Brandon Piazolla — Best Essay 2013 for Noxon High School

A Most Memorable Wilderness Experience”

Brandon Piazzola

I have enjoyed hiking, fishing, and spending time in our beautiful area for as long as I can remember. I feel so lucky to have been able to grow up here and I have many great memories, but one sticks out in my mind especially. About two years ago, my family and our friends hiked up to my favorite spot- Little Spar Lake.

The weather was perfect and we all looked forward to a relaxing day of fishing, hiking, and spending time with each other. We drove to the trailhead and started trekking our way up the mountain. The smell of fresh air along with the fragrant pine trees accompanied us along the way. There is nothing better than breathing in that fresh mountain air. The wildlife around the trail was abundant. Deer, birds, squirrels and many other animals were all around. My little sisters loved the plants and wildflowers that ran alongside the trail and just couldn’t wait to see what the lake looked like.

About a mile from the lake the trail narrowed and was surrounded by shrubs. We quickly realized that they were huckleberry bushes, a family favorite. We couldn’t pass up the opportunity to stop and eat a handful or two, and we ended up picking them for over half an hour. When we regained our sense of time we headed towards the lake again. As we continued up the trail we could tell we were close. There were pockets of snow everywhere and the small, bubbling stream was moving just a little bit faster. We were very excited!

In my opinion, there is nothing better than when you finally see the lake that you have been hiking towards for hours. As we arrived, we could see the looming rock peak that towered over the crystal clear water. It was hard to believe something can be so serene. We all just rested there for a while, soaking the scenery in. I finally decided to grab my fishing pole and headed for the lake. I casted out a small spinner and let it sink. Right as I started to reel in, I got a hit! I brought the fish in and it was a beautiful cutthroat trout about eleven inches long. I released the fish and caught another on my second cast, and then on my third and fourth. All day we kept bringing the fish in and had a blast doing it. My sister caught her first fish up there and that is an experience she will never forget. After a full day of fishing and having fun, we decided to head home.

Once we reached the bottom of the trail, we all agreed that that was the most fun we had ever had on a hike. We all got to spend a great day together in the outdoors doing what we love. Some of my best memories come from spending time with my family hiking. There are no distractions of technology, just us and the mountain.

When I have a family, I want to take them to all the lakes that and places that I have enjoyed as a teen. I want them to see the waterfalls at St.Paul Lake, the wildlife at Rock Lake, and to catch a cutthroat trout out of Little Spar Lake. I believe that everybody should be able to experience what we are lucky enough to experience in our beautiful part of the world.

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Categories: Blog
About The Author:

Sandy Compton has been program coordinator for Friends of Scotchman Peaks Wilderness since 2009. He is also a storyteller and author of both fiction and non-fiction books, and the publisher at

In addition to his other duties, he runs the FSPW All Star Trail Team (, which works on Forest Service trails in the Scotchman Peaks. He is a trail surveyor as well, and a C-Certified Crosscut Bucker/Feller and USFS National Saw Policy OHLEC instructor.

Sandy grew up on a small farm/woodlot at the south end of the proposed wilderness and lives there still. He is also board member of the National Wilderness Stewardship Alliance and a planning team member for the Northern Rockies Wilderness Skills Institute.

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