LeadingSmart

Practical Stuff for Church Leaders

The Alaskan Blizzard Update

Many of you have been following the adventures of Mark Beeson and Steve Evans as they sit stranded in a hunting lodge in Kodiak, Alaska. Here are some more updates about their longer-than-planned trip... Monday, November 14th morning email from Mark to Sheila:

Today we packed everything up. That's how possible it is that a plane will fly today. We're packed and ready if one comes in. If not, we'll unpack and stay another day. But there is a lot of time left for a pilot to get here and get us out, so we want to be ready.  Our window might be small, so we don't want to waste time loading up for the flight. That way we can unload the guys coming in to the camp, load the plane with our stuff, and get in the air.  Kodiak City isn't all that far. We just have one mountain pass to navigate and we'll be there. No worries. No problems.

Monday, November 14th afternoon email from Mark to Sheila:

Good news. We were sitting down to eat (winds were blowing between 40-50 mph) and a plane landed! Incredible. The Outfitter told the pilot, "I told you it was bad." The pilot replied, "It's definitely not flying weather!" He unloaded some hunters who've been waiting in Kodiak City and we were able to load up the two hunters here who really needed to go. We were glad to get them back to the city and since Steve and I are in good shape here we stayed behind so they could get out. The plane could only take two people out, no more. The plane lifted off fine (easier to do when headed into such a powerful headwind) and they're on their way. I won't be surprised if we get another plane out here this afternoon. All we need is for the wind to lay down a bit and we'll be on our way.

Monday, November 14th evening email from Mark to Sheila: 

Everything here is fine. The wind is howling, but it appears the forecast is for less wind in the morning. If they're right, that'll help us get a plane out here so Steve and I can go to Kodiak City. Once there we can re-book our flights and head to Anchorage. The airline has 7 flights scheduled each day... from Kodiak to Anchorage, so if the airport is open and the weather between here and there is OK, we'll be in Anchorage by tomorrow afternoon.

Tuesday, November 15th morning email from Mark to Sheila:

We have very low wind (5 mph) which makes the flying easy for the pilots. The problem is that we're in a blizzard and there is zero visibility. They can't fly if they can't see. So, I'm praying the snow will let up and the plane can safely make it here. I'm confident we'll get out today.

I love that Mark is ever the optimist! Keep praying that they can get home soon. Mark is preaching at a wedding in Houston this weekend for a very good friend. He would hate to miss it.

UPDATE 3:20pm TUESDAY from Mark to Sheila

Everything I'm hearing here is that the wind is supposed to crank back up tomorrow. If we don't get out today, we may not get out until Friday. Not sure. We're just playing it by ear. There's been some chatter about Coast Guard rescues, but we certainly don't require that. Some of the guys who are in "spike camps" (where they hike up the mountain with all their gear...tents, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, food, etc) have run out of food now. A few are at risk...and several have no SAT phones or radios. They're in it. Cold. Wet. Hungry. If the Coast Guard goes out for folks, it's for people like that, not people like me.  So if you hear about such things, don't think they're coming for us. That would be ridiculous. They'll just go for the guys who are in danger of dying. We're not. We're fine.  No worries.

It's amazing that I've got email access from time to time. I'm soooooooo glad to be able to email you....and to hear back from you! It's great to be in touch. There are still a few hours today where the plane might show up. It's only 11:20 AM now, so they could still show up this afternoon. I'll be expecting that. Like I said, I'm packed and ready to go.  :)

I love my "filtered water bottle."  It's awesome. And talk about cold water! Yiiiiiii.  It's like a brain-freeze with every sip!  I'm still encouraging the group to enjoy these days. I've told them "we're bulding memories."  I'm not sure they believe me, but it's true. I'm not just saying it. These are days I'll probably never forget.  I AM building memories.  :)   No lie.

OK. Enough for now. I'm going to go look out the window and see if the plane is landing on the bay in front of the cabin.