Trinity Wallace of Libby tied for best essay overall in the 2016 FSPW Scholarship Contest

Finding the bigger picture

By Trinity Wallace

I have always been captivated by nature; nature has a way of making my first-world problems seem little compared to the vast majority of the world. Any chance I get I am out and about exploring and finding new places to adventure. It is hard for me to pick my favorite experience, because all of them have been very influential in shaping how I see the world today, but I can narrow it down to the time I hiked into a secluded mountain lake with my family this past summer. Little Spar Lake is a four-mile hike deep in grizzly country. The wildlife and scenery are breathtaking, with the trail crossing over creeks and winding through the forest.

When the trail opens up to reveal the crystal blue waters nestled in the middle of nowhere, it gives one the feeling of vastness and peace. The lake and shale rocks that line it are untouched by man which gave my family the perfect opportunity to unplug from everyday life and truly appreciate all that our part of the country possesses. I want my little sister and generations after her to have the opportunity to witness this beauty and help preserve it for others as well.

When the lake first came into view, I remember the feeling I had. It was as if someone had taken the air from my lungs. In that moment I was taken back from all the complex norms of society today. I was left speechless in the presence of such vast simplicity. I continued my journey to the edge of the lake, through the tall rice grass and over the rough rocks. When I arrived at the water’s edge I sat upon a large, protruding rock that allowed me to sit suspended over the water. Sitting on this perfectly placed rock, I was taken to a place where my thoughts could roam free. Sitting under the vast, blue sky I felt small compared the tremendous amount of space that encompassed me. I remember how differently I looked at things. I was not critical of the lake’s elegance. I was appreciative. But more than that I was worried. I was worried that later generations would not have the opportunity to experience such eye opening beauty that the world presents for us. I worry that we take this world for granted. We as humans use things so cheaply, with the feeling that everything can be replaced. We cannot replace what we destroy in nature,
and I fear that one day we will live with the feeling of guilt and regret for our actions.

As I sat upon this rock, with all this roving around my mind, I couldn’t shake the feeling of hope. Although I was worrisome for the future, I was also hopeful. I have hope that society can change our conventional ways. The idea that one can be happy without all of these extra luxuries has been stuck in my mind since that day. This thought has affected the way I want to spend my future and how I will dedicate my time. On my walk back to my family’s vehicle, I felt like a different person. I felt more understanding of the things around me, but I also wanted to make a stand. I want to show people that you do not need technology to see the bigger picture because the bigger picture is right in front of all of us, if only one opens the window.

Trinity Wallace was a co-winner of the Friends of Scotchman Peaks Wilderness Scholarship Essay competition for 2016. She shared the honors with her Libby High School classmate Kaysha Hermann. Watch for Kaysha’s essay in a future Western News. These essays were picked as the best from graduating seniors in Libby, Troy, Thompson Falls and Noxon, Montana,  and Sandpoint, Priest River and Clark Fork, Idaho. 

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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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