Archive for February, 2008

Time for something new!!

Whats so new you ask?  Well, BACON CUPS of course!

Bacon Cups

I was stumbling last night and came across this.  I just had to share it.  I guess its something of a BLT minus the bread.  Anyway to see how these things are made check it out at

I hope you enjoy.  🙂

My List-O-Rama Entry

My List-O-Rama Entry.  The idea is to show off how much information you can add into your posts using Snap’s technology without forcing your users to leave your site.  Tell me what you think. The video and audio links will actually play in the snap preview window.

1. After living on the Bering Strait in Alaska for the last 4 years watching the Iditarod pass right through my village on their way to Nome,

2. I’ve learned to apreciate Cabela’s not only supporting the Iditarod, but also their winter product lines and pretty much keep their stocks in the green.

3. For those of you who haven’t heard of this famous dog race you should check out what Wikipedia has to offer on the subject.

4. You could also read Dogsong by Gary Paulsen. He has not only ran the race a few times, but his books are a great way to feel what its like to be on the cold isolated trail.

5. Now I don’t think WoW has a big Iditarod pull, but I was able to find something about an Arctic Wolf.

6. There aren’t many professional films out there on the Iditarod, but you may give this one a try.

7. If that doesn’t do it for you there are some semi-pro new media folks that have done some pretty nice work.

8. I was hard pressed to find a Myspace page for the few famous mushers I looked for, but I was able to find this person who seemed to have a genuine interest in the race, even though he was from the lower 48.

9. Now you can find a lot of Iditarod pictures over at Flickr, but

10. I implore you check out BSSD’s IditaProject site.

11. There you will not only find cool audio interviews with the mushers done by students as well as up to the minute race updates,

12. but you can also can subscribe to their many Iditarod photo and video gallery’s like this one.

I hope you all enjoyed this list of how’s service can give you quick glimpes as many different Iditarod related sites.

If you’d like to make your own list on your blog check out the details and you might get a cool Snap shirt out of the deal.

BWCACAST Anouncement!!

For those of you who haven’t heard…

I will be starting an IPTV show (Internet Television show) or if your more familiar with the term VideoPodcast.

The show will be a weekly trip into the Boundary Water Canoe Area (BWCA). Most trips will be just day trips in and out the same day, but once a month the show will be a multi-day camping trip. I entered the permit lottery back in January and was able to get all three permits that I wanted. One in May, June, and August.

I will be shooting the show in High Definition and viewers will be able to subscribe to a HD feed, a SD feed, a video ipod feed, or watch each episode embedded in the website. I will be looking for sponsors for the show to help pay for equipment, travel costs, and editing time. So if any of you are connected to any companies that are looking for a new way to advertise have them take a looks at the site in a couple months, I should have some content up by then.

I have built a website for this whole new endeavor. You can find it at

Here is a preview….


Tied in with the website I have created a forum (Discussion Board) for viewers to chat about the show or anything BWCA related.

There is a link off the main site to the “Discussions”, or you can go directly to it by using this link.

Here is a preview of the discussions site…

BWCACAST Discussions Preview

Feel free to sign up for an account. It has many features. I’ve set it up so when you log into the forum your also logged into the blog so your able to comment on both. In the forum you are able to upload a personal avatar that will be associated with all of your posts. I hope that people enjoy the show. Feel free to send me feed back on the site. I’ll need help looking for bugs and typos.

15 Hours

After a very nice couple days with Rick, Tiff, Keegan, and Rohnan I was on my way back to Minnesota. The day I left Alaska I helped Rick cut up meat for his dogs to snack on during the Iditarod. It was amazing. We cut up 600 pounds of meat, and that was only half of what his dogs will need for the race. I can’t imagine how they could eat that much, but I guess the calories they would be burning they’ll need that much going in.After we finished there we met Tiff and the boys in Wasilla for dinner. We sat and visited for a couple hours and had some tasty nachos and burgers. My flights back down to Minnesota were uneventful. I tried to sleep on each one so I wouldn’t be to sleepy when I got home.

I put together this animated giff showing my flights in the Bering Strait Region. Here are 21 of the 29 flights on my trip.


When I got back to Minnesota Erin and I went out for dinner to a fancy resturaunt. It was nice to spend some time with her after being away for almost 3 weeks. After dinner I crashed out and ended up sleeping for about 15 hours. I guess I needed it. I hope I’ll be able to sleep tonight and get back on the central time zone.

