September Escapes

Smoke hangs heavy in the air, obscuring my promised mountain views. Flies swarm in and out with their incessant buzzing. The only wildlife spotted has been a handful of birds, one black squirrel, a lone mule deer and a pesky chipmunk we have dubbed “Alex”. He’s grown quite bold over the last couple days, and somehow found himself inside our cabin making an attempt at our trash bag.

The few deciduous trees have become brilliantly gold in the short time of our visit. Autumn is rapidly approaching these Idaho mountains. Meanwhile, fire watch planes roar overhead, blotted out by dense smoke. Despite these inconveniences, there is extreme beauty and much needed peace.

I do get a bit saddened seeing how dry the landscape is. Even after the big fire a few years ago, summers were filled with rain, and lushness continued to embrace September. Mother Nature is parched.

In consideration of cold nights and wanting, needing to umplug, we rented a rustic Forest Service cabin. Dating back into the early 1930’s, equipped with wood stove for heat and hand pump for water, this was to be our home for four glorious nights. Forest Service cabins are a great alternative to camping in cold temps, or for those wanting to get their feet wet with the great outdoors. The prices are usually fairly reasonable. Ours has two beds, tables, solar lighting, propane cook stove and stocked with pots, pans and dishes. And yes, there is also an extremely clean vault toilet out back. We are quite comfortable.

The sun is beginning to set, marking the approach into our third night. Time has been filled with a small hike to a once amazing hot spring. Forest fire and human abuse have turned it into nothing more than an algae covered muck hole. Two wonderous soaks have been enjoyed at one of my favorite spots. Games have been played, many pictures taken and much pleasure has been relished. If the smoke lifts, tomorrow will entail hikes and more hot spring exploration.

Taking this time to disconnect and reconnect with nature helps me recharge my batteries. All too soon inclement weather will be upon me. Mountain trips will be more difficult. So, I will ingrain every moment of this visit into my soul and carry it with me to the next opportunity. In the mean time, I’ll dust off my winter adventure plans.

Rebeginning

Oregon Desert Landscapre

Staring out at the desert landscape I contemplate the last 18 months. Crickets chirp, insects buzz my head and a breeze blows through the stubby grass and sage brush. There is so much life in this corner of the Oregon desert.

A great deal of life has happened since I last posted to Suniechick. I graduated college, the first in my family. Many adventures were had including foreign places and a foiled pack trip to a still sought after hot spring. Healing of the heart and soul from the loss of my Mom and darling Dolly, has begun. I have had to refocus on other aspects of my life for awhile. A temporary hiatus was needed for all this life to occur.

The sun begins its descent, yet still nicely warms my skin. I think about myself, direction, who is Suniechick? She is a strong, independent woman. Someone who is surrounded by love. She is passionate for the outdoors and wishes to protect it and share it with whomever will listen. Suniechick believes that these places are the foundation of life, and that everyone has the right to experience them. Whether you’re packing out 50 miles into wilderness or strolling through the park watching the ducks, those experiences, those moments where we can connect with nature are deeply important.

There has been a refocus, a rejuvenation. While I, Suniechick, will be here to help guide you to partaking in the glories of nature and sharing my adventures, I will also be sharing with you some of what else lies close to my heart. As I said, I wish to help protect and preserve the drastically dwindling amounts of wildlands left. This may come in the form of “activism” or my rambling thoughts. For me, Suniechick is new and improved. This is an exciting time. To live life, take advantage instead of for granted. It is a rebeginning. I hope you join me.

NWF 2010 Be Out There Resolution

National Wildlife Federation Challenges YOU to be out there, everyday in 2010!

“Go play outside” was a common phrase in my household growing up. The weather didn’t matter. Snow, sun, brisk temperatures, outdoors is where we were supposed to be. I think it was mostly to get us kids out of my mom’s hair, but a connection was being built. Now, “playing outside” is what I desire most.nature's beauty

During the time I have spent as a Girl Scout Camp Director, and as many of my friends have children of their own, I have noticed a disturbing trend. Many of these children don’t know what it’s like to run and laugh and experience the great outdoors.

I would like to challenge you, along with NWF to get you and your kids outdoors everyday. Rebecca P. Cohen took this challenge in 2009. A short walk, bird watching, gazing at the stars, fifteen minutes minimum is all it takes. Help build that relationship for your children which we have all cherished. Be out there!

2009 Reflective Musings

A year themed by change.

