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To start reading from the beginning, go to May 11, 2008.

A barreling truck heading into our landing path
forced Donny to pull the plane up into the thick white soup blanketing
the mountain sides through which we traveled. Our visibility could be
measured in feet. I knew we were about to crash and asked God to kill us
off instantly. I wasn’t in the mood to suffer broken bones and in and
out of consciousness for several days, wolves and bears until somebody
found us. The dying didn’t scare me. The suffering did.

Donny found a clearing against a mountain side. He circled us there parallel
to the slope just above the tree tops waiting for the sky to clear.
Normally I would have become sick with the tight continuous circling,
but I suppose knowing there were no other options, my challenged vertigo
cooperated. We circled for some time before the mountain passage
cleared enough for us to rise into scattered cloud cover. We could
finally see the terrain around and below us. But the Al-Can highway was
nowhere in sight.

“Where do you think the road is? Donny asked —
the first and only time he would seek my help on our journey.

“I think it’s that way,” pointing behind me.

“I think it’s that way,” Donny said pointing in the opposite direction. “We’ll go your way.”

He unfolded a topographical map, knowing our approximate location
somewhere south of Fort Nelson (see April 20 entry for map). We studied
the map and the terrain below us matching creeks, hills, a cabin here or
there and finally found our location. We were once again, however, left
with a near empty gas tank.

When we landed at Fort Nelson with
minutes left of flying time in the gas tank, I told Donny, “I think I’m
now loving the smell of Av (aviation) gas.”

(to be contintued) copyright Tamara Ann Burgh all rights reserved

Al Can highway below

Somewhere along our journey. Possibly the Al Can highway below.

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To start reading from the beginning, go to May 11, 2008.

Donny wasn’t paying attention to what I was saying;
he kept looking around and behind us. I did the same and stopped
talking for a nervous feeling creeping into the pit of my stomach. The
cloud cover was moving in fast — too fast to out run. White cotton
drifted on either side of us, below us and above, pushing us down into
the mountain valley. Before long we were flying between a low ceiling
and a white blanket blocking our view to the road — our only means of
tracking our location.

I kept watch of Donny’s, my pilot’s,
expression looking for indicators of panic, disorientation, resolve . . .
, but he remained in a calm state. He and his brothers and father were
commercial pilots used to hauling people and cargo. I was seeing at that
moment how savvy they could be in keeping themselves calm in order to
prevent panic with their passengers. Donny’s “I’m in control” demeanor
was his taking care of me while attempting to outmaneuver a serious
predicament. His calm kept me calm but I could also tell in his eyes we
were about to go through some very hairy and unpredictable moments. I
chose to remain calm for his sake. Me panicking would not help the
situation. I began to pray, “All things work together for good to those
who love God . . . all things work together for good to those who love
God . . . all things work together . . . ”

“Hang on,” he said, “We’re going to land.”

He nosed down into the white
blindness, a road barely visible below. He was going to land us on the
gravel road lined with trees. I suspected the clearing either side of
the road was wide enough to accommodate the plane’s wings. A trial pass
over was not an option. As we drifted down below tree tops, the road
became open, but not for long. There was just enough road to see and for
us to land before it rose sharply up the mountain side back into the
clouds.

“Hang on,” Donny called out.

Just before we coasted onto the road, a truck bellowed out from behind the blanched curtain.
Donny’s sharp reflexes quickly pulled the plane tightly upwards into the
white darkness. At that point I fully expected to crash into the side
of the mountain. “All things work together for good to those who love
God .  . .” If that truck driver is out there still telling the
story of how he almost drove into a plane trying to land on the road in a
white-out on the Al-Can highway and he is reading this, that was
me.

(to be contintued) copyright Tamara Ann Burgh all rights reserved

Somewhere probably Yukon Alaska area

Somewhere probably Yukon Alaska area

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