We began our day in a WalMart parking lot in Riverton, Wyoming. We decided to drive to Lander, Wyoming for Mass at Holy Rosary Catholic Church. When we drove into the town of Lander, there was a sign giving the population at 7000 +. It was my turn to be at the back of the church with any loudmouths that we have. I always stay in the back of the church until just before Mass begins so that I’m not wasting any quiet time AnaClaire may give me by sitting in the church waiting for Mass to start. Anyway, as I was in the back of the church waiting, I was watching the people come in. I was utterly amazed at the number of people coming in. I finally asked the greeter whether this church served a wide area or if there were really that many Catholics in the area. She told me that there are a good many Catholics in the area. Of course, this is also where Wyoming Catholic College is located, so I knew there would be professors with their families living in the area. She also explained that many of the students from the early graduating classes have remained in the area and begun raising families, so their Catholic population is growing. I saw a lot of young families. The Mass was beautiful. What I heard of the homily was great – Charlie said it was probably in his top ten homilies he has ever heard.
After Mass, we drove to a nearby state park called Sinks Canyon. There was a beautiful rushing river, and we found a very inexpensive campground to stay in right beside the river. We dropped the camper off and left for a day of exploring.
The first thing that we did was drive to the nearby gravesite of Sacagawea. She was buried in a Native American cemetery that is still active. She was the Shoshone woman who travelled with her French trapper husband and baby with the Lewis and Clark expedition. She later settled with the Shoshone people in a nearby area. It was really amazing to see her grave, as well as some of the older graves there and very new ones.
After leaving there, Charlie and I remembered seeing a sign for St. Stephen’s Mission, so we decided to go see what that was all about. Just before we left, we discovered another Catholic mission that was close to the cemetery he had visited. When we arrived at St. Stephen’s, they were just getting ready for Mass so we were able to slip inside to see the church quickly before Mass began and then walk around the grounds a little. This had been a Jesuit mission church also.
Next we did a little grocery shopping and drove back to the campground to grill our burgers and hot dogs. This was only the second time that we have indulged in burgers and hot dogs, so they were a real treat. Charlie did such a good job cooking them. The kids played on the gigantic rocks for a while, and then we decided to go walk to the Wind River for a little bit. We were able to walk across the river on a swinging bridge. The kids loved it, but it made me a little nervous. We all made it over and back safely and decided not to hike too much more as it was getting to be dusk, and we really didn’t want to encounter some of the wildlife that might be out and about at that time of the evening.
After putting the kids to bed, Charlie and I went outside to see the stars. As the sky grew darker and darker, more and more stars were visible. It was magnificent! We didn’t have a huge sky to look at because we were camping in a canyon, but what we could see straight above us was a treat. It was such a beautifully clear night. We watched the stars for a while, pondering the beauty of God’s creations.