As I sit at my laptop, reflecting on the passing year, I realize that I have changed in so many ways. Mentally, emotionally, physically. Maybe change isn’t the right word, but I have experienced growth.

Many wonderful adventures of all sorts were had. I backpacked through the Smokey Mountains, soaked in some marvelous hot springs, spent many nights gazing up at the stars and conquered Hoodoo Mountain to gaze upon Hoodoo lake.

Outdoor WomanThe sights replenished my soul and brought me peace. Even now, I crave the outdoors, the connection with Mother Nature. I yearn to feel hiking boot against trail while the sun warms my skin and the breeze whispers secret thoughts for only me to understand.

I chuckle to myself as I recount the morning my precious dogs made an escape hatch through the back of the tent, cutting our trip short. I groan as I remember the excruciating climb up mountains, and again resolve myself to be in even better shape next summer. A smile parts my lips while I reminisce of the two months spent in North Idaho with my Mom. Days lounging on the lake, mountain hikes, all attributed to her for introducing me to the outdoors.

Campfire meals never tasted so delicious (even with the potatoes more than slightly undercooked). Stars never shone so brightly. And when I thought my appreciation for this wonderful world could not grow any deeper, it explodes and rises to a whole new level.

As I look at my reflection, seeing beyond the newly acquired lines on my forehead (perhaps from age or not enough sunscreen?), I see myself. I am an outdoors woman, and I can’t wait for the adventures to come!

Happy New Year. See you all in 2010!

Fruits for Thought, More Environmental Quotes

Environmental quotes always broaden my thoughts, expand my mind, contemplate and appreciate the world around me.

Here are a few quotes that I recently came upon. I hope you enjoy.skinny

When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.  ~John Muir

Man is a complex being:  he makes deserts bloom – and lakes die.  ~Gil Stern

There is hope if people will begin to awaken that spiritual part of themselves, that heartfelt knowledge that we are caretakers of this planet.  ~Brooke Medicine Eagle

Modern technology
Owes ecology
An apology.
~Alan M. Eddison

The difference between animals and humans is that animals change themselves for the environment, but humans change the environment for themselves. ~Ayn Rand

Fruits for thought; environmental quotes

In doing research for a paper I came across some quotes that made an impact on my thoughts and really touched me. I thought I would share them.nature

To waste, to destroy our natural resources, to skin and exhaust the land instead of using it so as to increase its usefulness, will result in undermining in the days of our children the very prosperity which we ought by right to hand down to them amplified and developed.  ~Theodore Roosevelt, seventh annual message, 3 December 1907

When the soil disappears, the soul disappears.  ~Ymber Delecto

In an underdeveloped country, don’t drink the water; in a developed country, don’t breathe the air.  ~Changing Times magazine

I’m not an environmentalist.  I’m an Earth warrior.  ~Darryl Cherney, quoted in Smithsonian, April 1990

When we heal the earth, we heal ourselves.  ~David Orr

We cannot command Nature except by obeying her.  ~Francis Bacon

I will leave you with these fruits of thought for now to blossom into action and hope.

National Wildlife Week

The time has come to celebrate our wildlife!ram

When: March 16 – 20

You ask why is this post going up midway through the week? I say because it’s not too late to get involved and celebrate!

What is National Wildlife Week?

It is a time to take notice of the beauty around us and the importance of protecting and conserving what is left.It is a time to honor nature and the bounties she provides for us.

What can You do to get involved?

It’s as easy as getting outdoors! Hike, bird watch, animal watch, learn to identify a new plant; any of these and more.

You have the opportunity to not only participate yourself, but to get those around you excited as well. The National Wildlife Week website has a mountain of information and activities for all ages.

In this world we shouldn’t need a special week to commemorate what is gifted to us. Everyday should be a wildlife celebration.

So what are you waiting for?

Idaho’s Roadless Areas; A Natural Resource

Idaho is home to 9.3 million acres of roadless wilderness. (“ICL Latest Updates”) This wilderness is home to countless wildlife, flora and pristine waterways. Idaho’s roadless areas provide Idahoans and other outdoors enthusiasts with endless amounts of recreation.

More than 400,000 acres will soon be opened up, losing their protection to full forest uses, including logging, road construction and phosphate mining. (Barker) The plan establishes five management themes that guide timber cutting, road construction and mineral development in 250 designated areas. On Thursday, October 16th the rule was published in the Federal Register and now supersedes the 2001 Clinton rule. Jonathan Oppenheimer of the Idaho Conservation League says “The protections provided by this rule demonstrate the importance Idahoans place on our rugged backcountry. This appreciation for the land and for Idaho traditions of hunting, camping, hiking and fishing led to a plan that will ensure that our kids and grandkids have the opportunity to experience Idaho at its best.”

