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Last updated: July 30. 2014 12:29PM - 64 Views
By Gary Stites Contributing columnist



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Madison County folks have a connection they may not know about.


The pictures shown with this report were sent to Andie Dunbar, who lives in London. They were taken by her sister in Prudhoe Bay (Deadhorse, Alaska). Her sister, Les Dunbar, is the post master in Deadhorse and she was with the welcoming party the day we arrived in Deadhorse.


Needless to say, I was shocked when the Postmaster of Deadhorse said her sister lived in London, Ohio. She took these pictures and asked Andie to give them to me. I had a nice visit with Andie and her mother recently, as they stopped by my office near London.


I am presently back home and making plans to return to Alaska and ride into the Yukon territory. One of our horses became lame and needed a break, so I took one, too. Pastor Len Crow is presently riding daily as he clicks off the miles on his 7,000-mile journey to raise money for over 150 children we support.


The ride so far has been quite exciting. One day, as we were riding, we encountered a creek. It was near the oil pipe line that we had been riding beside, and was moving too fast to cross safely. We decided to move up stream and we found a point where two creeks merged. We, or I should say Pastor Len, decided we could cross the two creeks before they joined and it would be safer. As I looked on, he entered the first creek. It was about 33 degrees outside with a similar water temperature. That morning we had received several inches of snow even though it was June.


When Pastor Len’s horse stepped into the water, it immediately went up to his belly. This was not a problem because we had already made crossings that deep. However, the next step left the horse and Pastor both swimming in 30 degree water. At that point, I was hoping he was able to turn around and return toward me, because, if he went forward, I probably would be encouraged to follow. Thank you Lord, again, as he was able to turn around against a pretty good current and return to the bank. We started back tracking at that point, so we could take a different route. I knew Pastor would be cold, so we moved at a trot most of the time, as the horse and rider warm up better at a trot. Pastor Len is really a tough individual and never said anything about being wet most of the day.


We later got back to the pipe line farther south. At one point we had to drop down a hill that was two steep for four wheel vehicles and I was not too sure it was not too steep for horses. We did make it down, however, with some of our crew spotting us at a distance and taking pictures of us almost sliding down the hill.


I do wonder how mosquitoes can survive that cold? I guess if you are big and strong enough you can survive anything. They have the largest mosquitoes in the U.S.


Gary Stites is the owner of Lakota of Ohio trailer sales in Lafayette in Madison County. He is currently on 11,000-kilometer trip from Deadhorse, Alaska, to Guadalajara, Mexico to raise money for children’s homes in Mexico, Cambodia, the Philippines, Guatemala and India. For more information or to contribute to the mission, visit www.ridefororphans.org and Canadianponyexpress.com or call Gary at 740-506-1713


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