29 January 2012

Beer Brewing Apprentice(s)

I brewed my first beer today (with the great guidance of the Przybylskis)!
Recipe: "Old Wobbler" with honey, Mexican hibiscus, and citris peels.

And the boys... (Isaac & Henry). Mamma Sara was hiding.

I know this one's blurry, but Henry is too damn cute "footing" his food.

28 January 2012

Inspiring Woman

I am constantly amazed at the abilities of the human body.

That's all I've gotta say.

25 January 2012

Frequency Matters!

Why has the Internet been freaky lately?

What made them redirect all of those flights?

More Northern Lights?

It's the sun's recent (01-23-12) coronal mass ejection, which amplified the solar radiation more than any other time since September 2005.

You Tube has lots of videos.

24 January 2012

Strollin' Down Memory Lane (circa 1970-80s)

These photos make me think of my childhood. The blonde guy with the hat lived across the street from us when I was growing up, and his kids are close to my age. Richard established the neighborhood I grew up in, termed "Weird Acres" and it was on the outskirts of Love Valley, North Carolina. The Love Valley Rock Festival was there in 1970, which caused a lot of hippies to roll in and settle. Now, and when I was growing up, it's termed the "Cowboy Capital" a.k.a. Podunk Cow Paddy.

These were some of the hippies that my mom and step dad hung out with mostly. Yes, there really were more of them. Many were musicians and/or balloonists. I can recall counting once and there were about 30 musicians. They drank a lot... and smoked buckets (literally) of pot... and a few were hashers & who knows what other drugs. They tried to "hide" it from us kids... but we were sneaky. There wasn't any fighting that I can remember, and I don't remember any stupid-ness because of drugs either. Just people enjoying each other, having a good time, and making sure we kids were having good ol' fashion fun too (a.k.a. playing outside, getting dirty, and being imaginative).

Not too many were balloonists, but they worked with balloons in some way like building them (sewing envelopes, weaving baskets, fashioning burners), and if they didn't fly, they were likely to be part of a chase crew. Tracy Barnes moving into town changed the dynamic of aeronautics in Statesville, NC... and in some way the world, really. When my mom moved to NC from Boston at 18, she worked for The Balloon Works.

This is my step dad, Lewis. Apparently, he just chased down this run away horse.

Tracy (mentioned above) had two leopards - I forget the back story with this photo.

The left over hippies, circa 1980s. I remember several of these folks from my childhood. Lewis is to the right of these photos.

(All of these photos may have been taken by Ken Powers, the infamous photographer from "back in the day.")

P.S. This was a favorite pose for photos. (Look on the top row above.)

22 January 2012

32nd Kuskokwim 300 Results

(This first photo was taken by a K300 volunteer. The rest in this entry are mine.)

Rohn Buser is this year's winner of the 32nd Annual K300! His time? 41 hours, 12 minutes, and 2 seconds, finishing at 11:42 this morning. It was sunny and -51 F, with windchill, today when they were trotting in. All 10 of his dogs were in good condition and before talking to any press, Rohn made sure to give all of them a thankful pet.

His mother urged the crowd to cheer for him as he was coming down the shoot. Judy is one of the statewide mentors that works with our local school district, LKSD. She has two from her family in this race; her husband Martin has taken the K300 trophy fours years and was running in this race along with their 22 year old son, Rohn.

While Zach Fansler, the K300 manager, interviewed Rohn he asked how he and his father, choose dogs when they have them all in the same kennel (Happy Trails Kennel). Rohn replied, "Basically, we just take turns. He chooses one. I choose one."

John Baker, last year's Iditarod winner, came in second at 12:13 p.m. today.

Paul Gebhart was third, in at 12:29 p.m. He's last year's champ. I took a friend, Vicki, home & barely missed him in the shoot. But, when I got back to the river I just sat in the car at the finish line to watch Gebhart be interviewed & put his dogs away. I was so pampered sitting in the truck listening to the interview on the radio, as I watched through my windshield.

Richie Diehl from Aniak, last year's humanitarian award taker, came in 4th place, arriving at 1:42 with 12 dogs. He aspires to run the Iditarod next year.

It was nice to be able to stay updated about the race with the GPS tracker system, new this year. Otherwise, KYUK on the radio, official website, FaceBook pages, and headquarters were littered with updates. This has the two remaining mushers, of 16 total, Mike Williams Sr. (finished at 8:48 p.m.) and Isaac Underwood (scratched).

Tomorrow is the banquet where prizes will be given. Because I volunteered a four hour shift, they gave me a ticket to go. I'm excited to hear some of their trail stories.

21 January 2012

Bogus Creek & Akiak Dash Dog Race Results

Bogus Creek 150
Jennifer Peeks, who resides in Bethel, is the first woman ever to win this race! To boot, she was a rookie for this one too. (Jenn used to be the social worker for Nunapitchuk when I worked at the school there.)

