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

In Dawson Creek British Columbia Canada, the plane
was refueled and waiting for us to board. The men behind the office
counter were talking about a recent crash. They spoke of a pilot who,
caught in a cloud cover, crashed into the side of a mountain. Donny paid
attention with one ear while checking his map, times and the weather. I
followed his eyes out the window when the weather radio cracked some
report about visibility and low ceiling. We saw only blue cloudless
skies. The men behind the counter chuckled over some comment about the
pilot who crashed some days ago. “You taking off?” one of the men asked
Donny. He replied in the affirmative.

“There’s weather coming in,” he warned. Again, Donny and I looked out the sun soaked window just as a
Bonanza took off down the runway. The man filled in before Donny made a
comment, “He has instruments. You flying with instruments?” Our Cessna
170 was not equipped with instruments that would take us above cloud
cover and fly by an instrument panel. We were flying VFR — visually. We
had to keep the Al-Can highway in sight in order to maintain our
airborne location. Donny turned to me, “Let’s go.”

As we walked to the plane, we both studied the mountain silhouetted sky. Puffy clouds
were just peeking up behind the tree tops. I looked to Donny for a sign
of altered decision and thought I saw a moment of reconsideration; but
only a flash, then confirmation. “Hurry, get in,” he told me.

The clouds were behind us — opposite from our destination. It did not seem
possible they would ever interrupt our travel. Within the next couple
of hours I learned to never underestimate the power and speed of a
fluffy white cloud.

(to be continued) copyright Tamara Ann Burgh, all rights reserved

Typical scenery on the trip North.

Typical scenery on the trip North.

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