding could start in a couple minute's time. People were constantly calling up and down the river, asking if the ice at Red Devil, Crooked Creek and Aniak had started moving. (yes, no and no!) This year is prime conditions for some extreme flooding, as the mini break-up in the fall resulted in some super thick ice in Aniak that didn't appear to be breaking any time soon. This means that the water will back up above Aniak, and it has done so. The village of Crooked Creek is getting terrible flooding, with several houses completely underwater. When the ice does give way in Aniak, the suction will likely cause more devastation as huge icebergs plow back to the river in Crooked Creek and crash down through Aniak. We are probably safe up here, since the ice has moved at Red Devil. It's unlikely to cause problems this far up, though nobody will say that we are in the clear for sure. Sunday and today saw more ice moving along, and water levels rising a couple feet, but not enough to get any one's houses wet. Now the ice has significantly thinned out, and the water has dropped a fair amount. Everyone is getting all eager to get their boats launched so that they can go snag driftwood. Villages that are without forests buy cords of wood and I'm told you can make a decent penny by snagging whatever comes floating by.

Here's our first views of the ice breaking up. Long sheets that are fairly calmly moving. 
A little later, big sheets of ice had been shoved up on shore.
these ice chunks were shoved up like they were packing peanuts

The ice is mostly frozen in beautiful long thin lines. This is a piece that shattered when we dropped a log on it. 
Julia was enthralled with the ice moving. 

Dave flew up with Taylor to get an aerial view.

On Friday, we had the Graduation ceremony at the school. Two of Dave's kids got diplomas. We seemed pretty sure that one of them would pass, but the other one was cutting things pretty close. To graduate, students have to pass a state test, and the score of one student reflected that the student might not have been trying too hard on previous tests. Decorating the gym was a major undertaking by the families of the graduates. They spent three days getting it spruced up! The graduation ceremony was followed by a potluck and then a dance. Like most dances, it was a bit slow to start. Nobody wanted to be the first one out there. The little kids had a great time running around though. Julia's bedtime took her down before the dance really got going, so I missed that fun.

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