Nordic Skating: Selawik to Kotzebue
Roman wrote up some notes in detail.
I’ve been anxious to see Northwest Alaska, it has always fascinated me. The true arctic, land of the wooly mammoth. I got to visit Kotzebue, Noatak, and Kivilana as one of the Nana Nordic volunteers, which left me with a sense that that land would be very hard to travel on foot. Skis would be good, skates would be better! With Alaska seriously snow-deprived, I started looking into a frequent-flier mile trip to Kotz. My first thought was to skate from Noatak back to Kotzebue because I really liked the village of Noatak. But Timm Nelson told me the river was still open. Seth Kantner, in Kotz, suggested Selawik Lake, so that’s where we headed. Roman Dial had only been on skates once, but was hooked.
The sun was 3 degrees above the horizon at its highest. We travelled 60 miles the first day, never taking off the skates. Day two was 20 miles of ice, then 20 miles on a snowmachine track to town. The roads in Kotz were covered with a sheen of ice from freezing rain. We were able to skate the road, right over the double yellow line, up and over a bridge, it was so cool!