The 2001 rule prohibits the construction of new roads in inventoried in roadless areas and prohibits the cutting and selling of timber from these areas. (“Roadless Conservation Final Rule”) Idaho has chosen to overturn the federal regulation on multiple attempts. The new rule would allow more than 50 miles of road construction, 15,000 acres of logging and about 75 million board feet of logs to be removed over the next 15 years. (Barker) This will possibly cause irreparable damage to the environment. Causing irreparable damage is included in the original 2001 roadless rule. Other states that have tried to overturn the Clinton-era rule are Wyoming and Montana.

The roadless rule has been a source of great controversy and has raised the heads of  environmental groups. The Wilderness Society and Greater Yellowstone Coalition are among the many who protest Idaho’s idea that they can go against federal law. Even the Idaho Conservation League was originally opposed to the Idaho Roadless Rule. They have since decided that trying to find a balance was the best path. The new rule does not go without its pros and cons. Those in opposition fear that it won’t stop here, that the remaining roadless areas will be in jeopardy in the not so distant future.

A natural resource goes far beyond the definition of a material source from nature that is economically beneficial to humans. (“Definition: Natural Resource”) The value of our environment can not be measured in simple dollars and cents. There are the benefits of enjoyment, memories, strengthening relationships, and not to mention the preservation of our world for future generations. The roadless areas in Idaho are truly a natural resource that needs its people to defend it.

Works Cited

Barker. Rocky. “Green groups are split on Idaho’s final roadless rule,” Idahostatesman 17 October 2008. 11 Nov 2008 <http://www.idahostatesman.com/newsupdates/story/540788.html>

“Definition; Natural Resource.” Answers.com. 2008. 13 Nov 2008 <http://www.answers.com/topic/natural-resource>.

“ICL Statement on Idaho Roadless Plan.” Latest Updates. 14 October 2008. Idaho Conservation League. 13 Nov 2008 <http://wildidaho.org>.

“Roadless Conservation Final Rule.” Roadless USDA. 05 January 2001. US Forest Service. 11 Nov 2008 <http://roadless.fs.fed.us/documents/rule/ruledo.shtml>.

Fall Hiking Tips for the Wild Outdoor Woman

Autumn has begun to set upon us turning the outdoors into a new world. Leaves are shedding their greens for hues of golds and reds. Slowly they’ll fall to the ground and temperatures will begin to drop. Fortunately, this does not signal the end of hiking season. Fall is my favorite time of year to grab the camera and head for the hills, or the desert. Here are a few tips to make the trip even more enjoyable.

* Layers are a must! Cooler mornings still lead to warm afternoons. It is important to stay comfortable. By using a polypro, fleece, and rain shell you’ll be doing fine!

* An early start will let you get the most out of your day. Sunset creeps up on us much sooner this time of year.

* Be prepared, have proper gear. Rain, snow, heat, Mother Nature can throw anything at you.

* Sun screen and sunglasses are still important, any time of year. Just because you’re not hot doesn’t mean the sun isn’t shining down on you.

* Snacks are a must! Trailmix, jerky, whatever your favorite, keeping up your energy makes for a longer hike. This includes staying hydrated.

* Be spontaneous! Nothing is better than a spur of the moment jaunt outdoors.

* Be respectful, as always, of where you’re traveling.

* Bring a friend. Lone hiking is wonderful, but sharing it can be just as joyous.

There are many other things you can do to make your outdoor adventure more enjoyable. These will help you get on your way.

I Am An Outdoor Woman

I’ve always been a woman of the outdoors. Growing up in the mountains of north Idaho definitely lent a hand in fueling my passion. A deep appreciation of our environment and nature was ingrained in me since childhood. This is a special place, a place to cherish, to protect. A place to laugh, experience, and spend time in. As I grow so does my love for all things outdoor. In wanting to share that love along with an abundance of knowledge, Suniechick.com was born. Here you will find how to’s, recipes, environmental updates, and tales of my adventures.

I invite my sister outdoorswoman to contribute. Have a question or an experience you’d like to share? I’d love to hear it. Thankyou for visiting, and I look forward to the adventures ahead!