Sarah Ortegon

Growing up in the summers on the Wind River Reservation, among the Wind River Mountain Range, playing outside jumping into dirt mounds and rivers; I always thought that was the only way of life. I thought that this gift of being in the “outdoors” was exactly what every kid was experiencing. I was born and raised in Denver, CO into a family of 11 siblings. We would travel to the Wind River Reservation every summer because my extended family lived there. The only way we were lured inside was when we were called in for dinner and it wasn’t a cell phone call. It was typically from my mom yelling, “Dinners ready!!”

We would go on hikes here in Colorado as well, we hiked in whatever clothes we had on. We took cheap plastic water bottles (of which I shun into the depths of hell now). One of the worst practical jokes I played on my Mom’s friend happened in the Colorado Rockies. I would advise to never do this while you are a twelve year old child/pre-teen. I had two of my younger brothers with me, and two of her children tag along. We ran far into the trail and hid on a large rock where we were bitten up by red ants. Our mission was to scare my Mom’s friend when she got close. We succeeded, because she was extremely frightened and thought we had been eaten by a mountain lion. Like I said, lesson learned. These were the lessons I learned as I experienced the wilderness. There were never any “classes” or outings that I could be a part of. As I grew, I learned to respect my surroundings. In the wilderness there is an intensity
that is not felt in the city, there are unexpected happenings. That is exactly why I love it, I love it because it is the greatest equalizer of men. In the wilderness you can have better gear, but your heart is where the survival lies.

Christian Weaver