Voices in the Wilderness: Taryn Thompson, Scholarship Winner

I have never considered myself an outdoors-y person.

I prefer to stay inside where it is not too hot, not too cold, but just right, watching movies or reading a book. I remember one summer day when my mom told my family that we were going into the woods berry picking.  It was a hot day, well over 90?. We were going to a place with no cell service. I rolled my eyes, but hesitantly agreed to go just to please my mother’s wishes.  

After a long drive squished in the back seat between my two brothers, we made it to the picking spot.  My family grabbed our buckets and went our separate ways. The picking area was pretty wide open, so we could go on different paths to find the biggest and tastiest berries but could still see each to be safe. I decided to stay with my older brother, only because he did not seem thrilled to be here either, so at least we could keep each other entertained. We moseyed our way around the picking area and suddenly we found “The Spot.” 

The Spot we found was, in our novice minds, the greatest area for picking berries.  We were sure this spot would rank up there in the Top Ten best berry spots in all of western Montana. Our berry paradise was a chunk of land with bushes heavy with the biggest berries we have ever seen.  The best thing about our spot was that it is conveniently located in a shady area, with a pond a couple yards down a hill.  A nice cool spot with yummy berries and a pretty view. What could be better than that on a hot summer day?  

My brother and I staked claim to this spot and we got busy picking berries. If you were to ask my parents and little brother, they would tell you we ate more berries than we picked, but we will deny that to this day. While nothing spectacular happened while picking that day, like seeing a bear or eagle, I was able to hang out and have fun with my brother. We cracked jokes, picked berries, and told stories. I even laughed at him because he got chased by bees. When we grew tired of picking berries, we went down to the pond where there were all kinds of animals. We saw geese, fish, tadpoles, snakes, and bugs of all shapes and sizes.   We even caught a frog!  We laid in the sun, where my brother claimed he was working on his summer’s tan.  After eating a lunch my mom packed, we continued to pick (and eat) more berries. To make the afternoon picking more interesting, my brother challenged me to see who could find the biggest berry.

We ran all around, checking each bush until it was time to pack up and head home. Unfortunately, my brother was the winner since he found a berry that was bigger than my eye! At the end of the day, we realized that we had a fun time berry picking. On most days, we are usually occupied with technology and other activities, so my brother and I never really hung out like that before.

This day out in nature gave us time to clear our minds, get some fresh air, and just talk and have fun. We also found out that those berries taste really good on pancakes too!? 


Taryn Thompson is a graduating Senior from Libby High School. She 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:

Cameron Rasmusson is a writer and journalist who grew up in Scotchmans territory. While he now calls Sandpoint home, he spent his formative years in the natural beauty of Libby, Montana. From elementary to high school, he enjoyed the outdoor experiences that mountain towns provide.

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