Sunday, August 23, 2009

Visit the Arctic Circle!

By Mrs. Yollis

This summer, my husband and I embarked on an adventurous fishing trip to the Arctic Circle! The Arctic Circle is one of the five major lines of latitude and is approximately 66 1/2 ˚ north of the Equator.

We flew out of Los Angeles and after many hours, arrived in Kobuk, Alaska.

Kobuk, a small Native American village of 100 Inupiat Eskimos, is 25 miles north of the Arctic Circle. Many of the villagers practice a traditional subsistence lifestyle of hunting, fishing, and gathering. In fact, many of the fish we caught were given to the villagers to freeze and use over the winter.

We were very close to Kobuk Valley National Park and Gates of the Arctic National Park.

Every spring and fall, the largest caribou herd in Alaska, the Western Arctic Caribou herd, migrates through this area. It would have been great to see them swim across the Kobuk River, but since it was summer, they were already north of where we were.

* * * * *

Our excellent river guide was named Alex, and he has lived in Kobuk his entire life. When Alex was a child, there were only three homes in Kobuk. Now there are over forty homes!

Alex had a lot of experience fishing, hunting, and trapping and was awarded the
Alaska Federation of Natives Hunter/Provider of the Year Award in 2006!
He knew all the best places to fish and shared many wonderful stories with us.

* * * * *
Part of the time, we were fly fishing for Arctic grayling, a type of trout. Fly fishing uses an artificial fly to attract the fish. The fly typically looks like an insect that the fish enjoy eating.

Below is a picture of us fly fishing. We are wearing special gear called waders which are water-proof and allow us to walk into the river.

We caught many Arctic grayling using our fly rods. The grayling has a red and purple dotted sail-like dorsal fin. We ate some of the fish and released the others.

Here is a photo of an Arctic grayling.

* * * * *

Alex loaned us some Arctic gear.
At times the mosquitoes were very thick, so I wore a mosquito net over my head!
It really worked!
How do you like my camouflage? :-)

Even though we were in the Arctic, the temperatures in the summer can be in the 80s! One day it was overcast and cooler, so I put on Alex's gear to stay warm.

* * * * *

We also used spinning rods to catch sheefish, a member of the white fish family. Sheefish are only found in the Arctic and Sub-Arctic regions. They have a large mouth, large silver scales, and put up a fight when caught. They are very tasty!

* * * * *

Alaska is nicknamed "The Land of the Midnight Sun".
The Arctic Circle marks the southern most point of the polar day (24 hour sunlit day).
Below is a picture of me taken at midnight! Because we were so far north,
the summer sun never set!

I thought we would see lots of wildlife, but we didn't.
No eagles, no caribou, no bears.
However, we did see lots of moose!

Our adventure to the Arctic Circle was an amazing experience!

* * * * *

What adventures did you have over the summer?

Please tell about something fun you did!

Remember, sometimes the best adventures are had in your own backyard!


  1. Dear Mrs. Yollis,
    What a wonderful post! You do a great job of educating us about something while stilll keeping it interesting. Keep up the good work.

  2. Dear Mrs Yollis,

    Wow! We were fascinated to read about the adventures you and your husband had at the Arctic Circle. We cannot believe that the sun never went down! Does that mean that in the winter time the sun never comes up?

    Good luck on your first day of school with your new students! We can't wait to become their blogging friends.

    From Miss McGeady and 2KM

  3. @2KM,

    Thanks for the great question about the Arctic Circle!

    As you know, the Earth is tilted on its axis. As we orbit around the sun, the tilt creates 24 hours of daylight during the Arctic summer and 24 hours of darkness during the Arctic winter.

    I would have a hard time during the winter if I lived there. I really enjoy the sun!

    The equivalent latitude in your hemisphere is the Antarctic Circle. It is 66 ½ ˚ south of the equator. Since you are now in the winter season, the Antarctic Circle is experiencing mostly darkness during the 24 hour day.

