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Take A Hike

I have often said that no one has ever accused me of being intelligent. One year we were in Phoenix, AZ on the 4th of July and the next February we were in Alaska. Part of that has always been so that people couldn�t accuse me of being in the ministry just so I could spend my winters in the south and the summers in the north. We go where we feel God wants us no matter what the time of year or what the weather is like. Let�s talk about that February trip to Alaska.

Any time we are in an area we try to make the best use of that time for ministry. This is true especially if we have had to travel great distances to get there. We will do as many meetings as possible in as short of time as possible. We like to get as much bang for the buck as we can because it is the Lordââ?¬â?¢s bucks that we are spending. Even at that, there are times when we will have a day ââ?¬Å?offââ?¬Â with meetings. This was one of those days.

We had gone to Alaska to do meetings NOT to go hiking in the woods. However, while I was stationed at Elmendorf AFB in Anchorage, Alaska while in the Air Force, I was able to get some property out in the wilderness. It is actually about two miles as the crow flies from the Parks Hwy around mile marker 117 with a beautiful view of Mt. McKinley.�  Needless to say, this property is not easy to get to any time of the year. However, in the winter you donâ��t have to put up with as much undergrowth or mosquitoes.

Property in AK

We had two young people with us at the time and perhaps because I had talked about this property so much, they wanted to see it. We weren�t prepared with winter clothes, boots, etc. but friends up there said they had enough stuff for us if we wanted to hike into it. Hey, why not? It�s only two miles in and another two out. How bad can it be?

We gathered up all of the gear we figured we would need for this little walk in the woods and headed out for mile 117. We parked along the side of the highway in a safe place and took off following the compass into the property. Oh, did I mention this is in Alaska and it is February? Does the term ââ?¬Å?snowââ?¬Â mean anything to you? Well, we had snow and LOTS of it. Two miles of snow up to your waist makes for slow going. We took turns ââ?¬Å?breaking trailââ?¬Â and pushing onward. I guess it was somewhat to our own surprise that we made it to the property. We took some quick pictures and knew it was time to head out.

Did I mention this was in Alaska and in February? Did I mention that Alaska doesn�t have much daylight during the winter? Oh my, when it starts to get dark it doesn�t take long and it was starting to get dark by the time we started out. There wasn�t any less snow going back out as there was going in either. We started out following the same path we had broken to get in. However, in just a short time it was too dark to see where that path was. Again, we took turns leading the way.

The person leading had their face down close to the snow trying to see and feel where the snow had been disturbed so we could get out of there. This was to just be a short afternoon walk. We didn�t have any flashlights, food or anything.

I had injured my right knee shortly after we were married and at times that knee would give me problems. Well, all of this walking through snow that deep really had my knee complaining to me. It was about all I could do to drag that leg along. The other two realized my pain and permitted me to bring up the end so I wouldn�t have to break trail as much as possible.

I don�t know if you have ever been out in the wilderness after dark summer or winter but it isn�t any fun. By now we were just inching ourselves along not making much time at all. The thoughts go through your head that perhaps you should stop, make camp and wait out the night. On the other hand, you might be so close to the goal.

We pressed on. The time seemed to go by so slowly but the distance we traveled went even slower. Then off in the distance we saw something that was a real answer to our prayers. We saw the lights of a passing car. Praise the Lord! At least now we knew where we were and that we were getting close. Not many cars drive that highway during that time of year and that time of night but before long another car went up the road. It wasn�t long after that and we were back on the highway making our way back to the car.

I don�t remember anything being in the car except apples but I do remember sitting there with the engine running, eating an apple and thanking the Lord that we were back safe and sound.

When it seems like you have gone as far as you can go. When it seems like you can�t go another step. When you aren�t even sure that you are going in the right direction, keep on going. You may be so close to your goal.

ââ?¬Å?In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.ââ?¬Â Proverbs 3:6

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