I was raised in Southwestern Alaska. I was raised to gather, subsist, and survive off of the land. I was raised to understand that we do not have control over the weather, or animals, or the wilderness. I was raised to respect what was given to us, and the land that we inhabit.
Growing up in smaller communities along the coast and the Kuskokwim, I learned that the wilderness is massive. There are so many places to learn about, navigation, animals, berries, greens, and fish. I learned that we must respect the Maker that provided all of this for us. We must utilize as much as possible the resources that are taken from the land. We must respect the power of the wilderness, because at any time a mishap can occur and cause loss of life.
When out in the wilderness, I feel a sense of serenity and curiosity. The sounds of nature are therapeutic, yet at the same time, I never know what I am going to come across. The Wilderness has always been a place to gather food while coming into touch with the sound and feel of nature, and the land that surrounds me.
The wilderness to me is also a place where many have perished. I have lost loved ones to drowning, falling, freezing, and disorientation. It is a place that must be respected and used carefully.