Snowshoes and SnowCanoes

After school dismissed today, everyone hustled to the spring carnival. I watched the start of the men’s four-mile snowshoe race with a few other teachers. Five of my kids crammed themselves onto a four-wheeler and watched for a while, then took off to sell raffle tickets. I bought two for a moose hide.DSC02114We waited for a while, but soon realized that the pie-eating contest wasn’t going to start until the race ended. It takes a while to go four miles on snowshoes, so we headed home for a snack. The way things unfolded, we missed the pie-eating contest and the baby contest altogether, but it was well worth it. Three of us hiked out to Big Lake and checked out one of the islands.

DSC02121I even found time for a paddle!

DSC02129I swear I’ll make it to more of carnival tomorrow, and I promise I’ll take pictures at the princess coronation on Friday. I’m being bold and heading out to the dance now. I’m going to hide in the back so nobody asks me to dance, unless it’s a square dance, in which case I’ll tear it up. Who knows?

Two hours later:

DSC02137Athabascans fiddle like folks in the Appalachians. I danced once with an elderly fellow who wore a necklace of bear’s teeth and caribou legskin moccasins. He told me that his sister had made them for him before she passed away. He also had on a particular sort of hat that I’ve seen here before, a slouchy black cap with a white bow on the front. He came up to about my nose, and his eyes disappeared when he smiled.

The second dance seemed to last forever: it was a line dance, but it wasn’t called like contra, so I felt pretty clueless at first. There were five couples, and one led. The pattern wasn’t too complicated, which made it easy to follow but not too interesting to dance. There was a lot of bopping in place, waiting to swing someone down the line, which was good because it went on for so long that I had to keep running to the seat where I’d stashed my stuff to strip off more layers.

As I was leaving, a fourteen-year-old girl I know was demanding they do a square dance next and grinning. Maybe I should have stayed, but it’s late and there’s school tomorrow. I walked home in my t-shirt, sweating from the long dance and giggling at the dancing aurora. Carnival is a good time.

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