Once we finally got through the "closed" washout road behind the pilot car,
we had to drive on past our planned route to stay in Stewart.
We were tired of the car but there was no where to stop.
We had left Whitehorse at 7:30 AM.
With the 2 hour delay for the road deal, it was now past 8 PM.
Darkness soon set in.
The road was winding and narrow.
Our eyes grew tired watching intently for the bear, moose and fox that were
plentiful in the surrounding woods.
We saw them standing at the edges of the road. Lots of bear.
Thankfully they all stayed at the edge of the road, eyes glowing in dark shadows.
That's all we saw for hours.
Finally we reached Indian Reservation lands and then--
a lighted gas station. Such a welcome sight!
We greedily filled our empty tank then drove on in the dark.
At 11:30 PM we pulled into a motel called the Alpine Inn.
We were in Smithers, British Columbia.
Can you imagine how tired Jack was, having driven 16 hours
(well, 14 hours driving, 2 hours waiting rather impatiently)
on winding mountain roads and then dark ones.
Total miles for that day=780.
We fell into bed and slept hard.
I peeked out the window the next morning and saw a steel gray sky.
at least what I thought was sky--
but as my eyes focused upward I realized a huge mountain loomed
directly behind the motel.
It was wondrous! A ski center, no less.
The whole town of Smithers designed itself into a replica of
an Alpine Village surrounded by the Swiss Alps.
It was charming! Flags and storefronts reminded us of Olympic Villages
we'd seen on TV. We've never been to Switzerland but this seemed pretty authentic.
It even had one of these mountain men with the giant horn they use to
communicate across the valleys. For when they can't yodel.
( I know this because I read "Heidi" as a child.)
He was carved out of wood.
The fact that he stood in front of a very non-Alpine Subway
was rather inappropriate, but he was cute, nonetheless.
Anyway, thoughts of the night before's dark and treacherous drive
lingered with me for most of that next day. We had peered at the blackness
of the trees and wild animals. Anxiety had buckled himself into the backseat.
An uninvited guest. We settled for a motel without much choice.
Went to bed fatigued despite the beautiful scenery earlier in the day.
The snowcapped mountains, the bounding waterfalls, clear lakes up high
along these coastal mountains. It had been a wonderful day of beauty and
we had been blessed to be part of that wild land, traveling in a safe car with
enough gas to get through.
But the darkness changed our happy spirits.
Blocked our view. Brought the doubts and fears.
How quickly darkness will do that.
When I saw the mountains in the morning,
I knew they had been there all along.
Those final hours of night driving hadn't removed any of them.
We had just lost sight of their solidness, their massiveness, their strength.
We can do that in life--fall into despair and timidity because we've
lost sight of what we love and admire.
That's where FAITH comes in.
Believing in what we cannot see. Knowing. Trusting.
Looking beyond our circumstances.
Smithers reminded me of that powerful truth.
And I'm reminding you.
Because sometimes we can forget.