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It’s been a battle between high and low this winter in Pedro Bay. When winter arrived it stuck around for barely a week before a strong low pressure system came along and melted all of our white.
At that time the lake was starting to freeze around the bays and along the shorelines, but it wasn’t yet willing to succumb to ice, seeing as how all this 40-degree nonsense kept popping up. It wasn’t until December that a thick enough layer had formed and ice fishing was again a reality for the winter fishers of the village.
Since then, the alternating highs and lows have flocked to Pedro Bay and our snow has appeared and disappeared, fallen and melted, arrived and left just like clockwork.
Right now there is snow on the ground and, out there in the bay, under the snow there is a layer of ice over one foot thick. This gives me great consolation. A couple of days ago a plane landed on it. Several planes, as a matter of fact. This is part of Bush Alaska. I would love to be able to walk out my back door here at Edna’s Bay and walk down to the plane that is waiting out there on the ice; to carry my suitcase just down the hill and not to the van or the car that we had to borrow to get us up to the airport where we normally wait. And by airport I mean gravel landing strip, of course. There is a structure up there, but it isn’t a waiting room or anything. The bathroom is a pit toilet. It’s fine, but boarding a little plane outside your back door simply lends itself to excitement, to the real thrill.
The snow has taken over now though, so it will be more difficult, if not impossible, for planes to land on the lake. The window has closed. But if the pattern of highs and lows, valleys and troughs, continues as it has, we will see that ice again, exposed for the lake it really is, revealed after weeks or, more likely, mere days of its white snowy layer.