They arrived at the air strip ready to take their flight. She had learned that Noatak didn’t have any roads to enter Jack’s village. They had to either pick up ATV’s, snowmobiles, dog sledding, or a boat. She decided to wait till she got there to know what was the best transportation. Jack was nervous as all hell, he kept pacing back and forth till she finally spoke up. “Jesus dude, your going to make your own air strip if you don’t stop pacing my darlin’. Besides, Wolf keeps following you back and forth, and you both are driving me crazy with your nervous energy.” Jack didn’t listen to her, he was too deep in thought to hear her words.
She walked over to him, stopping his movement and hugged him tightly. “Easy my friend, do I have to get you a tranquilizer to stop you?” He soften to her touch and smiled. “I have never been this crazy in my life Nujalik. I am so worried what will happen.” Celeste didn’t have time to reply when a man approached her. “I am your pilot for the day are you my passengers?” He asked in a professional manner. “Yes we are sir.” She responded. “Well I have all your belongings loaded in the plane if you are ready to leave. Let me say we need to leave soon, there is a storm brewing and Noatak got hit with a lot of snow last night. Noatak has a gravel air strip and it might be a bitch to land on snow.” “Did my packages come from the bakery sir?” She kindly asked him. He nodded yes as he checked out Wolf.
Jack was puzzled why she had packages from the bakery. “I ordered a bunch of those delicious chocolate goodies to take with us. I know your tribe has limited shopping, and thought to bring peace offerings for everyone.” Jack smiled at his girl. “Well let’s get loaded because you can never trust Alaska and her weather.” They followed their pilot and began their journey.
Celeste sat in the front with the pilot as Jack and Wolf sat in the back with their supplies. She smiled at herself in remembering the first time she flew in a private plane with Gary. The sights of the terrain just left her in awe. She tried to absorb the winter land as she looked below. To her, Alaska was gorgeous! She had never seen a state so beautiful yet extremely wild in her life time. Even though she hated snow and the cold, she fell in love with the beauty of the land.
Their pilot was excellent, he flew them across the mountains with skill. He soared over a river knowing that it would be full of bears this time of year. “Holy shit Jack, I see a ton of Grizzly bears eating fish. Oh man look at those moose’s down there too. Jack, Jack you got to see this.” The pilot loved her energy, he could not stop his smiling at the spitfire’s happiness. Jack didn’t want to see anything, he was nervous flying over the mountains for the first time since he enlisted into the service. Wolf behaved himself and had fallen fast asleep.
Celeste was so excited that she laugh out loud when Jack didn’t answer her. “What’s a matter Jack, you turn chicken shit on me?” The pilot cackled. So instead of listening to nothing, she began to ask questions to her pilot. She wanted to learn everything she could about the Noatak territory.
“Well young lady you will be 63 miles from the Arctic Circle. The village is the only settlement in those parts too. Noatak is on the west bank of the Noatak river, and lies on the western bounty of a 6.6 million acres of the Noatak National Preserve. The Noatak National Preserve protects almost the entirety of the largest untouched river basin in America, that of the Noatak River. All of the preserve, except for about 700,000 acres (280,000 ha) east of the village of Noatak, has been designated Wilderness. The wilderness is the fourth-largest in the United States. The Eskimo’s use kayak’s to fish and hunt mostly. Their main source of food is Walrus, Seal, Caribou, Moose, Brown and Black Bear, Polar Bears, Wolves and Salmon. It depends the time of year what they can hunt. It’s a very poor village, but they are very nice.” Celeste became worried when he said wolves. She would be dipped in shit if she let them eat her friend.
Before she knew it, they began to descend and landed safely on the air strip of Noatak. Celeste looked back at Jack and noticed he no longer had dark color skin, he was pale white. She wanted to laugh at him but could not in his darkest hour. Softly she touched his arm and spoke out. “Jack my love, your home at last!”