    Learning about the seasons is interesting!

    Thanks again for a great comment!
    Mrs. Yollis

  4. Hi Mrs Yollis,

    Thanks for explaining that to us.

    We were absolutely fascinated to think that kids who go to school in the Artic Circle might go outside to play in the dark at lunch times!

    What in interesting place for a holiday!
    From 2KM

  5. Dear Mrs.Yollis,

    It is so cool the you saw a moose. It looked like it was eating a fish.

    Taylor S.

  6. @ Taylor S.,

    I am so happy to get a comment from you! :-)
    Did you see we also got a comment from our 2KM friends? They are in school until December.

    It was very exciting to see so many moose. We saw about one per day. I know that the photos on the blog are not real clear, but the moose is not eating a fish. Even though they are big animals, they are herbivores which means they only feed on plants.

    One moose we saw plunged his head way down in the water and then came up with a mouthful of plants! He was fun to watch!

    What did you do over the summer? I would love to hear about an adventure that you had!

    Your friend,
    Mrs. Yollis

  7. Dear Linda,
    You are lucky, your adventures were amazing!I think your students will be glad to know a lot of interesting from your travelling.By the way you were not far from Russia that time.
    Kind wishes for the new school year to you and your students.
    Your Russian friend

  8. @Lyudmila,

    Thanks for leaving a comment! Are you back at school yet in Russia? We just started last Wednesday.

    Yes, the Arctic Circle trip was quite an adventure! We had to change planes four times. The last plane that took us to Kobuk landed on a gravel runway!

    Good luck with your students!
    Linda Yollis

  9. Dear Mrs. Yollis,

    I loved how you shared about your visit to the Artic Circle. It seems like a really good place to visit. I loved the picture of the moose eating.
    I went camping this summer and my favorite thing was that we got to be right next to the beach!
    From, Kate Jepson :-)

  10. @Kate J.,

    Thank you for such a wonderful comment! You are the first person from our new class to leave a comment! (By the way, it is a perfect one. Did your brother, Shane J., give you some commenting tips? :-) You are a terrific writer!)

    I like how you had a greeting, excellent content, and a closing. I especially liked how you shared about your adventure!

    Here is a question for you. What fun activities did you do at the beach?

    Mrs. Yollis

  11. Dear Mrs. Yollis,

    That's amazing how you went to the Arctic Circle! I can't believe you stayed up until midnight and it was still sunny out.

    My summer adventure was a trip to Hawaii. My favorite thing that I did was snorkel with the sea turtles.


  12. Dear Mrs. Yollis,
    I love your story about the Arctic Circle! I read it almost every night. I liked the picture of you with your sheefish.

    I also enjoyed your website! I found a couple games I did not know about! Under your art section, there was a game where you create your own creature. Once you did it, it danced on a stage.
    I hope you had a fun summer. I know I did!

    My adventure was a camping trip. I met a new friend named Lauren and every night we played fun games like Candyland.


  13. @Nick,
    Thanks for such a fabulous comment! You are a great writer like Kate! Your comment was so well written, it is a two pointer!

    Thanks for sharing about your Hawaiian adventure and swimming with the turtles. Did you do anything else exciting while you were on the island?

    Mrs. Yollis

  14. @Kendall,

    Thank you for a super, two point comment! Your comment included great detail sentences that showed me you really read my post!

    I am glad you are enjoying my website, too. Please let the class know what other games you liked.

    Your friend,
    Mrs. Yollis

  15. Dear Mrs. Yollis,

    Thank you for letting me know that I was the first person to comment on your blog. That made me happy.

    To answer your question, yes, I did have help from my brother Shane. He showed me how to make the happy face and my mom helped me type.

    To answer your other question, my favorite thing I did at the beach was playing tag and roasting marshmellows over the warm fire.

