Entertainment

Deep Snow

Sunset in Hughes. Photo by Maggie Ambrose
Sunset in Hughes. Photo by Maggie Ambrose

My relative, Maggie Ambrose, from Hughes was reminiscing about her late dad, Lige Ambrose. I love reading her stories and photos. Maggie gave me permission to share her story on the Athabascan Woman Blog. 

Trail on the Koyukuk River in front of Hughes. Photo by Maggie Ambrose
Trail on the Koyukuk River in front of Hughes. Photo by Maggie Ambrose

One year, I followed my dad to his beaver sets down river after I bought my sled from UD. Dad had my old sled I bought from my brother, Jimmie. We were driving down and when we got to the flats where the lakes are, I got stuck. Lucky he kept looking back checking on me. He got me out.

We kept going and stopped at the beaver house. Nice weather…not even cold. I watched him and he work. Then, he looks around and tells me to go over and chop down the birch tree and bring it over to him. The birch trees were the bait for beavers. I looked where he pointed and there was no trail or nothing!! I was thinking, ‘Awe s***, I’m gonna go get stuck.’ So I took off and man there was so much snow. So I’m sailing over to the birch trees and stopped got off the snow go and sunk to below my waist. I chopped down the tree (a small one). I don’t remember how I pulled it to him, but I did it.

Maggie's snow machine is in front. Snow machines are the main form of transportation in the winter in many rural Alaskan communities. Photo by Maggie Ambrose
Maggie’s snow machine is in front. Snow machines are the main form of transportation in the winter in many rural Alaskan communities. Photo by Maggie Ambrose

I drove off the trail and didn’t get stuck. If he didn’t ask me to do that I would have never had the guts to go off the trail. I got stuck once outside of Hughes with the sled he was driving…back on hill side lake. It took me forever to dig to the ground and try get traction. I had my dog with me and I was pissed because he wouldn’t dig for me. Lol! He was more in the way making the snow fall back to where I was digging. Anyway, I remembered what my late brother Frank taught me, to put willows under the front and so I did that and I got out!!! Never did I try driving off the trail until dad told me too.

I remember getting stuck a few times with a snow machine in Bettles when I was a teenager. It is hard to get out when you get stuck in deep snow. Kudos to Maggie for being brave enough to drive through deep snow. Sometimes you’ve got no choice, but to get things done, especially when you are relying on trapping or getting wood. Thank you to Maggie for sharing her story!