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Hiker Barely Escapes Alive from Death Mountain in Peru

I said, "’Okay, God, I don't think I'm getting out of here. If this is where You want me to die, I guess this is where I'm going to die.’”

Scott Hubbartt, lost in the Andes Mountains of Peru, was starving, dehydrated and trying to stay alive. “I was way beyond my limits,” Scott recalls.

Scott’s ordeal was supposed to be a one day hike. He wanted to retrace the steps of his wife’s grandfather, Felipe, who once owned a mine in the Andes. To an Air Force veteran with survival training, it was no big deal. 

I knew that whatever I came across I could probably handle, and I had never run into any problems in the past. I just took it for granted that God's always been with me. He'll be with me on this, and I really didn't think twice about that.”

Scott set out with a bottle of water and a few supplies. By the end of the day, he hadn’t reached his destination. Still, he was sure he was close. “I had two identical instruments that were telling me two different things, but then I thought, ‘You know, but I'm on the right trail.’ My concern was water. I was running out of water and it was very hot.’” 

Scott made camp and set out the next morning. But not long into his hike, he realized he was in trouble. “I stopped sweating, and I started getting cold chills. I started recognizing signs of severe dehydration--blurry vision, headaches.”

He also knew no one would be looking for him, since his family was used to him disappearing into the wild for days. “I was on my own, I felt,” Scott recalls. 

The only sign of life was a green grove he saw below. “I thought, ‘Boy, if there's green, that means there's life, if there's life, that means there's water.’” 

Scott put his training to use and tried everything he knew--digging for water, building a solar still--but the droplets he did manage to find made him sick. Desperate, Scott cried out to God.

“I was exhausted.  And I said, ‘Okay, God, I don't think I'm getting out of here. If this is where you want me to die, I guess this is where I'm going to die.’ And the emotions that I was going through of letting my family down and abandoning my wife and my children and nobody would ever know what happened to me – all for what?  So I could take a hike?’  And I wasn’t happy about it, but I surrendered completely to Him. And I remember I fell asleep there on my face next to that hole.’”

Then, Scott woke up to a strange sound. “Glurp. Glurp. I didn't know what it was at first, and then it moved. And it was water oozing up from the ground above this hole, three feet away, and I knew that this was God’s deliverance. I knew that this was God’s hand. I scooped up a little of this water in my hand and I tasted it and it wasn't bitter. It was sweet, clear water. I can't tell you the feeling of elation, and I was just ecstatic! I was able to fill my bottle of water and then it stopped.”

Scott hiked all the next day. What he didn’t realize then was that heavy iron deposits in the mountains were causing his compass to malfunction. Eventually, the path narrowed to a box canyon that wasn’t on his map. “I knew at that point that I was completely lost and for the second time I was out of water.” I really started saying, ‘I've tried to live a good life. I know I've got things to repent for, but this is not fair.’ I was really angry.’”

Scott spent his third cold night in the desert. He started out of the canyon at first light. “By midmorning I noticed something on the right side of the canyon. It was a dirt road coming down the canyon wall into the canyon bed. And I was ecstatic because that was the first human-made thing I've seen in days.”
 
He was sure it led to a village and followed the road uphill. By nightfall he reached the top. In the moonlight, he noticed another grove in the canyon. “’Is God telling me there’s water down there? Does He want me to go back down there and pray and find water like I did a couple days before? Or am I going to go with my instinct and continue up this hill?’ And man, that was a tough call, and I prayed and I asked God, ‘What do You want me to do, Lord?’”

Scott believes God told him to go down to the grove, but when he got there:
“It was dead, dead, dead. There was going to be no water here, and I was just completely broken.”

Scott pulled out his camera and took one last picture. “Thinking that ‘If they don't find me, they'll find this and my kids will have a picture of me on my last day.’”

At dawn on the fifth day, Scott left his belongings and started walking. “’I went back up that hill. The road went down and it went up again and disappeared over the horizon, I thought, ‘God, there's…there's no village.’"

That afternoon he saw something on the horizon. “I saw these colored balls bouncing on in the distance. I was singing a hymn and they were bouncing with the words I was singing. And I realized they're – they were people walking up the road. I just came to pieces jumping up and down and waving. I went to my knees and thanked God. They were wearing hard hats; that's the little balls I saw. They were Peruvian workmen on a government contract to scope out places to put foundations for high-tension wires on hilltops.”

The workmen were shocked to see him there. “This one man named Rueben handed me this bottle of milky water in a 7-Up bottle. I wouldn't have drank that water four days earlier, because that water will kill you. Man that was the sweetest water I've ever tasted.”

Scott learned that morning was the only time their paths would’ve crossed. “I realized then that if I hadn't have walked out that morning they weren't going to walk into that canyon. They were walking to a hill somewhere else.  The Lord put that second green grove to taunt me to go back and wait ‘til morning, so I could find these men or they could find me.

I remember Rueben, the last thing I said to him was, ‘Thank you for finding me. Thank you for saving me.’ He said, ‘No Senor, God saved you.’”

Since his walk to the edge, Scott says he treasures time with his family--and his relationship with God—more than ever.

“He wants people to know He's in the miracle business, and that He's in charge and that we need to submit to Him completely. And that He doesn't always answer us the way we want to be answered. He doesn't always give it to us like we want it, but He never abandons us.”

 

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