Mushing with Rick

Its been a ton of fun hanging out with the Holt family the last couple days. Today Tiff and I visited and spent time with the boys. Rick had to go to work. Rohnan and I made chocolate chip cookies, and Keegan was working on adding some audio to a stop motion animation he had made.

This evening Rick and I took his dogs out mushing. He was kind enough to set me up with my own team for the evening. I had 7 dogs lead by Mits, and Rick had about 10 dogs.


Rick also let me borrow his nice headlamp. It really can put out some light. It also has a box that you wear inside your coat on your chest. It has a big button on it that turns it on and off. All you need to do is hit your chest and it activates the light.

Me and the Team

you can see the little reflectors on the dogs harnesses behind me. We went out on a 20 mile run. It was amazing. The stars were out all over the sky. We were swiftly gliding our way through forests of black spruce and dropping down onto sloughs and racing across rivers. At one point we had stopped for a second and I had set “the hook” so the dogs wouldn’t take off until I was ready. I reached down to pull the hook and I bumped the button in my chest and the lamp went out. One thing about the headlamp is if its been running for a while it heats up, so when it gets turned off you need to let it cool down before you turn it on again or you might blow out the bulb. So I got to ride for a few minutes without any lights on. The stars were just beautiful. The dogs were just cruising down the trail and I was able to stand back on the runners and just enjoy the experience.

[QUICKTIME 640 490]

It was a great way to end the day. By the time we got done feeding the dogs when we got back, it was about 1:30 in the morning. Time for some sleep. 🙂 I hope that I will get the chance to do this again in the future. A great experience.

The Sun Is Back!!

The last couple days have been amazing all around the Seward Peninsula.  As you could see from yesterdays post the sun was shining up in Shishmaref.  Well this morning when I woke up in White Mountain the temps were around -30 and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky.  I decided to walk through town and shoot some video and then make my way up to the top of White Mountain to get some video of the sun rise.  As I walked through town it was fun to see the smoke rising out of each house.  It really looked cool on the cold morning.

White Mountain Smoke

I finally made it to the top of the mountain and as rewarded with a very beautiful sunrise.  Looking down over the river valley and the snow covered trees it really made for quite a picturesque scene.

White Mountain Sunrise

As you know I like to take self portraits, it can be quite difficult when the temperatures are as low as they were.  You can see the bottom of my ruff building up with frost from my breath, and the sun trying to poke through the top edge.

Frosty Ruff

Andy came and picked me up with the snowmachine and we stopped by one of the teachers houses to film what housing looks like in White Mountain.  As soon as we stepped in the door however the camera fogged right up.  They do fine out in the cold, and they do fine inside when they are warm, but when you take a cold camera inside you’ll need to wait about 10 – 15 minutes to let them warm up and defog.  So we left the camera inside and went to try out White Mountains new panorama kit.  When the school burned down last year their old panorama kit burned up in the fire.  So when Andy was making the order for the new one last spring I told him about the cool OneShot pano kit he could get from Kidan.  Its a half dome of optical mirroring glass that mounts directly onto the lens of the camera.  You take one photo and an entire 360 degree picture is taken.  You then take the photo into some software on your computer and it unwraps it and turns it into a normal pano picture or interactive Quicktime file.  Here is what the unit looks like.

One Shot

We didn’t read the instructions before we went out, so we didn’t have any really successful results, but I can tell you this.  The very little time that we did take our gloves off to assemble the pieces to the camera and take the photo our hands went completely numb.  Man it was cold.  As soon as I could I put my gloves back on and jammed my hands into the little pockets on the chest of my parka.  It usually warms them up pretty well in there, but they were so cold it took us going back to the teachers house to warm them back up.

Here is a shot of the village of White Mountain from the top of White Mountain.  🙂

White Mountain

While I was shooting the sunrise on top of the mountain I looked over and saw a moose across the river munching on some willows.  I was able to get some pretty good video of him for quite a while.  Not super super close, but sill good video.  Then when we went to pick up the pano kit I looked across the river and saw another moose in a different area.


Sorry my little camera doesn’t have a better zoom, but if it did I probably wouldn’t have had it with me because those cameras are too big to take with you all the time.  But you get the idea from this picture.

Hageland picked me up from White Mountain and flew me to Nome.  We flew really low to the ground and saw two herds of muskox, and a herd of reindeer.  It was pretty cool.   I tried to shoot some video of it with my little camera.  It came out alright, but we were going so fast, you only get a glimps of them.

