Well, our summer of ministry at Theodore Roosevelt National Park has come to a close. The last month of the season was tough. We both worked long hours and had very little time for rest. The Medora Musical came to a close on September 10, and it was a very happy day! While we greatly enjoyed our jobs and time in Medora, we were happy to be done with the season. I (Susan) spent a few days working into the postseason helping with inventory and Lane continued with his regular duties at the golf course. Our work contracts ended on September 15.
Our last worship service was the Sunday of Labor Day weekend. After months of worship services in beautiful weather, we finally had our first experience hosting worship in the cold rain. The weather changed very quickly in Medora. It was summer one day, and the next day it was fall. Despite the cold and rain, we continued on with our worship service. We sat chairs up under a covered patio area, put on layers, brought our warm beverages, and had a meaningful worship service. There was a small crowd of about 10 (the size of the crowd shrunk as the season came to a close.) The people that were at our last service came to almost every service. We are so thankful for the people that encouraged and supported us to the very end, despite the cold and rain!
Each of us also made friendships that will last well beyond our time in Medora. We were blessed to walk alongside so many people on their faith journeys. Mostly, the relationships we made were with our awesome co-workers. I would not have made it through this summer without my amazing supervisors and co-workers. God certainly puts the right people in your life when you desperately need a friend or when someone else desperately needs a friend in you. One of the greatest joys of this summer was being able to be a friend to someone feeling low or alone. This truly is one of the greatest aspects of ministry. God created us to live in community and we were able to create community in our seasonal work environment this summer. So, if you’re feeling low or alone, know that God is with you and will send the right people into your life. And, if you are lucky enough to have a strong Christian community, say a special prayer of thanks for these wonderful people in your lives.
After we wrapped things up in Medora, we took a trip to Glacier and Yellowstone National Parks. The day after we ended our jobs, we headed out to Montana and spent the night in a hotel. It was amazing! After a summer in the camper, sleeping in a real bed and having a real shower were indescribable! The next day we travelled across the Canadian border to Waterton Lakes National Park, which is part of the Wateron-Glacier International Peace Park. Crossing the border produced a little bit of anxiety and I had to abandon my pepper spray at the crossing. The park was beautiful! We were so happy to see great mountains, tall trees, lakes, and rivers. We did some hiking and explored the little town of Wateron Lakes. It was a cute little place and we enjoyed some homemade pie.
After exploring the Canadian side of the park, we headed back to Montana. The next few days we explored and hiked Glacier National Park. The weather wasn’t great, but we managed to have a good time despite the rain and clouds. We drove the Going to the Sun Road, hiked to Hidden Lake, Avalanche Lake, and explored Lake McDonald. We also drove around nearby Flathead Lake, ate at a delicious BBQ joint, tasted Huckleberry Wine, and enjoyed relaxing at the hotel. Glacier is our favorite National Park that we have visited so far!
Once we had explored Glacier, we made the drive to Yellowstone National Park. We drove the scenic Beartooth and Chief Joseph Highways from Red Lodge, MT to Cody, WY. After a day of driving, we were excited to explore Yellowstone National Park. However, our first day in Yellowstone was less than delightful. The weather was not great and we were both exhausted, not a good combination for a day spent in the great outdoors. We ended up driving the Southern Loop, exploring the West Thumb Geyser Basin, and going to Old Faithful. Thanks to the rain and our less than great moods, we headed back to the hotel a little early and indulged in Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream (they make dairy free!) The next day in Yellowstone was much better. After indulging in Ben & Jerry’s, a good night of sleep, and better weather, we explored the Northern Loop of Yellowstone. We really enjoyed the Northern Loop…less geysers, and more trees, water, and animals. We walked around the Upper and Lower Falls of the Yellowstone River and the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River. We also toured the Mud Volcano and Mammoth Springs areas. We headed back to Cody via the Lamar Valley and Chief Joseph Scenic Highway…and on the way we saw a ton of wildlife. We saw elk, bison, moose, and wolves. It was a very nice day.
At the moment, we are headed back to Medora to get our camper. That means we officially have one more night before we are headed back to North Carolina. Tomorrow morning we are excitedly headed back to the Land of the Pines!