    Sincerely, Kate :-)

  16. Dear Mrs. Yollis,

    As you know, I am in fourth grade now ,and I am in Mrs. Krauss'class. I miss you so much that I been calling Mrs Krauss "Mrs Yollis".
    Did 2KM put up any more posts?

    Your former student, Shane J. :-)

  17. Dear Mrs. Yollis,

    I really liked the photo of the moose eatting plants. That was also some big fish you caught.

    My parents and I really enjoy viewing your website together. I am excited to learn alot more new things in the future.


  18. Dear Mrs. Yollis,

    I really liked reading about your trip to the Arctic. Fly fishing seems like a lot of fun. I enjoyed your pictures. Especially the one of the Moose.

    I went camping for the first time here in California. I slept in a tent, too. My experience was not as much fun as yours. The sprinklers from the campground were hitting our tent and after the sprinklers stopped, it started to rain. Except for the mosquitoes, I would have liked to have gone to the Arctic.

    How old was your guide?

    Jared M.

  19. Dear Mrs. Yollis,

    You are lucky you got to go to the Arctic Circle. I've always wanted to see wild animals. The only wild animal I have seen is the possum that entered my house a week ago. It scared us like crazy! Did you get to pet the animals?

    This summer I went on an adventure to Chicago to visit my family. We stayed for three weeks! I loved walking in the city. We went to China Town, toured museums,and took a river boat tour. We visited the Sears Tower, and we looked out from the observation deck.

    I like to play your games a lot on your website. My favorite part is the games on the art section.


  20. Dear Mrs. Yollis,

    Thank you for your comment back to me. I will let the class know about other games that are fun! Also, thanks for helping me with my other comment. You are a great teacher!


  21. Dear Mrs. Yollis,

    I thought the fish you caught in the Arctic Circle was so cool. I loved the picture of the BIG sheefish.

    My trip this summer was going to sleep away camp for two weeks. We went go-carting, and horse back riding, and tie-dyed shirts. I got dye all over my hands! My horse was named Cochese. I had a blast!


  22. Dear Mrs. Yollis,

    It's wonderful how who shared about your trip to the Arctic Circle.The pictures of the fish were extraordinary!

    Also this summer I went to San Francisco and I went wading in a big creek with my cousins. We fished for small crayfish. We saw one, but had no luck catching it.


  23. @Shane J.,
    Thanks for a great comment! I miss you, too. Luckily, I have not been calling your sister by your name! You asked if 2KM has any new posts. Yes, they have many. They are in school until December. Check out their new one featuring another origami project.

    Thanks for a terrific first comment! You’re a great writer! You asked the age of our Arctic Circle guide. He said he was in his sixties. He sure knew a lot about living on a river.

    You, too, had a fantastic comment. I am especially impressed with your vocabulary. It is extraordinary! ☺ I’m sorry you had no luck catching the crayfish. Maybe you just needed a lucky hat!

    Mrs. Yollis

  24. Dear Mrs. Yollis,

    Your trip to the Arctic Circle looked so cool. I loved the picture of the moose with the plants sticking out of its mouth.

    I had a great adventure, too. My trip to Legoland was so much fun! My dad and I went on a huge roller coaster. It had a 30ft. drop, and it was so awesome.

    Casey :)

  25. Dear Mrs.Yollis,

    It seems like you really enjoyed your journey to the Arctic Circle. I know I did. It is amazing how the sun never sets. I hope that I could go there some day. Anyway, I love the pictures on your blog.

    I went to camp this summer, and it was fantastic! We went to laser tag, the beach, swimming, L.A Zoo, Six Flags, and last but not the least, we also went to Knotts Berry Farm!


  26. Dear Mrs. Yollis,

    I liked your adventure to the Arctic Circle. I especially like the picture of the sheefish and the picture of the moose eating plants.

    My adventure was when I went to the zoo. My favorite animal was the panda. What I like about the panda is that I got to take a picture of him scratching his head.

