Alaska’s Mountains


Having always lived on the east coast, I know that what we have can only make west coast folks smile when we speak of our mountains. Our log cabin sits on Winding Ridge, about 2500 feet above sea level. Two winters ago we accumulated 240+ inches of snow, and we take pride in living in the mountains of Maryland. Going to Alaska and driving around for about 200 miles finally gave me a more accurate image of mountains.

For many Alaskan cities, including Juneau, water or air travel provides the only access. The Alaskan Maritime Highway, actually part of the highway system for the state, provides the high-speed ferry that got us from Whittier to Cordova. Bush plane rides took us from Chitna to McCarthy, and a bus bumped us through the 92-mile tour of Denali National Park. But everywhere you look, these soaring mountains draw your eyes from the water to the skies. Grandeur, pristine, splendor, breathtaking,majestic, awe-inspiring: I  kept repeating these words in my journal, always searching for yet another superlative to describe the natural beauty surrounding us.

high speed ferry

Crossing Prince William Sound, we watched over four hours of views like this one. The Maritime Highway system transports cars, trucks, and people. The lounge areas serve food and even provide a place for kids to watch videos or play games, all in the midst of clean facilities and helpful staff.

Mountains have long impressed, frightened and challenged men. Yet, in the midst of all the vastness of Alaska’s mountains, I thought of Elijah’s experience. After Elijah’s great triumph on Mount Carmel, he had fled Jezabel’s threats. Yet the Lord commanded Elijah to go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord and wait for Him to pass by. “Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and scattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not not in the wind.”

As Elijah waits, the Lord is not in the earthquake nor the fire. Instead, He chooses to speak to the prophet in a gentle whisper. Amidst the sheer size of Alaska’s mountains, I loved most those times of gentle whispers.

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