We started the final leg of our outbound journey with an early morning breakfast in the basement of First Lutheran Church of Bozeman.

Some say carpets make a difference in how well one rests, some thought that perhaps exhaustion was what made the difference, and one or two lucky travelers actually slept on a sofa. Regardless of the environment there was general agreement that all slept better than the night before. The author notes that we set a pretty low bar the night before.

Worship in the morning was a special service for Independence Day. The congregation was very welcoming, and we were also surprised meet up with a church from Prior Lake, MN also on their way to Shoshone. After some mingling and coffee, we started our mountain drive into Idaho. Some stomachs in our group are more acclimated to driving in the plains and prairies and felt a little queasy.

As the mountain driving increased, so did our anticipation for the upcoming week. Leaving I-90 after many miles, we started our trek up to Shoshone Base Camp. Pulling into camp, we were greeted by a familiar face, Andrew Wingren, who is working in Idaho and was able to join us for the week. After checking in and completing registration, we had some chill time to check out our surroundings and lodgings. All campers stayed in Big Creek. One side of the building was designated for guys and the other for girls and both had comfy bunk beds.

Soon the whole group was assembled. Campers from New Mexico, Washington, and three groups from Minnesota comprised our group of sixty-one. We congregated in the quad of camp to meet our counselors and learn about our week. We met our servant teams for the week, and got to know them better during our evening meal. The service teams designated each member with a leadership role – “chow hounds” fixed meals for their team each day, “quartermasters” rounded up tools needed for each day, “fire starters” led devotions and prayers, the “guidebook” made sure the group arrived at the correct destination, and the “chronicler” took pictures to record the work being done.

We had an abbreviated campfire discussion that night so that those who were interested could watch the fireworks in Murray, a small town a few miles down the road. Watching the fireworks in north Idaho was definitely a new experience for our youth. Yes, we were at the town dump, and there was that one firework that veered a little off course, but we ooohed and aaahed and enjoyed the evening. It was a festive end to a long day!

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