“Roads? Where we’re going, we don’t need roads.”

We went on a wild adventure in 2014 to Denali National Park. We had one goal: chase bears. We ended up being the chased. I will tell that story later.

They have an interesting rule in the park – find your own route. There are no trails in the majority of Denali. And for good reason. It’s one of the last wild spaces left in America, and they want to keep it free of any sign of man. Aside from the road that we traveled via bus to our drop off zone, we didn’t see any sign of trail or human. Only wild tundra, vast open spaces covered in native shrubs, an occasional moose and grizzly, and thousands of vertical feet of ridges.

I’ve spent most of my hiking days in the Cascades, which are covered in trails, and the rules are quite opposite – stay on the trail no matter what. There is a sense of comfort being on a trail. I know it leads somewhere, that someone has gone before me, it’s on a map, and if I stay on trail, I will get to my destination. While I prefer the open space of the Denali tundra, I couldn’t help but feel this lingering sense of being lost. Even though visibility goes for miles, there is no clear marker of where I am or where I’m headed.

How often have we felt that as a man, husband, father, human. No trails left by those who went before us; no clear destination of where we are going. If we don’t have the trail to lead us, or any real markers, how do we know where we are going? Sure, we have the Bible, but what if no one showed us how to read it?

The work we are doing now is forging a new trail for the generations after us, starting with our bride and kids. Like the ancient trails in the Andes and Alps, or jungles of China that have existed for thousands of years. While it’s noble to find our way in the unmarked territory of life, it is our duty to forge a trail for our sons and daughters. To show them the clear path to Jesus, life, hope, love, forgiveness, career, financial responsibility, a healthy marriage… Many of us and our fathers and their fathers weren’t given that gift. But we get the opportunity to give that gift, starting right now.

Location: Denali National Park

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