Thursday, July 23, 2009

Getting There

Alright, so we've made it to Alaska via a big Continental jet. We usually spend the night in Anchorage before heading into the bush because one never knows what the weather will be and the mantra around airports in AK is "we'll leave, weather permitting". An extra night ensures some travel wiggle room just in case weather doesn't permit.

The next morning we head to the airport to board an Alaska Air plane. This plane is set up to carry lots of cargo into the bush, and maybe about 35 people per flight, too.

Last year Alaska Air sent me a Starbucks gift card for entertaining passengers with my turtle puppet when we were stuck on the ground for 2 hours. I started off simply entertaining a restless child, but eventually many adults got their minds off of being angry and became enamored with "Tina", too.

While flying to a bush village of 5000, we fly over mountains like these before flying over flat tundra. We also see these kinds of mountains when we fly into Anchorage.
Then we land at the airport and board a smaller plane to fly into "our" village.

Before we get onto the "puddle jumper" we each must be weighed before our team of 19 is divided, by weight, into 3 planes.

This is group #2 this year. We took off before them, but they passed us quickly.

I have never seen another plane while flying in a plane...let alone with people I know in the seats!

We fly over tundra that looks like this for about 40 minutes.

We have never seen any signs of life but this year we did spot this cabin, probably a fishermen's cabin. I've read books about people living in remote areas like this, and if someone staying here needed help, they would fly a specific flag that meant a pilot needed to land and help them.

Don't ask me where a pilot would land because this tundra is very soft and mushy. Perhaps, for this cabin, he would send someone to help via boat.

Wait! What's that in the distance? Our village!

A sight that gets my heart pumping faster every year. The first time my heart skipped a beat because of nerves, but now I get excited because we're that much closer to seeing all our friends again. Anyone who believes following Jesus is boring, needs to come to Alaska with us.

The airport runway (a long strip of gravel) is 2 miles from the village so our friends pick us up, load our luggage onto their trailor and bring us to the school we call home for a week or two.

This year, Tommy and I hopped in the back of a pick-up to ride to the school. It was pretty cold and windy, but we were grateful for the ride!

Getting there isn't hard, but you can't do it in a hurry. And those small bush planes? Believe it or not, they can lull you to sleep. The whir-whirring of the engine is like a lullaby!


patty said...

how awesome cathy!! thanks for sharing... can't wait to read the next installation! ;)

Mrs. C... said...

That is truly amazing! It makes me miss Alaska terribly. Maybe what God is instilling in my heart is to join you one day. ;) what a hoot that would be! Now to get a certain Mrs. Dunbar there.......God works in mysterious ways right :)

Mrs. Dunbar said...

I don't really think God is calling me to Alaska as Mrs. C seems to be alluding to... Perhaps God is telling Cathy to come to California.

Keep the details coming, I'm so interested.

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