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ABOUT

Welcome to Adventure Awaits Outdoors and thank you for following our family on our little adventures! Hopefully, you can find some useful information and be encouraged to get out and enjoy God’s great outdoors while you are here. After all, that is why we created this site.

There are a lot of great hiking blogs, vlogs, and podcasts out there, but we have noticed a few things about many of the ones that we follow. First, they are young, second, they are physically fit (skinny…they are skinny, they look like runners, not like a middle-aged father of two that also enjoys BBQ and naps) third they are thru-hikers and man alive, that gear is expensive! Now we want to make it clear that we are not saying that any of those things are bad but that’s just not where we're at. Actually, a very small portion of the people we meet on the trail fit that description.  Most of us have never been on a thru-hike, we struggle to find time to get out on the trail at all, have kids (many have adult kids, there are a lot of retirees out on the trails), are on a tight budget and some of us may not be in the best shape of our lives…but we still get out there and go adventuring. If you are debating about hitting the trail, but you are not sure if you are in good enough shape or have sticker shock over the price of backpacking equipment, or are not sure about taking the kids, we want to encourage you to get out and go. Hopefully, we can help to provide some resources to help you get out on the trail to your next adventure.

You can do this! So, for those who are not sure if you can physically handle hiking and backpacking. {First off the disclaimer. we are NOT medical professionals, in fact, Dan is probably one of the last people you should be taking medical advice from….How does the typical disclaimer go?... Before participating in any strenuous activity consult your doctor, or something like that} Ok, back to the regularly scheduled program. If you have any heart or respiratory issues you really should consult your doctor. That being said, they will probably tell you that getting out and getting some low-impact exercise will be good for you. Start small! You can’t (or at least shouldn’t) go straight from couch potato or desk jockey into doing 20 miles a day hikes. If you have joint or stability issues, start on paved pathways that are in many state and city parks. If you’re not built like an Olympic runner, so what? Neither is Dan, in fact, he's 6’1” 280, overweight, bad back, don’t know what is going on with this knee but it hurts. Actually, there’s a lot of days where it seems like everything hurts. Honestly, there’s a lot of long, hard miles on this body and years of abuse but we’ve found that the more we get out and go hiking or biking the better we feel. Strangely enough, a 20+ mile hike doesn’t seem to hurt nearly as much as sleeping in or tying shoes….seriously. But again, we stress ease yourself into it and know your limits but we will almost guarantee that you can get out and explore to some extent, and the more you do it the further you will be able to go.

Our Adventure Together {Dan's Story} My wife, Angela, and I both come from families who loved the outdoors and grew up hunting, fishing, boating, camping, and hiking. I have spent almost my entire life in Northern Michigan. That is a blessing that I can actually partially attribute to my wife, as she is the one who recommended (well insisted, oh, ok demanded) that we move back north shortly after I finished college. That move, along with the passing of my father prompted a return to my roots after 5 years of art school. A return to the north woods. Nearly every vacation that my wife and I have taken together since then has involved hiking, camping ….or Zoos/aquariums  (but that’s a whole other passion for another day). We try to take a yearly trip to the western end of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, or as I like to call it "Da Mudder Land", to go hiking and/or backpacking.  We currently live not far from the North Country Trail and often section hike it. I logged 100+ miles on the NCT last year (I know that’s not much for some, but I was excited to accomplish it) and am encouraging our Trail Life boys and American Heritage Girls and their families to do the same this year. Last year was the first year that our kids (boy 13 & girl 8) started going with us on overnight backpacking trips. They had obviously gone camping and hiking many times before, but this was the first they had to haul all their gear on their backs rather than in the car. We broke them in right with a 6-day, 5-night hike through the Porcupine Mountains. I have had many adventures over the years, a few of which I hope to share with you all here.

 

So, what’s with all this God stuff? If you are asking that question, I can sort of relating. After all, I wasn’t always known as Pastor Dan. In fact, I used to go by a very different name, Evil Dan. It’s a long story that I won’t go fully into here,  but am sure I will eventually. I will say this, that up until I met my late father-in-law, I was very anti-church, anti-religion, anti-God. I also struggled pretty hard with alcohol addiction. I kept it pretty hidden from most. I mean, everyone knew I drank and on occasion drank a lot, but few knew to what extent. Drinking was just sort of how I handled life. I struggled with anxiety, especially socially, and would just try and drink until I was comfortable, which usually meant I drank until I ran out of booze or money or passed out. It all came to a head in the spring of 2007 when I was arrested for a DUI. It was one of the worst, yet one of the best things that ever happened to me. I was a young dad, had a wife and a newborn son, we had just bought our first house. You know, trying the whole responsible adult thing (while having no clue). I was ashamed of the arrest and knew I needed to quit drinking, but had tried several times before to no avail. I had just enough faith, perhaps the size of a mustard seed if you will, to pick up a Bible that had belonged to my late father-in-law and started reading. I couldn’t put it down. I ended up reading through Matthew, then Mark, then Luke, then John. Which was a miracle in and of itself. At that point in my life, I was not a reader. I could have counted the number of books I had read on one hand and I just read through all 4 gospels in one overnight session. Somewhere in the middle, I flipped back to this “Plan of Salvation” thing that I had seen at the front of the book. That’s when I answered Christ’s call to follow Him. Not in a church building, but in my fuzzy green chair, in my living room, in the middle of nowhere UP (That's Michigan's Upper Peninsula for you non-Michiganders).  In my own awkward, tear-filled way I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior and committed myself to follow Him. I remember being floored by the fact that the Jesus in the Bible was nothing like the velvet Jesus you see hanging on the wall at your grandmother's house. He was rugged, he was humble but strong. He was not what the religious leaders of the time expected. He was hardcore, He was sort of a rebel. Fully dedicated to the Father yet defiant to tradition and society. I was hooked. Now I wish I could tell you that everything has been sunshine and roses ever since, but that would not be true. After all, where's the adventure in that?  What I can say is this; I have made many regretful decisions in life but the one that I will never regret is the one I made that day I knelt before my green fuzzy chair. Although life still has hardships I know that I will never go through them alone. My faith has carried me through some difficult and even dark times. But, oh the adventures I’ve had! I celebrate 14 years of sobriety this year, 11 years of ministry (7 of which were camp ministry),  17 years of marriage, and in September, 15 years of fatherhood and two crazy kids. As I look back at it all, I can't help but think of Jeremiah 33:3 “ ‘Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.’

Adventure Awaits my Friends!

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Dan and Angela K.

SERVE GOD, LOVE PEOPLE, CARE FOR CREATION, REPEAT

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