My wife, Elizabeth, and I received an invitation to the 1986 Ark-A-Thon which was held in Farmington, New Mexico. This was the first assembly ever held for those who were searching for the Ark of Noah on Mt. Ararat in eastern Turkey.
Having an interest in meeting the adventurers and discovering their accounts of climbing Agri-Dagh, the “painful mountain” as Mt. Ararat is known, we excitedly accepted the invitation and participated in the three-day event.
At this historic gathering were several explorers who had trekked the icy, snow-clad elevations of the dangerous mountain.
They thrilled us with their accounts of what they had seen and experienced while searching for the elusive Ark that carried its precious cargo of eight souls and living creatures through the greatest cataclysm ever to impact planet Earth.
At the meeting was a friend, Elfred Lee, who had climbed the mountain four times himself. Providentially, he had met one eyewitness of the Ark, Georgie Hagopian, who had lived near Mt. Ararat as a boy and whose uncle had taken him to see the Ark in the 1900-1908 time frame.
His uncle hoisted Hagopian up from a structure onto the deck, which allowed him to actually walk topside on the deck of the Ark.
Elfred Lee is an archaeological illustrator and internationally-known artist, and with his artistic expertise while interviewing Hagopian over several hours in 1971, drew exactly what he said the Ark looked like.
This eyewitness account of the description of the Ark is now featured in movies, paintings and many books.
A highlight of the 1986 Ark-A-Thon was a living eyewitness of the Ark who spoke to us about his experience of climbing Mt. Ararat in 1943 when unusually warm weather had allowed ice and snow to melt enough to expose the Ark.
Due to God’s timing, Ed Davis was led up the mountain by Kurdish friends and allowed to witness a scene that few in history have ever experienced.
While at the Ark-A-Thon, Lee and Davis spent many hours together while Lee drew and carefully documented the Ark’s appearance as eyewitness Davis described what he had seen on Mt. Ararat.
Davis described the Ark as having been split into two sections with the broken ends exposed, allowing him to see three open decks with a center gallery that ran the length of the Ark.
A low window was constructed that ran on top of the outside of the Ark. Lee later turned this drawing into a painting.
Since Hagopian’s earlier sightings of the Ark, part of the Ark had broken off and was located across the small canyon away from the larger portion of the it.
From Davis’ later description of the Ark, apparently the end of the Ark had become unsupported with meltwater eroding its underside, causing the end to break off and be washed over to the other side.
Ed Davis described several oil lamps, tools, cage doors, pottery jars, bowls, and pitch he saw at his friend’s house near the mountain where he stayed before and after the climb. He was told those relics were scattered across the canyon apparently after the Ark broke apart.
His friend’s family members were guardians of the Ark site and carefully watched over it and anything that came from it. To them it was a holy site not to be desecrated in any way.
They told him no one was allowed at the Ark site except by permission. As if to place emphasis on that point, they showed Davis two human legs sticking out from ice on the mountain.
In Elfred’s interviews with the two eyewitnesses of the Ark, he told us their descriptions of the Ark were so similar that it “made the hairs on the back of his neck stand up.”
Ed Davis and Georgie Hagopian had never met or heard of one another, having been separated in life by continents where they lived.
In 2016, we attended the second Ark-A-Thon held in Glen Rose, Texas, and learned that recent, deep core drillings in the snow and ice on Mt. Ararat have exposed some exciting discoveries.
There is far too much to tell about what we gained from these two events without adequate time to cover at least the major points.
My wife and I were privileged to attend the only two Ark-A-Thons ever held and especially blessed to meet Ed Davis and many of those hardy individuals who are exploring for the Ark of Noah.