An Arctic morning swathed in darkness. On December 21, the winter solstice, we have maybe two hours of twilight. It is 27 degrees below zero Fahrenheit, and my breath freezes to my eyelashes as I walk out to the airplane for my first flight of the day. I am going to the village of Wainwright, 86 miles southwest. Hoarfrost covers everything standing in the way of the wind, which is blowing very cold. Every antenna on the Cessna 207 bristles with whiteness, and the wings need to be swept clean of frost. The stars seem to emit coldness that stings what exposed skin I have. Even though I am dressed like a polar bear, the wind seems to pierce my face.
I am alone as I shuffle out to preflight my airplane. My snow pants swoosh together in rhythmic cadence, and my boots crunch on the hard-packed snow. My flashlight bobs as I walk in the silent darkness. I wonder what brought me back to this cold, desolate place. Why would anyone settle here in the first place? Are humans that desperate for space? My people, the Inupiat Eskimos, are certainly a hardy bunch; they have lived here for thousands of years. By ELLEN PANEOK.An excerpt from her book~.She was an Eskimo pioneer Alaska Pilot.Her story "WITH TRUSTING EYE'S BEHIND ME" is worthy of a read.......BRRR! Vin!!