Akiak Dash (~68 m.)
Ray Nose from Akiachak takes the win for the second year in a row.

(These two photos were stolen from the K300 official website. A volunteer took them.)

Sleep is for the Weak

12:30 a.m. - home
1:20 a.m. - phone
5:30 a.m. - dog outisde
6:00 a.m. - back to sleep
6:30 a.m. - alarm
7:00 a.m. - work until 3:00-4:00
12:00 p.m. - 4:00 a.m. - volunteering

Who needs sleep?

20 January 2012

K300 Sled Dog Race, Bethel, Alaska

K300 official website

The 32nd Annual Kuskokwim 300 sled dog race is tonight at 6:30pm, Bethel, Alaska time. Additionally, the Bogus Creek 150 and Akiak Dash races will kick off this weekend. For those of you unfamiliar, the K300 is a qualifying race for the Iditarod race that goes from Anchorage to Nome (1100 miles). A couple of mushers that will be here have already won the Iditarod (Lance Mackey, John Baker).

If you want to stay updated, you can visit the official website. This year the mushers will have GPS trackers, which should be fun to watch. Don't freak if you see them off trail, it happens.

You can call into headquarters at 907-543-3300 with questions or for updates. If you want to talk to me, I'll be volunteering there midnight to 4:00 a.m. Saturday night/Sunday morning. It's possible I'll extend my shift to 8:00 too.

Headquarters is open to the public. So, if you're in town come into the Long House to visit with us, see the leader board, buy raffle tickets (for $50,000), buy K300 paraphernalia, etc. Food donations are always welcomed too.

There's also a FaceBook page that will be updated with the local rumors.


K300 Sled Dog Race, Bethel, Alaska 2012 from Carey Steele on Vimeo.

This is all on the frozen Kuskokwim river, sometime betweek 6:30-7:00 p.m. Shot right when Lance Mackey was leaving. Just take these 18 seconds to bask in the sounds of excited dogs, snow machines, an announcer, spectators, passing cars, perhaps a river's sigh. No photo could communicate this unless you've been here.

14 January 2012

Temazcal in Teotitlan del Valle

As my friend and I lay here naked, Gloria switches our right sides with the green leafy branches. Josefina said that she and her mother’s sister-in-law had to walk up the mountain to collect them. They don’t have a car. Even if we offered, I don’t think they would have allowed us help.

An adjacent dome encases the radiant orange and red coals. Before we began, Josefina helped Gloria arrange the branches to bed the dirt floor of this mud and stone hut. Gloria’s face and arms illuminate because of the near coals. First, we wash with the small lavender soap. Gloria poured the warm water to rinse us.

Each time the switch hits Deanna’s body a wave of warm vapor floats my way. I bask in it. Likewise, when the leaves touch my side, I feel the sultry steam eddy around them, penetrate my skin, and lift away following the branches.

Seething volcanic stones protest as water is splashed on them to make our space warmer. Gloria isn’t used to this heat. Deanna and I have been trained with Alaskan-style maqiis.

We flip sides and bring our knees towards our stomachs, heads still towards the door. I am excited to feel the kiss of the leaves again. There is a definite rhythm - constant thumping and a precise halt. More thumping. Another halt. Intermittent splashing to tease those stones.

The floor of our bathhouse slants downward towards the door, just slightly. It is enough that when we sit up in the still humid bath that the blood rushing down makes us dizzy. Coupled with the cold air and trying to stand, despite my warm blanket and escort (and best efforts) I find myself reaching out for a wall to lean on. Just for a second.

Within minutes we reached our destination, a place to rest and equalize with the temperate night. Cooling off and letting the blood flow normalize. Time to just be.

Our guide, Norma, took her bath after us. So, we had time to regulate, get dressed, and chat. As she came in, the steam flowed from her face and hands. Everything else was covered by a blanket. Her eyes were mostly closed, as if she was sleep walking. She leaned against the back of the couch, smiling with rosette cheeks and steam laden glasses.

“How do you feel?”

“Like I just came out of the womb… a baby, warm and cared for,” she sighed.

Deanna also wrote a blog entry about this experience, A Ritual as Old as Time, which will fill in some of the gaps from this narrative.

Zapotec Temazcal, The Traditional Mexican Sweat Bath

08 January 2012

Bethel = Home

Upon returning to Bethel it was -20 with no wind. I just left Teotitlan del Valle, Mexico where it was 70, remember? The trees were encrusted with the hoarfrost and I needed to get used to the cold again, so Bakes and I went out for a stroll.

(My camera battery died because of the cold so I only got a few photos.)

03 January 2012

01 January 2012


Each photo has a haiku. I don't know if this is how haikus are supposed to work. But, I like to make one complete sentence in the three lines, sometimes two.