Hageland then flew me from Nome to Stebbins, putting my flight total for this trip so far at 23.   I came back to Stebbins because when I stopped there at the beginning of my trip it was very blizzardy out, and I didn’t get very good video.  Today was a different story.  The sun was shining and the snow was glistening.  Stebbins has some land features in the area that are very noteworthy.  On one side of the village is a very large cliff.

Stebbins Cliff

On the other side is a hill that drops down into the ocean.  Very pretty.  So just like the sunrise in White Mountain I was able to catch the sunset in Stebbins.  Here it is about to drop down behind the frozen ocean on the horizon.

Stebbins Sunset

I’ll shoot a little more here tomorrow and then head to Unalakleet in the afternoon.  I’ll do some shooting there, stay the night, and then head down to Talkeetna to see the Holts.

Video Misconseptions

This morning I woke up to some pretty chilly weather in Wales, Alaska.  After a quick breakfast of oatmeal, I bundled up and headed out into the cold.  It was about -20 and a slight breeze that really bites at your nose and cheeks.  I hiked around town a bit and shot some video.  Wales has some impressive drifting going on.  The snow builds up all around the houses.  While I was out I snapped this picture of Razor Back Mountain.


By then my hands were getting quite cold.  I have to take my gloves off to film, and even though I have the fancy bag that encases the video camera the folks at the DO failed to send me any of the hand warmers that fit in pouches inside the bag.  So it helps cut down on the wind, but its not any warmer inside the bag.

WAA Ocean

Around 1:25 Doug landed to pick up a BSSD school board member and myself.  We were the last two on the plane filling all 9 seats.  It was a quick flight up to Shishmaref, following the coast all the way up.  We flew over a few caribou, and I kept my eyes pealed for Polar Bears.  Unfortunately we didn’t see any.

The reason the flight was so full going to Shishmaref was because one of the BSSD school board members wife had just died of cancer.  He was from Shish, so the rest of the board and a couple DO staff went up for the funeral.

When we landed in Shish, it was noticeable colder than Wales  I shot some video as I walked into town, and then got into the school to warm up and check the temp online.  Weather Underground had Shish at -29 with the wind chill at -49.  So it was pretty chilly.  I warmed up a bit and talked to Erin on the phone, then went out and shot some more around town.  I was able to get some video of the sun setting over the tundra.


I didn’t stay out long.  The cold was making my fingers go numb pretty quickly.  The metal tripod was also a bit troublesome.  If I ever touched it with my bare hands it kind of burned them with the cold.  Any moisture in your fingers freezes instantly so you get a little freezer burn wherever you touch.

After the funeral was over Doug flew back to Shish and picked us all back up.   We went back to Wales and dropped off that board member.  As we were coming in for our landing I noticed another plane in the sky.  It was dark out, but you could see its lights flashing.  I thought I saw another one near by it.  The Russian have been known to fly over to see if the U.S.A is on the ball as far as intercepting their illegal entry into our air space.  Just a little while ago we had to scramble some fighter jets from Elmendor Air Force base to intercept a Russian war plane over Wales.  So I was thinking to my self… Great we are going to be caught in the middle of some international mid air relations.  Turns out the one plane was actually an Evergreen helicopter that was making its last trip off of Little Diomede for the night, and the other lights were from Tin City an Air Force radar site just on the other side of some mountains from Wales.  They are the ones that catch the Russians flying over and call in the fighters.

So we left Wales and flew directly to White Mountain.  Andy Haviland (the White Mountain principal) was waiting to pick me up.  I tossed my bags into the sled and hopped on the back of the snowmachine and he dropped me off at one of the school buildings to crash in for the night.  White Mountain school burned down last year, so they are in the process of rebuilding.  They currently have 4 or 5 building scattered throughout the village that they hold class in.  Andy was saying how nice it was going to be to not have to get the kids all bundled up to go to lunch or to the gym.

I’ll shoot around here tomorrow until about 12:30 when I hop a plane to Nome, sit for about an hour and a half, then hop a plane to Stebbins.  More to come on that tomorrow.  I hope the weather warms up a little bit.

OHH yeah the title of this post….

