My dad agreed to do a conference at Soldotna Bible Chapel in Alaska during February in the year 2016. Naturally, he looked into the possibility of the entire family going with him which ended up working out in our favor. We left our home in Greenville, South Carolina on February 6th and began the week-long journey. Everything was smooth waters until one delay in Detroit threw off our entire schedule causing the rest of the day to be quite stressful. One change to our plan caused us to have to spend the night in Seattle, Washington instead of already having arrived and settled in Alaska. Delta, to make up for the trouble, was very gracious and paid for our hotel room and gave us 150 something dollars to spend on food in the airport within the next 24 hours. Let me tell you, it is not easy to eat that much food in that amount of time.
February 7th we awoke, caught a ride to the airport and left Seattle. The flight brought many breathtaking clouds and rainbows to our attention along with our first glimpse of Alaska’s breathtaking mountains. One of the pastor’s of the church Dad would be speaking at, and his family picked us up from the airport in Anchorage and drove us the two hours it took to reach Soldotna. Along the way, we made occasional stops to view local wildlife or the indescribable mountains. To reach Soldotna, we had to drive through a mountain pass which gave my siblings and me our first experience with snow several feet deep. We didn’t waste time inquiring about snow boots, we went out in our own boots, jeans, shorts, and sandals and stumbled around amazed by the beauty around us. Around 6:00 we arrived at “the cabin” and settled into our temporary home.
The next day the same pastor who picked us up the day before took us on our first full day of touring Alaska. The breathtaking drive, surrounded by the awe-inspiring mountains, took us to ice covered parking lots, turquoise colored rivers, frozen lakes, black rivers, black-sand covered beaches, and dinner.
On February ninth the youth pastor from the church Dad would be speaking at took us on another tour. Our first stop was the local dumpster. Yep. Do you know what we found there? More than 15 Bald Eagles perched in nearby trees on the lookout for their next meal. The rest of the day consisted of more ice covered parking lots, frozen rivers, mountains, bays, rock-covered shores, a moose sighting, and the achievement of driving to North America’s most “Westerly Highway Point.”
The day after was spent at “the cabin.” My siblings and I suited up and went out to explore the beds of the creek down the hill from “the cabin” along with the partially frozen over Kenai River. Across the creek, we worked hard to build a bridge because one risked missing the opposite bank if one dared to jump across the stream, and the only one brave enough to jump across (and continually succeed) was Haydn. So, a bridge we made. My siblings and I explored the edge of the Kenai River and had an unofficial photo shoot before heading back across the minefield (a field of wheat leveled out by snow).
The next few days were spent at “the cabin” or the surrounding area as Dad worked and I caught up on schoolwork. On the 14th my Dad spoke at Soldotna Bible Church’s Valentine’s Day conference. Afterward, we met up with the church staff for pizza. Dad also spoke the next morning during the church service. That afternoon (an hour before we were due to be at the airport), we accepted a last-minute offer to ride a snowmobile. I personally think it was a little nerve-wracking since the lake did not freeze smoothly and the driver (who shall remain unnamed) was driving really fast.
The trip home went by fairly smooth (besides the fact that no one slept) and we were thankful to God for that. My family and I very much enjoyed this trip and hope that we will return to Alaska someday in the future.
To see more photos from this trip, click here. Thanks!