By: Cheyenne Wilson
Living in the Wind River Range is like nothing I have ever come close to experiencing in any way. Thought you could provide for yourself? Think again. Everything is new, it’s a whole other world in the back country.
Through the past two weeks we have learned many basic life skills, how to cook, keep ourselves warm, set up a tent or cooking tarp, and how to navigate all without the standard technology we have all grown up with. Most of the food we are cooking with have been made into powders or dehydrated in some way. We have to make everything from scratch because there is no mix or pre-made meals ready to go. I did not have much experience cooking before this program, so there was a lot to learn. In the beginning we were making simple things like rice and oatmeal. After just two weeks, we have adapted and can make things like cookies, pancakes, and pizzas. While they may not taste exactly like home they’re a nice reminder. There is always the cold to remind you just how much you miss home though. The only things we have to keep warm are our layers and the food we eat. It almost comes as a shock when you realize you can’t run inside and warm up and the cold becomes a constant, especially at night.
Living in the wilderness for the past two weeks has also taught me a lot about perseverance. Some days hiking to camp and then having to set up tents is absolutely exhausting. After a long day at home you can go crash on the couch and just relax. After a long day here, once you finally make it to camp you then have to scout a campsite, find water, set up the tents, and then spend about 2 hours cooking dinner. The work doesn’t stop when you get ‘home’ so you can’t either. Some of the days seem to have extra hours in them and it often feels like we have been out here for a month. We have no concept of time because we left our watches at home. So we are on the time of the sun. When the sun comes up, we’re up and when the sun goes down we follow close behind. Without the concept of time we are sometimes pressured because we don’t know how soon it’s going to get dark, but it is also more relaxing. Time doesn’t feel like its running away from you and like you are always running behind. Before leaving home, I felt like knowing the time and date was going to be the only thing connecting me to thte outside world. After being here for two weeks, I now feel like I was always on a time constraint and there weren’t enough hours in the day. I have come to really appreciate life without time.
During the past two weeks I have also learned to appreciate the little things. When you’re hiking and it feels like your legs are numb and your lungs are exploding then you look up and see incredible waterfalls or mountains that go on forever, you take a deep breath and continue with a smile on your face as you travel through God’s amazing work of art. After a long day when the sun goes down you can look up and see so much more than in the city. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many stars in all my life, not only can you see the starts, you can even see the Milky Way. It never ceases to amaze me no matter how many nights I spend looking at the sky, you can also see at least 5 shooting starts a night. Something that is unimaginable back home. I have not only learned to appreciate the things around me, but also the people. When we’re able to sit around the campfire at night and laugh about everything that has happened to us and then also be comforting when someone is having a hard time. I feel like we have formed a special bond because we are out here keeping each other alive and happy even in the hardest times. A day has not gone by that I felt hopeless or alone and I believe that is because of the people I have been blessed with the entire time. There is nothing more comforting than holding a hot drink in my hand while joking around about how cold we are or jumping in a freezing waterfall to feel clean. With the best people by my side, I have learned a lot over the past two weeks about myself, how to take care of myself, and the others around me and I expect there is only a lot more learning and a lot of incredible times to come throughout the remainder of our journey together.