This being the year in which we celebrated 25 years of marriage, we decided that the two of us would venture out on a trip and leave our dear children home alone to run the farm, keep the gardens, and have some fun while mom and dad are gone!  We got on a plane on a Monday morning and flew to Seattle, WA.  After we rented a car, drove to the famous Pike Place Market, and had a quiet supper at a Mexican cafe, we found a motel on our way to our destination-a cabin retreat just 5 miles from Mt. Rainier National Park.  Our second day was spent sleeping in, grocery shopping, and driving about 2 hours to the cabin.  Oh, and we spent an hour browsing the book section of Goodwill just because it was a vacation and we felt like it!
The cabin was just lovely-cozy, comfortable, and complete with its own outdoor hot tub!
We spent most of the the first two days indoors because of the almost constant rain!  But it was time well spent since we had brought along our own marriage seminar- “Love and Respect” a dvd series by Emerson and Sarah Eggerichs.  These messages reminded us of God’s Word to husbands and wives to love and respect each other.  Eph 5:33 ” Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.”  Both Emerson and his wife, Sarah, gave us many practical examples of how this looks in daily life.  
During a small break in the downpour we took a drive to acquaint ourselves with the park.  We admired this lovely waterfalls beside the road with an stone bridge over it.
We decided to cook our own food while we stayed at the cabin-lots of fresh veggies & fruit, some whole grains, and meat on the grill in the evening. Oh, and some dark chocolate was consumed by one of us to keep the diet well balanced!
Friday we woke up to clear, sunny skies!  Yeah! We put on our hiking shoes, packed a few snacks & some water, and drove to the park.  Our first major hike was 8 miles round trip.   It was  challenging, exhilirating, and exhausting.  Marlin and I are a great team-when I wanted to turn back he encouraged me to keep going and when he felt like he was done for the day I would ask him if we could hike a little further. 🙂  There is nothing quite like hiking 4 miles, uphill nearly ALL THE WAY, and then standing there just breathless and in awe of God’s beauty!  I truly don’t know how anyone can question God’s creation.

 We really had not made plans to go on such a long and vigorous hike but the Lord provided us with the clearest, most refreshing, ice-cold water I have ever had from a lovely stream on the mountain.

  At the end of our hike we saw a field blooming with these lovely, white flowers. Later someone told us that these flowers bloom just one week each year so we were there at just the right time!

 The next day we woke up to another clear day and were ready to hike again.  On our hike the day before someone had recommended that we do a 4 mile round trip hike to a waterfalls called “Comet Falls”.  It was not quite as intense as the day before, but it was still an uphill climb with more breathtaking views.  We hiked beside the stream almost all the way to the top.

 One interesting little detail about our trip was that when we got to the car rental place, they didn’t have any economy or budget cars left, so they offered us this lovely convertible.  It was a great opportunity to “give thanks” and also to make our boys back home just a little VERY jealous!

After our early morning hike, we drove back to our cabin to pack up and check out of the cabin.  Then we drove to the top of the mountain to do one last hike.  This one was only 2 miles but it was a beauty! As we walked we could see why it was called the “The Panoramic”.  Everywhere we looked it was just one long line of snow topped mountains, trees, and the bluest sky.

 We went up the where the slopes were covered with snow.  Only the VERY serious hikers go beyond this point.  We saw them returning from their 2-4 day hike equipped with hiking boots, poles, and back packs.

 We saw the brightest colors of blooms you can imagine growing in these high elevations!

Sunday morning we went to church with our dear friends, John and Cassie, from IA.  They were visiting Cassies’s parents, who live in Washington.  After lunch at their church, we drove around Seattle and ended up at the famous Crabpot for supper.
 With fresh seafood on the menu, it was a delicious meal.
 When our waiter found out that were celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary, he treated us to this amazing dessert pie!  

 We completed our trip by a 1 day excursion by ship to the Butchart Gardens on Vancouver Island, BC, Canada.  It was a dream of Marlin’s to take me to these world famous flower gardens because he knows my passion for growing things and my love for all things beautiful in nature.

 Words cannot even describe the result of one woman’s dream back in the early 1900’s.  Jennie Butchart wanted of turning an old rock quarry into a flower garden.  Now, more than a century later, her descendants still keep up 50 acres of breathtakingly beautiful public gardens.
 After touring the gardens for about 4 hours we had just enough time to walk downtown Victoria, get some fresh cherries for an afternoon snack, and enjoy the beauty of this quaint old city.
 And we’ll never forget this character who played his guitar while humming the harmonica and tapping  the foot drums!!
 After another 3 hour ride back to Seattle, we ate some clam chowder before taking a nice wild taxi ride back to our motel.  I don’t think we’ll ever know if our taxi driver was possessed, drunk, or just mad but in the hour drive (which should have taken 20 minutes), he ran a red light, screeched his brakes too many times to count, and crisscrossed the city at speeds which made my life flash before me many times!!  After praying and grabbing my dear husband’s hand, I quietly sang songs of Scripture to comfort myself.  Exhausted, we fell into our bed around 11:00 knowing that we had to check out by 5:00 a.m. the next morning!  Thankfully, our bus ride to the airport and our flight home were uneventful.  And waiting for us at the airport were Chelsy, Hudson, and Rebecca to take us back to home sweet home!
We are so thankful or our dear children who were so faithful in doing all the chores and keeping the home fires burning while were celebrating this milestone in our lives.  Most of all, we are thankful for God’s grace and His redeeming love.  Without that, our marriage would probably be another statistic in a world of divorce, pain, and heartache. 
{posted by Becky}


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Leave a Reply
  1. It looks and sounds like you both had a wonderful trip to celebrate! Thank you for your example of a godly marriage — one that has withstood the test of time! Congratulations on 25 years, Mr. and Mrs. Bontrager!

  2. I'm so glad you two were able to have this adventure together. =) And the hikes look awesome – those waterfalls are stunning! Thank you so much for your beautiful example – happy anniversary! Looking forward to seeing you all soon. =)

  3. First congratulations on 25 years. Enjoy the adventures of your family. So glad you could spend some time on the beautiful Northwest Coast of North America.
    I used to live beside Butchard gardens and they are amazing. One correction; you were on Vancouver Island, in the city of Victoria, B.C. ,Canada. Not Victoria Island.

  4. Beautiful pictures. Congratulations on 25 years of marriage. =) Anyone can see that you two are commited to each other, and to God. May The Lord bless you richly with many more years of marriage. Thank you for your example.
    -Abby Allen

  5. Ben and I were there at that same place a few years ago. Loved seeing your pictures of your adventure! You are so right, our creator is amazing. I stand in awe of his lovely handiwork. Happy anniversary to you and Marlin. Your life is a wonderful testimony that marriages still last til death do us part. Ben and I will be married for 18 years in Dececember. Hugs to you and your family! Merry

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