When its sunny out it looks great on video, but the viewers have no idea that its flipping cold out.  When its overcast and gray out, it doesn’t look that great on video, but its a lot warmer out.  So showing off these to hire potential teachers.  They are going to find out pretty quickly that the beautiful days are really so cold you think twice about going out and enjoying them.  🙂

The Tripple Play

Sorry for not blogging yesterday.  I know I must have an insane amount of people following my blog now that I have been up dating on a daily basis.  I wouldn’t want to lose my readers because I let it lapse for a day.

Here is a photo from my morning flight out of Gambell to Nome.   The sun was just breaking over the horizon.

Plane Sunset

I was stuck in Nome again yesterday.  Bering Air canceled their flight out to Brevig Mission.  I guess the weather was marginal, but I think the real reason was the fact that there were only two passengers for the flight, which doesn’t bring in much money for the company.  So I stayed at the Aurora Inn again.  I was able to video skype with my lovely wife for a while.  It really is tough being away for so long.  Not to mention since I’m visiting people at most of the sites, its difficult to find time to get away to call her.  So it was nice to hang out even if we were 3000 miles apart.

This morning I was down at the Bering Air “terminal” at 9:00 because they said that check-in was at 9:15.  Turns out we didn’t actually leave until 10:15.  We flew to Teller and dropped of a state trooper, then took the quick jump over to Brevig Mission.  I didn’t have much time there.  You’ll see why as I continue this post.  So when I landed I got a ride to the school.  I stopped in to AnnMaire’s room and said hello to here, then I was out around town shooting video.  I shot the post office and the clinic, then I stopped over at CO and AnnMaire’s house.  I got to finally meet Harold.


CO and I visited for just a little bit, then I was on the run again.  I filmed one of the teacher housing units, and then borrowed one of the school snowmachines and took it across the frozen ocean 7 miles to Teller.  Just as I pulled into teller the right ski broke free of the tie rod and started to spin around.  As I pulled into the school it was facing backwards.  Not good.  I needed it to get back to Brevig.


So I let Jay Thomas (the Teller principal) know about my situation and he got the school maintenance guy working on a solution.  I went around Teller and shot some video.  The post office and some shots around town.  I even got a few seconds of Joe Garney mushing through town.  He is a local Iditarod Legend.  I got back to the school and the maintenance guy was nowhere to be found.  I waited and waited and waited, and finally really needed to get going.  So Jay tried to jam a stick between the two skies and then tie the tips of the skies together hoping that the stick and rope would hold the broken ski on track with the good ski.  Well, I got all bundled up for the ride back and got all of 4 feet and the stick popped out and the ski was sideways again.  Just as I was working on jamming it back in there and thinking how this so was not going to work the maintenance guy showed up.  He had been looking all over town and finally had found an old broken down machine and “borrowed” the part off of it that we needed.  It only took him a couple of minutes to change out the part, and I was on my way.

I got back to Brevig and had about 30 minutes to visit with CO and AnnMaire at their house before Bering Air came to get me again.  I was on my way to Wales.  The state trooper that was on my morning flight was on there again.  She was on her way back to Nome.  As we approached Wales you could tell that it was covered in clouds.  I snapped a couple pictures of them out the window.  They were very wispy which told us there was some decent wind blowing around out there.


It really hard to tell from the photo because the sun was so bright.  Wales is known for its crazy winds.  They are right on the tip of the Seward Peninsula and the arctic winds blowing out of the north have little to slow them down as they race over the ice pack.

We landed just fine and found that the clouds were pretty high of the ground.  I quickly shot some video of Razor Back Mountain, and of the setting sun nestled in the clouds over the frozen ocean.  Then took this self portrait before hopping on the snowmachine for my ride into town.

Wales Set

I shot some more video around the town of Wales and then stopped into the school.  Craig Probts is the principal here and a very nice guy.  I will be staying at his place this evening.  We chatted a bit and then I gave Erin a call on the phone.  She is up at home this weekend visiting with her dad and April.  I guess the girls are going to run up to Duluth tomorrow.  I hope they have a good time.

I check the BSSD Travel iCal (a calendar subscription that displays all BSSD travel for each day)  I found that once again Teresa had worked her magic and has me flying on Doug (the BSSD pilot/plane) from Wales to Shishmarf tomorrow afternoon, then from Shishmarf to White Mountain tomorrow night.  This is really awesome.  I was so worried about how I was going to make Shishmaref work without having to stay for two nights there.  This will really help me out on the rest of my trip.  That puts me in White Mountain on Sunday, and I am basically back on my original time line.  I should be able to make it down to see the Holts as long as everything goes smoothly.  Keep your fingers crossed.