Voices in the Wilderness – Arrow Christopherson

The Beauty and Joy of the Wild

When I was a young boy, my father took me on my first camping trip to a mountain lake, just the two of us. We live in a remote region in the woods, and had to go way up into the mountains to find a spot to make camp. There was a flat spot that we were able to drive our car into and park. My father showed me what materials I needed to gather to make a fire. I gathered them up and he let me try to start a fire with a magnesium stick, which I spent hours trying to do but I was unable, so we took a break and went for a hike around the lake.

A couple hours later, we were almost back to our campsite when we saw a moose drinking water from the lake. It was still rather far away but we still stopped and let it finish before making our way back to our campsite. My father brought out some fishing poles from the car. I had never gone fishing before, so I was pretty excited to try it out. We put worms on our hooks and fished for a couple hours. My father and I bonded over that trip and he told me that if I want to know how to survive in the wild then I should know how to fish. He said if you know how to fish, you can survive just about anywhere.

I caught a fish and we kept it for dinner. My dad taught me how to gut, skin, and cook the fish. Eating that fish around the campfire was so rewarding and will always be one of the best memories of my father. I then kept trying to start my own fire about five feet away from the main one with the magnesium stick but I still could never get it.

We stayed up until around ten p.m. while he told me stories before we went to bed in the car. I remember listening to the sounds of nature and how peaceful it was. There were whoo’s from owls, howling of coyotes, and the sound of the wind blowing through the trees. When we woke up, we cleaned up our campsite as well as some other trash left from people before us. As we worked, we found the tracks of the coyotes we were hearing the night before not to far away from our camp.

I didn’t want to leave when it was time to go. I wanted to stay and catch more fish and spend time in the wild. On the way home, we stopped at a spot that had so many morel mushrooms. As we walked through the woods, my dad taught me which ones were poisonous and which ones were edible. He had a little book that showed the different types of mushrooms and he showed me the proper way to harvest them. We picked some to bring home to share with the rest of our family. This was my favorite experiences in the wild by far, spending time exploring nature and laughing with my father. I wouldn’t trade this memory for anything in the world.

Arrow is a graduating Senior from Clark Fork High School. They submitted this essay for FSPW’s high school scholarship contest. Stay tuned for more winning essays from students across Idaho and Montana.

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About The Author:

Rose wears many hats within FSPW as well as the greater Sandpoint community. You can find her working behind the scenes for the Friends, coaching kids mountain biking and nordic skiing, or out on the trail enjoying nature.

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