Hiking into BYT!
I am so happy! Today is Wednesday, September 24: Exactly 6 days after arriving in Thailand from America. This day we will hike six and a half hours to BYT! Our backpacks are quite light this time! It has been raining every other day, but it is not raining today.
We are now on a song tow, (The orange public transportation truck), and ring the bell indicating to our driver that we want to get off.
We begin to hike. I don’t believe Tucker is over his jet lag yet, but he had assured us he was ready to go. He seems excited to actually be on his way to BYT. I am so glad. The sun scorches down upon us as we make our way through the first well-populated village lying on the valley floor just before we ascend up into the mountains. The climb begins quite sharply and continues to be very steep. The extremely steep places are over 20% grade. I must try to explain just how steep they are. It is so steep that if your foot slipped, you would fall and not be able to get up because you would tumble back down and off the cliff so fast – nobody could save you. Another way to explain how steep they really are, is to relate a comment from Tucker: “The people in America would never believe how steep these roads are! Nobody could possibly know unless they were right here experiencing it!”
Normally we would drive our truck today because the roads are dry enough. We have never walked when it is so very hot and sunny like this. When we walk the entire way, it is always because it is rainy season – overcast and raining. Today we have no truck, and the sun is beating down on us unmercifully. The three of us are really out of shape for this type of exertion. Tucker and I have just come from America. I kept running there in my flip-flops 2 miles most every morning in order to stay in condition. But the roads are so smoothly paved and easy to travel even with hills included, that it would never prepare a person for this. The only way we are conditioned for this kind of hiking is when we are walking to other villages in the mountains with the medicines on our backs three times a week or more. BletJaw has not been exercising at all, and Tucker has been working a swing shift in America as well as losing one night’s sleep prior to our 27 hours of flying on Korean Air!
After climbing ever upward in the blazing heat for 3½ hours we are faint with exhaustion and feel we cannot go on. We sink down on the side of the road and pray for a truck to come along and give us a ride. BletJaw has cramps in his calves and feels like he may have to spend the night right there.
“Oh Lord,” I prayed. “You see us here on the side of the road. We feel we cannot go on unless You give us all strength, or clouds and rain, or if You choose to send a truck along to save us that would be so wonderful. We only want to go this way to do Your work in Your way. I know You care and will give us the help we need in whatever way You choose. We will just wait here for You.”
Just then we heard the faint sound of a truck’s motor in the distance. Would it turn off at the last road or come past us? Soon it comes to us – a beautiful new black truck! The driver is a Thai man who asks us where we are going. He is going that way and will take us to the shortcut by the pagoda!
“Thank-You Lord! We could never thank You enough for all Your loving care!” It seemed that this truck saved our lives as well as saving us 2 hours of walking up-hill. A direct answer to prayer!
Once at the pagoda we thank the man profusely and now only have a little over one hour to walk downhill to BYT. We only had to walk 4½ hours today.
“I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait on the Lord, be of good courage, and He shall strengthen thine heart. Wait I say, on the Lord.” Psalm 27:13,14