An Alaskan Christmas Eve – Part 2

Alaskan snow path at night

Tap, tap, tap…..tap….tap, tap. Hannah wondered what the strange noise was. But for some reason, she struggled to open her eyes. What was wrong with her? Her head was pounding, and she felt an urgency to wake up and stop that tapping sound. She strained to open her eyes and slowly turned her head, there on the windshield was a bird, tapping away at the glass. As she stared at this surreal sight, her memory of the accident came flooding back. She began to shake and cry as the reality of her dangerous ordeal overwhelmed her.

She was alive and unhurt, other than the gash in her head. She would be fine. She just needed to get to her phone to call for help. Finding her purse on the floor and digging around for her phone took a few minutes, but when she was finally able to call 911, she realized she had no service.

“Are you kidding me?” Hannah fumed. Of course, there’s no signal here, why would she think the Lord might give her a little help? She was on her own, as usual. She knew she needed to get to shelter soon, she could feel the temperature dropping as the snow continued to fall. As Hannah pondered her situation, she remembered the park lodge at the top of the hill. Maybe someone was working late tonight, that could help her.

Hannah gathered her coat and gloves and got out of her car. It was hard leaving the safety of the car for the unknown elements of the mountain and the slim hope of finding someone to help her at the lodge, but she felt she had no chose. At least she had her snow boots. You learned to be prepared for snow when you lived in Alaska.

She zipped her coat up tight and began walking up the road. The snow had stopped falling and the full moon was again on display. She was glad for that, as the moon lit up the night. The snow had changed the look of the road, in several areas she pondered which way to go. She tried to continue going uphill, but soon she knew she had taken a wrong turn, somewhere along the way.

As she stood wondering what she should do next, she heard water flowing in the distance. “How had she reached the river already?” She was confused as to where she actually was, but decided to find the river, it would help her get her bearings.  Hannah was tired, and her head continued to ache, she wanted to just sit down in the snow and cry, but she was coherent enough to know that would be foolish. She would freeze to death in a very short time, she realized walking was keeping her warm and giving her hope. So, she pulled herself together and continued to trudge onward to the river.

Thank goodness for the full moon as she carefully made her way down the darkened path. When Hannah arrived at the river, she thought she had figured out where she was. But the problem was, she needed to be on the other side. “Maybe she could wade across in a shallow area, or try to jump across some rocks? Maybe farther down the river there was a fallen log she could use to cross over?” As she contemplated her options, she heard something moving through the woods. She froze as fear raced up her spine.

Scanning the forest on the other side of the river, Hannah saw a brown bear. Her eyes grew round with terror as she watched the huge grizzly approach the river. “What in the world was a bear doing awake in the middle of winter?” Hannah thought to herself. This wasn’t possible. Encountering a bear had not even been on her radar. Everyone knew bears hibernated in the winter.

Suddenly the bear stopped and cocked his head to the side, as though he were listening or maybe smelling something. Then he looked directly across the river at Hannah. With an angry, deafening roar the enormous grizzly bear, charged the river, swaying back and forth, huffing and snarling at the young girl that stood paralyzed in her tracks on the other side.

 

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