Returning from Narnia

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It was the first week of August, 2011, and I was sitting in front of Glen Lake. Glen Lake sits at the foot of a huge expansive mountain in Glacier National Park. I was leading six other men on a backpacking expedition through some of God’s greatest creation in the lower 48.

And something was missing.

I had been leading men on other trips to Isle Royale and other wilderness trip throughout Michigan and absolutely loved it. It did something well for my soul.

But this time, there was an unfamiliar ache, and I wasn’t experiencing the joy of trips I’ve led before. Instead there was sadness within me.

As I sat there with my journal, I asked God what this was all about. Immediately, the first thought that came to my heart was I don’t want to ever do another trip out here unless my wife and kids can see and experience it first. Even though I was “working” as I was leading the men through a curriculum of self-exploration of their own masculine journeys, I could feel I was cheating my wife and family. Here I was out in God’s glory when my wife was at home (undoubtedly working much harder) with Hannah and Turner, who were nine and seven years old at the time.

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This realization, for just a moment, put a darker hue to the trip that was otherwise spectacular. But I made a decision that someday, I was going to show my wife and kids the grandeur that is Glacier National Park.

After four years of planning (one doesn’t make a trip like this without plenty of forethought, especially with kids who aren’t accustomed to long road trips), we set out on August 15, 2015 for a Miles Wild West Adventure. With pop-up camper in tow, our trusty 2006 Dodge Grand Caravan with 265,000 miles on it at the time piled through the miles and miles to get to our first destination: Glacier National Park.

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Glacier National Park is located in the northwest corner of Montana. It spans one-million acres and includes wildlife such as moose, grizzly bear, deer, mountain goats, big-horn sheep, and a large host of other critters not ordinarily seen in a Michigan forest.

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Time and time again on our trip we were delighted and overwhelmed with vistas so grand and so massive they literally took our breath away.

There was a deep satisfaction in my soul for all the prep work and time it takes to be away from home for two weeks. A desire was fulfilled. We hiked 25 miles in three days and on our first hike we came upon a young bull moose not 15 yards away from us grazing next to a stream near Grinnell Lake. We were on a small foot bridge and felt safe enough to take pictures and even do some short filming of this wondrous creature.

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We spent three days in Glacier, and the rest of our trip included visiting Yellowstone and the Grand Teton National Park.

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It was the adventure of a lifetime for our family. We experienced sights, smells, sounds, buffalo, elk, bald eagles, bears, beavers, pelicans (of all things) and generally just nature on steroids. At times I was overwhelmed with the Beauty of it all.

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Two weeks later we returned home and I parked the camper in the same place I always do. I looked around and noticed the house across the street had their lawn cut just as neatly as it was before we left. The man behind us, who was building a deck on his house, had not done any work on it. The neighborhood looked the same.

It was like we stepped through an ancient wardrobe, having experienced the adventurous, spectacular, heart-wrenching glory along with the fulfillment of our hearts desire, only to find that time had not changed when we returned.

We had been changed. We were back from Narnia, and the stories are alive to the four of us who dared to believe that such a trip could be a reality.

I hope you can take your journey soon.

-Kevin

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Father Son Weekend 256

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16 oz Drinking Glass

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