Wow, what a last few weeks it has been. I have to say that I underestimated the attention I could give to things that my adult world demanded.
I live in a schizophrenic state. On the one hand, this freejourner adventure is about the freedom from the conventional life and its relentless tyranny on the soul. On the other hand, it’s required some sorts of planning, structure and next steps for sanity.
We have had a mix of many different concoctions between structure and freedom, and I am not sure there is necessarily a freedom! I just know it is a good challenge that causes me to be completely engaged every day to love my family and be all there.
We have seen some astounding sites that made me think I was in heaven. We have seen both God’s work on this earth and man’s creations as well. Both are stunning and humble me in this world.
As I run through my Moleskine and think through the blur of events that have occurred over the last month with our family, I can only smile with pure delight.
I remember being in Glacier National with a radiant 70 year-old couple, among the many retired folks that kept smiling at us running up mountain peaks and jumping in and out of streams. This particular couple said to us what a few others said as well: “You are doing it right. Now is the time to be taking your kids on this adventure. I wish I would have done that.”
They were enjoying their later years, but they realized how fast life was moving.
I have always had my eye on the end. I know we are out of here in a few decades. I can still remember being in high school like it was yesterday, for God’s sake. Now I am a dad of three with a marriage, taxes and companies that I manage. It flew by in a blink of an eye.
So, I took it to heart. I am living into this amazing time with the kids and Sonya. I love them deeply, and I have so much fulfillment watching them laugh, play and stand in awe of the sites we are being transported to, all the while doing work and continually growing.
So, I will put out some more details, but here is more of my stream of consciousness joy over the last few weeks I wanted to share.
We hiked the Badlands and were in silence at the perfect stratification of the geological layers.
We were in awe of the work done on Mt. Rushmore.
We sensed we were in great wilderness and loved every moment of learning history and hiking around risky hikes up crazy ravines, crevices and rock faces.
We were hanging out with the bikers in Deadwood and loved the chilly nights camping and getting cozy in our REI gear. (You can see our gear in the sidebar or on this Pinterest board). Our family loves the outdoors and breathing in fresh mountain air.
We biked around Missoula for a break and swapped out gear that was bulky or not needed at the REI in Missoula. Then we headed into town and did some geocaching and ran around the river. The kids used their Lifestraw to drink out of the river and then did some dunking in the freezing currents. This was one of many times we would dare jump into mountain streams. It makes you feel alive.
Glacier National Park
This was Sonya’s dream to visit. We lived in a yurt for a week and had a blast! We cooked outside and slept inside.
Then we hit the trails. The mountain streams were amazing. We got too eager and I almost get swept away risking a crossing up river to explore. Not smart, but it kept me in check.
We visited Avalanche Lake, St. Mary’s Falls and Hidden Lake. It reminded me of days I was in the mountains in Germany during my Outward Bound days in high school. The smell, the cold and the beauty all hit me full force. If you haven’t been, you have to go. I can’t think of anything more beautiful I have seen in my life.
We jumped into glacial waters. Coldest water of my life. Amazing.
One of my favorite days was our family running back at a full clip for three miles on the Avalanche Trail run. I had a backpack on and people on the trail smiled and were bewildered. Little kids and a mom and dad trail running in the dark looked pretty gnarly. We loved it! We have a small cross-country team here.
This has turned into a home base. We plan on being here for a few weeks. The city has a great vibe. We hung out downtown and loved it. Then we were off to Banff in Canada.
Banff National Park
We crossed over to Canada after some harassment and memorable tensions with the Canadian customs over firearms, damaging our SUV tailgate and dealing with the comical situation of a family with small kids getting run through an interrogation chamber.
After that, being disconnected from internet and data was an adjustment for a couple of days. A bit of withdrawal that was easily overcome with the stunning beauty of glaciers in the mountains in Banff.
We ended up in Narnia, as one person called it, at Lake Louise and again, we ran miles of trails as a family and I have to say it was one of the most beautiful runs we have had.
Gabe jumped into the Lake and the thousands of comfy tourists just stared in amazement at this kid in glacial waters. We’re freejourners and we love it.
We have work and school to get done over the next several weeks. Nonetheless, we will be exploring and launching from Spokane in the mean time.
We have learned a lot and seen a lot. It’s been amazing and we’ll try and keep you up to date in the coming weeks.
One of these posts, I’ll write about the trenches and managing emotions, expectations, technology and gear.
From the high view snapshot, it’s been bliss. Thanks for reading.