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Clarksville, TN – Thom Spigner and Clay Powers are great friends. The two Clarksville businessmen enjoy fishing, hunting, motorcycles, and just about anything that challenges them in the great outdoors.
It was this love of adventure that brought the two men face to face with death, in the wilds of Alaska.
Dr. Jimmy Sites is the host of Spiritual Outdoors Adventures, a national award winning television series. As a former Minister at one of the largest churches in Nashville, his speaking engagements have taken him all over the world, and his TV show combines his love of the great outdoors and his love of God. It was on one of these outdoors adventures that brought Thom and Clay to a place they thought they would never see again.
In July, 2016, the two Clarksville men were off on a 9 day adventure to Alaska where they would enjoy some of the best fishing on the planet. Joining Dr. Sites, and four others, the trek to their base camp was an adventure in itself. They flew into Anchorage Alaska, then boarded a smaller plane to take them to Aniak, Alaska.
There, they would take an even SMALLER plane to get them to their base camp. We’re talking DEEP into the wilds of Alaska, on a plane made of fabric, landing on gravel runways, or at best, a muddy landing strip. Their final destination was the Holitna River and their outdoors fitters, “Alaska Adventures.”
Jimmy Sites uses these trips to share his faith, provide bibles for all of the participants, and conduct bible studies for those who attend. His knowledge of bow hunting and his love of fishing and his faith, has provided Dr. Sites with an opportunity to not only share his faith and teach the gospel, but enjoy his other passion of hunting and fishing.
“I don’t want to look back on my life and have any regrets about where I’ve been, what I’ve done, and how often I’ve shared my faith” said Sites.
Once the crew had assembled at their base camp, they unloaded their gear to their cabin and started to get to know each other. There were 7 men on this trip, including Sites, who dubbed them, “The Magnificent Seven,” after God’s perfect number.
Thom Spigner, who had been on several of these trips said, “It’s one of the finest trips I’ve ever been on. I love to fish, and I love the challenges associated with a trip like this, and I love to be around men who know Jesus.”
Clay Powers noted, “this was my first trip to Alaska, and I would leave right now to go back!”
Clay and Thom got into their boat without any rain gear because they weren’t going far and didn’t think it would be necessary. As it turned out, that was a mistake, as the weather changed into rain and combined with the cold, our two Clarksville friends were freezing. This little detail would prove invaluable at the end of the trip. Lessons learned.
The next day, they loaded their gear and headed up river where they would establish yet another camp, and continue on their fishing journey. They would land on what’s known as the “upper fish camp” and proceed to fish and live in the wild.
“We were catching fish right and left” said Powers. “It was everything I had hoped it would be.”
Spigner said, “I’ve been on several of these trips and there’s nothing like being knee deep in Alaskan waters, pulling fish out of the river, then taking them back to camp for dinner.”
The group came from a variety of backgrounds. A police chief, auto dealership owner, construction and more. The one common bond was a love of the great outdoors. Jimmy Sites uses this as a backdrop for his ministry. Bible study, group discussions and a faith based experience is what he has created. Little did they know that they would witness God’s handiwork during this near fateful trip.
Fishing along the banks of the Holitna river is probably the pinnacle of outdoor experiences, but there would be more.
After spending several days on the river, it was time to turn for base camp and prepare to leave for home. That’s when the trip took a near deadly turn. Not once, but twice!
Hank Bonecutter is a retired broadcaster and media consultant based in Clarksville, Tennessee.
His career includes stints at WKDA/WKDF and WKQB Rock 106FM, WLAC-AM in Nashville.
He concluded his career as owner/talk show host at WJZM-AM in Clarksville.
Currently the President of Bonehead Promotions, he’s an advertising consultant and media strategist.
Web Site: http://www.clarksvillesmotorcycle.com/
TopicsAlaska, Anchorage AK, Clarksville TN, Fishing, Hunting, Motorcycles, Tennessee, Thom Spigner
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