Unalakleet Chapter 1

Norton Sound from plane

Getting to Unalakleet
Getting there was interesting. Holding my luggage, I had to get on the scale. Having flown in small planes before I understood this was for weight and balance ratios. The little turboprop plane held maybe a dozen of us along with the hostess.

A middle aged, plump lady of native extraction, wearing a cheery smile, our stewardess helped me get my carry on up the steep, narrow ladder into the aircraft. The weightier types were put closer to the wings. It was a fantastic day for the flight, clear blue skies as far as the eye could see.

The portholes were a bit tiny for picture taking, but I did give it a try. In a little while, we will see if it worked. To offset a larger fellow, they moved what looked to be the patriarch of a native family headed home and two small granddaughters in the seats ahead of me.

He reached across the aisle to hold the smallest girl’s hand as we sped off down the runway. If this was their grandpa, he was clearly happy to be with the girls and headed home.

I had watched the little family group in the waiting area. Mom appeared to be a young woman in her twenties. But that is hard to determine sometimes. Native women tend to keep their good looks a little longer if they aren’t out in the weather much.

Touching down in Unalakleet we all went into the terminal. The day was quite beautiful and the temperature a few degrees warmer than at home. But, no cell reception. I halfway expected that, and when Maggie, the owner of Maggie’s Hotel didn’t turn up, one of the ladies at the ticket counter called her for me, and Maggie drove right over to pick me up.

Bless her; she gave me the grand tour of town. There wasn’t anywhere I couldn’t walk in fifteen minutes. I told her what I was doing, and she gave me some ideas on where to get the information I needed.

Her hotel was clean, neat and each room equipped with a single bed and private shower and toilet facilities. Being a long time Alaskan it would not have been a surprise to find a communal bathroom. Having my own was a pleasant surprise.

There was a communal kitchen. Other travelers had left various things in the kitchen, tea, salt and spices, and condiments. Since Maggie drove past the Alaska Commercial store, my first jaunt would be over to the grocery for a nukeable dinner of some sort.

A slight breeze off the ocean at that hour wasn’t a big surprise. I had expected this and dressed accordingly. Lots of All Terrain Vehicles buzzed around the place. And there were lots of people out walking at 5:00 at night. And almost everyone waved or nodded as we passed. A slight acknowledgment to one another and a stranger in their little community was heartwarming.

Back at the hotel with dinner, the granola bars in my bag would do for breakfast. I sat in the big communal Board Room as Maggie called it and settled in with a charged ereader to tackle my To Be Read list.

No phone, no internet and no noise. The place was quiet except for an occasional All Terrain Vehicle buzzing past on the street in front of the small shed. Tomorrow I would hope for another beautiful day for pictures. I planned to take another walk around and see what I could find. So far Unalakleet was more than I expected.

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