I have developed a strong sense of place in the outdoors through experiences, with which I have been a part, on top of the mountain I consider home. The name of the mountain range is the Manti La-Sal. I drive up the Ephraim canyon to get there. Much of my sense of place came from the counter-examples of gender stereotypes I observed while on this mountain.
I grew up in a divorced family, solely living with my mother, so I had a very strong example of a non-traditional mother role. My mom took my two older brothers and I camping every summer, performing the majority of the “masculine” roles on her own.
As I grew older, I continually wanted to be just like my mom; I began to perform all these roles just as she did, albeit with the help of my older brothers. When I was 15 years old, both of my older brothers left for a two-year time frame, so I was left alone - just my mother and me. The two summers that we went camping alone were the two summers that I grew more connected to nature than ever. I finally felt like I had a strong sense of place.
When I am up the mountain in such a blissful place, one of my favorite things to do is go fishing. I love to catch the fish and I love to eat the fish. Some people gut fish, but for generations my family has filleted fish. To filet a fish, you cut into one side deep enough that you get through the meat, but not too deep that you hit the bones; then you slide your knife down the inside of the skin, thus getting a filet of meat.
This action is then repeated on the other side of the fish. Although my family has utilized this method for many generations, the girls in the families have never been the primary ones to filet. While I have been alive, my uncle has always been the go to person to filet the fish; eventually my brothers learned how to filet but didn’t take over the primary duties.
When my brothers left on their two-year adventures, I decided it was time to break protocol and learn to filet the fish. To my surprise I was very good at it. All my family members decided that from then on, I was going to be the go to person to filet the fish. Through this experience of breaking gender stereotypes, I became to love nature more and developed a strong sense of place.