    The Kodiak bear videos were the best videos I have ever seen in my whole entire life. I have never seen fish jump that high ever. It was awesome! The mama and her cubs were great. It was funny when the mama bear hit her cub.


  27. Dear Mrs Yollis,

    Very funny.Actually I did not have my lucky hat then:(.


  28. Reminded me of my trip to the arctic area. I was in a hotel in Anchorage and looking out the window at midnight watching boys playing soccer in the field across from the hotel.I had to stuff towels under the blinds in the room to try and darken it enough to get some sleep.

    Four of us in the tour group flew in a little plane from Fairbanks to Point Barrow and spent time there with the Inupiak natives. It was there I ate whale blubber at a ceremony they were having. Not really my taste ... lol

    By the way, welcome to the student blogging challenge. At least one of your students has registered as an individual.

  29. @Miss W.,

    Thanks for visiting our blog and leaving an excellent comment!

    Seeing sunlight at midnight was really an interesting part of the trip. You read about the polar areas and the long hours of sunlight or darkness, but to be there and experience it for yourself makes all the difference.

    Wow! What an experience you had… flying all the way up to Point Barrow, Alaska! (For my students: Point Barrow is the northernmost point of the United States!) I’m like you, I like to have experiences and learn by joining in. I guess I would have tasted the whale blubber, too.

    Looking forward to participating in your student blogging comment challenge! Thanks for organizing it!

    Linda Yollis

  30. Dear Mrs. Yollis,
    What an amazing adventure you and Mr. Yollis had. I would love to travel that far north someday. I was surprised to see that you were that far north, but there was no snow on the ground. What was the average temperature while you were there?
    I particularly enjoyed the photo of you in the camouflage suit! In addition, I was particularly impressed with your skills and a fisher woman!
    Thanks so much for sharing such educational information about your trip.
    Mrs. Ranney

  31. Dear Mrs. Yollis,

    The Arctic Circle post was great! I liked seeing all the fish. Because the sun never sets is it hard to sleep?
    My summer was fun. I went to San Francisco for a week. There were a lot of people there. It was fun because we went the Jelly Belly factory and they had a picture of Ronald Reagan made out of Jelly Bellies! After that we went to Ghirardelli Square for a snack and it was chocolate mania!

    Charlie S.

  32. @Mrs. Ranney,

    Thanks for your fabulous comment! It was a real adventure to be so far north. The sun never setting was really an odd thing for us.

    You asked about the average temperature. I was expecting it to be very cold and that I would need many layers of clothing. What we learned is that much of the interior of Alaska is quite warm in the summer. The average daily temperature was 85˚ F. In fact, one day I put on my bathing suit and went in the Kobuk River. The water was a little cold, so I didn’t stay in that long.


    Thanks for much for a great comment from you! Your adventure sounds delicious! I really enjoy Jelly Belly candy. What is your favorite flavor?

    Mrs. Yollis

  33. Dear Mrs. Yollis,

    Did you know that there are five oceans? They are the Artic, the Southern, the Pacific, the Atlantic and the Indian Ocean.

    From your former student,

    Shane J. ;D

  34. Dear Mrs. Yollis,
    I heard the sonic boom last week. Did you?
    It was so cool.

  35. Dear Mrs. Yollis,
    I liked reading about your flyfishing trip to the Arctic Circle. I am curious, how you discovere and then decided to go fishing in this area? Did you have friends here or put the trip together yourself? Are you planning another flyfishing trip this upcoming summer?

    From Ben's Mom

  36. @ Ben's mom,

    This trip to the Arctic Circle was quite an adventure!

    My neighbor is a fishing enthusiast. My husband has always been an outdoor lover as well. The neighbor found this location in Alaska and invited us to join in! It was really fun!

    We do not have any fishing trips scheduled as of yet, but I have always enjoyed fishing, so will have other trips in the future.

    Do you like to fish?

    Mrs. Y♥llis


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