Happy Independence Day!

We started the day with the whole group in the shop, working together to finish the cutting, drilling, and bolting of the four skis that will support our base. We finished the skis with a coat of clear stain, to provide some waterproofing, and left them to dry so they will be ready for installing the sled runners tomorrow morning.

Finished skis await installation of the plastic sled runners.

After a late brunch, we headed downtown for the Barrow Independence Day celebrations, which included a parade, games, a 'marathon' (actually six miles for women and nine for men), the Miss Top of the World pageant, and all manner of food, prizes, and people. Some of the students participated in the gunnysack race and won cash when they placed in the top three. Anu, evening counselor Frank, and I all raced in the marathon, and all of us placed! Lots of fun had by all.

Parade float, with passengers throwing candy to the crowds.

Silly celebratory style.... fake 'staches and freedom shades!

The beach next to the games area was lively in the warmest sun we've had yet in Barrow, so we headed down to check it out. Despite the ice floating just offshore, a few of us were inspired to jump in and give the polar bear plunge a try. Refreshing!

Beach time in Barrow.

Beach time in Barrow.

Nick returning from his icy bath.

Geoffrey and I take our turn swimming out to touch the ice.

Our evening culminated in attending the Eskimo dancing event at the elementary school. Every age group got a chance to come to the floor and dance to the rhythm of the drums. It was an excellent end to a great day celebrating America, Alaska, and the wonderful diversity of culture they contain.