Saturday, April 24, 2010


There we were in the midst of an Alaskan mountain wilderness, 8 miles from the travel trailer which was 80 or 90 miles from town, riding on a couple snow machines! Stupid? Some people would say so. But for me, it was just another risk that people living here in Alaska must go through in order to live "normal" lives.

We were spending the day out at Summit with some friends (see Joel's post), and were snow machining farther back into the mountains after enjoying a day of sledding. For me, it was something that took faith to do. Not that I had to sit and think about it for awhile, nor was it something I did without thinking of all the implications. But it was something that took a conscious decision on my part as to whether I'd put my life into other people's and thing's hands. It took faith.

First of all, faith in the machines. Being 8 miles into the mountains in snow that is waste high is nothing you want to walk back from! It would take hours of taxing physical labor to wallow back to base camp. One precaution against that problem was taking two machines; you NEVER take only one machine into the wilderness of Alaska...

Secondly, it took faith in the driver! Nyton (a friend) and I were riding with Darryl Ueeck, the man who owned the machines. He had been in those mountains many times before, and consequently knew the terrain. Several times on our way back from our turn-around point the valley would look totally unfamiliar to me, but then I'd see our tracks from earlier plastered on the sides of the ravine. How he figured his way was beyond me!

He also knew how to drive a snow machine! In one place that I can particularly remember, we topped a slight knoll and realized we were riding the edge of a small canyon. Any hesitation on the part of the driver and we would have tipped to the right and spilled the machine. If I were driving, that's what would have happened. You couldn't steer left or else the soft snow and gyro effect would have flipped us also. Instead he gunned the machine and we were able to ride the ridge until it turned naturally towards the right, leaving us on flat ground again. Riding in the mountains requires a certain amount of skill and confidence, which is why I left the driving up to him! (besides the fact that he had the same idea, and never offered to let me drive up there...)

I began thinking of the irony in the fact that with all the faith required to ride back into those mountains, I hardly even thought about it as needing faith! Mr. Ueeck, the machines, the terrain; they were all so easy to put faith in without even realizing it! It got me wondering as to how many times I put faith in things without realizing it! Our truck, our house, our electricity, our internet, our friends, our family. Some people have been let down by things or people, and have therefore come to distrust and have a lack of faith in them. But on the whole, we don't hesitate or ask many questions when riding in a friend's vehicle, when flying on a commercial airlines, or when walking down public staircases. So why then do a lot of people have trouble putting faith in God? For many people, they must know all the facts about Him, must have Him answer all their questions, must have Him meet THEIR standards before they'll put faith in His promises. But why? They don't do that for the public transportation system they ride in. Why then with God?...

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