[Our Alaskan Winter – original reel 1]
Constance Helmericks Papers collection
Bud Helmericks (Filmmaker)Constance Helmericks (Filmmaker)
Detailed summary information was provided by the filmmakers, Bud and Connie Helmericks. According to these notes, this film includes scenes of the “Arctic Tern” (Cessna 170 airplane) on skis. Six different airplanes, all named the “Arctic Tern” and all painted with a bird symbol, were used in the production of the three Helmericks films over seven years. Upon return to the Brooks Range cabin after many months away, Bud takes down hanging empty gas cans left to scare bears away. Bud shows how the arctic dweller uses an ice chisel — it takes about one hour to cut through the four-foot ice of Takahula Lake; He lifts out net with fish. Icy lake water is hauled to the house. They tramp down an airfield for the plane with snowshoes. It is necessary to push a small piece of stove-wood under each ski of the airplane when parked to keep it from freezing down. This is followed by views of Oliktok Point on the Arctic Ocean. Friends run out of their door waving joyously. Tagiluk, the adopted older son, and little Lydia; Martha at the door is around age seventeen; Oolak, fifteen, in a pink snowshirt over caribou furs, turns the dogsled upside down and ices its runners. Bud and George work with shovels and flags to make a more safe airplane field; Oolak returns hours later with a load of small driftwood sticks for fuel — this wood is very scarce, and he must scavenge a large area to find it — the wood comes from large rivers which flow into the Arctic Ocean and have trees at their heads thousands of miles away. A sled with a big sail approaches out of the frozen ocean — the woman has a baby, born in a hospital in Point Barrow 200 miles away, hidden on her back under her warm caribou fur parka. Carrie with her boy Maugulauk and husband Jacob. When Carrie becomes ill, Bud flies her to Point Barrow Hospital during a wind storm. Back at Oliktok Point camp, Connie directs the airplane to safety. A dog buried in snow in a spring blizzard during the month of May. Another dogsled visitor arrives, and they all shake hands with Colliak, who has come from 100 miles inland. A caribou is butchered. Sawing out a new sled from driftwood as Lydia plays about. Apiak, the older son, builds sled flooring — it is necessary to make an entirely new sled almost every season. Apiak shows how he ties the flooring with sealskin — this enables the sled to bend and be pliable. A flight out over the polar ice fifty miles. Landing fifty miles offshore where Apiak had designated a hunting camp in his earlier explorations by sled. They pitch a tent. There's a rifle close at hand in case of polar bear. Travel via dogsled while hunting for seals.
16mm film; color; silent
AirplanesCabinsLakes & pondsIce fishingDog teamsDogsleddingHides & skinsDogsSeals (Animals)
AlaskaInterior AlaskaNorthern Alaska
Alaska Film Archives, Elmer E. Rasmuson Library, University of Alaska Fairbanks
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