It’s all about the Feather


We are just finishing up our Young Author books, and Braden decided to write about his most impactful hiking experience.


Even though he is extremely athletic and loves sports, to our dismay, this boy does not like to hike. However, once that boy gets to the turnaround point, his attitude does the same, so as long as we can get him out there, we know we can get him back with no issues at all ūüėȬ† (In fact, here is a picture of that same boy on this particular day, running back).

rockwell5  rockwell4

When we were in Glacier National Park in 2014, we decided to take a ranger guided hike to several waterfalls and back in the Two Medicine area.



We were with another family that we had met the day before, the Day family, and we couldn’t wait to hike with them. We figured if we neglected to tell the kids the hike was 9 miles, they would ‘forget’ they were actually ‘hiking.’¬† Besides, there were fun things to look forward to along the way like this cool suspension bridge!




Four and a half miles in, we had reached Rockwell Falls,


rockwell1  rockwell2

our destination at the end of our trail.  Braden discovered the most beautiful feather I have ever seen.


Normally, when our kids find one of their ‘treasures,’ I secretly hope they will disappear, which is surprisingly common given the number of unmentionables in our van upon returning. This one was different though – fluffy and white, with beautiful dark spots, almost certainly the snowy owl feather Braden claimed it to be. As I told him that we would have to keep his feather safe, I was whisked away by the girls’ pleas to ‘pee in the woods’ for the first time ever.


Minutes later, Braden (the boy who always seemed to get the raw end of the deal) reported that he had put his feather in his pocket, but that it had disappeared. We looked all over for his feather to no avail.   We continued on our way until my heartbroken middle man began to cry.


I turned around once again, with no intent to move forward until his treasure was found. Once again, we did not find it.


I promised to give Braden the first feather I found, knowing full well it was likely that the next one would be one of the common ugly feathers that disgusted me so. For three miles, I walked with my head down instead of watching for bears like I should while hiking in grizzly country,


searching frantically for a feather to bring my poor guy out of his sorrow. After stopping at another waterfall, we continued on the last mile of our hike. I realized I would not find Braden’s replacement that day.

rockwell6  rockwell3

Almost instantaneously, I glanced up to see a look of pure joy spread across my son’s face as a gorgeous, white, spotted feather twirled down from above and he caught it as it neared his head. (I think Braden captured it perfectly in his book illustration).


Had I not witnessed the whole event, I have to admit I would not have believed it myself. Our entire family stopped to ask him how this special feather had twirled down from the sky, a perfect and miraculous replacement, and Braden responded, “I prayed for it when I lost my feather and God answered my prayer.”

Unbelievable and truly amazing. Not once, but twice in one week (I will share the other occasion another time), our family’s prayers were immediately and beautifully answered. I feel so blessed to have witnessed these faith-building events, and know without a doubt, that these journeys and experiences will be a part of us for the rest of our lives and are molding us into the people we are becoming. ¬†So often, we want ¬†questions answered on our timeline, but in the long run, it all makes more sense and works out even better than we hope when we wait to hear God’s response. ¬†This one was loud and clear. ¬†Sometimes, we look down and keep trekking, when all we really have to do is look up!


“If you believe,

you will receive

whatever you ask

for in prayer.”

                Matthew 21:22


6 thoughts on “It’s all about the Feather”

  1. Braden, loved the story. Suzy, you might have left out a page or two, as there is no mention of Braden finding the first feather. I really want to read the whole story! Braden I enjoyed many of the details you included in your illustrations. The grizzly’s long claws was my favorite! You are a very good artist! You had some strong word choices as well Your theme of the story was strong. The lesson I learned was that even when things can go bad in life, one has to keep trying, or “keep looking up”, for the positive way out of that bad situation. Sometimes like your story the “feather does reappear” rather quickly‚Ķwhile other times the solution may not appear for several days or even years. Still, we have to keep looking up in life! Thanks Braden, your story inspired me today! When I get to Glacier National Park some day, I too will be looking for a “special feather”!!!!! Keep reading! Keep writing! Gary Paulsen is my favorite author. He wrote many books about the great outdoors! “Hatchet” is my all time favorite! I loved the real photos as well Suzy‚Ķgreat post with Braden’s illustrations and the real photos of the actually event!

    1. Thank you Jim! Braden was thrilled to hear your feedback. I had originally posted only a few of the pages of Braden’s book, but I updated the post to include the others for you. Enjoy!

      1. Thanks‚Ķhey, I wanted to read the WHOLE story once I started. Years ago I read a neat book about snowy or spotted owls (I believe) in the state of Oregon or Washington. A little boy found an abandoned baby and wanted to raise it. The major problem he encountered was his DAD who happened to be a lumber man and did not want endangered owls in the area stopping his work! I think the title was “Owls in the Shower”. Braden might enjoy the book (children’s book).

  2. This story is one of my favorites of all your camping stories!! I remember you coming home that year and telling me this right away. What a wonderful experience! And B’s book looks awesome. So glad he is sharing this story with his class!!!

  3. What a man amazing lesson to learn at such a young age. Wonderful story, loved all his artwork. ūüôā

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *