My theme this year is Places in my Heart, all about the places I've been and loved and that have mattered to me in a lasting sense.
For my regular readers, you'll see more than the usual once-a-week posts from me this month. I'm having a great time writing them, so I hope you enjoy reading them, too.
H is for Hot Springs (Chena Hot Springs)
My first full time teaching job was in Kenny Lake, Alaska, right smack-dab in the middle of nowhere :-) It's a really small school, 100 kids K-12. We worked hard for those kids, though, giving them the best experience we could despite an isolated location.
I'm full of fond memories of the place and the people, even though I was only there one year.
I taught about eight different subjects that year, chaperoned a bunch of hockey trips, put on a formal dance, and adopted my first dog, a German Shepherd Husky mix called Häagendog because he was the color of my favorite kind of Häagendaz ice cream: chocolate peanut butter.
I also chaperoned the big eighth grade trip to Fairbanks and Chena Hot Springs. I visited it a couple of times during that year because it was just so wonderful.
A natural hot springs is something special. The earth bubbling out its heat through the water. Sitting in one, you can understand why people have sought them out throughout history, believing the minerals and air could heal a myriad of woes.
Chena Hot Springs is even more amazing because its in such a cold place. There's nothing like sitting in hot water while you're surrounded by snow, able to see your breath while you stare up at the night sky filled with Aurora Borealis. It's a distinctly Alaskan experience, and a highlight of my life to have been there.