Day Trip Preparedness

September has arrived, and with it summer begins its transition into fall. This season has been filled with enourmous amounts of heat (and horrific forest fires), making day hiking a bit more difficult. School is starting for some, and ‘regular’ life and routine have returned. The weather has started to cool, and thus begins one of my favorite times of year; day trip season! I continually re-evaluate my day trip needs, reviewing packlists and current contents of my pack. I would like to share with you a bit of day trip prepardness for those non-camping jaunts into nature.

Day Trip Pack List
Depending on your destination, and the journey to get there, your list may vary. These are some things that I ALWAYS take with me despite where I may end up.

Clothing Items
* Extra socks
* Knit hat (beanie)
* Gloves (the little “magic” gloves will do)
* Jacket/hoodie
* Towel

Food
* Granola bars (I prefer Larabars, very few ingredients and yummy!)
* Nuts. dried fruit. trail mix type items.
* Shot Blocs (for extra electrolytes if needed)
[The above items can be stored in your day pack and changed out as needed since they have a longer shelf life and no need for refrigeration}
* Fresh fruit; mandarin oranges, apples, grapes etc
* String cheese (can go awhile without refrigeration)
* PBJ
* Lots of water

Miscellaneous
* Big black trash bag for setting my stuff on or myself, also works as a rain jacket in a pinch
* Small plastic grocery bags for picking up others trash
* Head lamp/flashlight
* Knife
* Lip balm
* Lotion
* Bug spray
* Sun screen
* Camera
* Notepad and pen

A few of these items may seem frivolous or unnecessary, but in my fairly extensive experience these are must haves for me. I dream fondly of the next adventure to come. I’m sure it will be here sooner than later.

Are there any items that are must haves for you to include? Please remember to pack it in, pack it out, to leave the wilderness better than you found it and to tell someone where you’ll be. Safety is important!

Happy Adventuring!

Backcountry on the Back Burner

Well, that statement isn’t entirely true.

2010 brought a roller coaster of life, and many changes.

This summer was filled with nights under the stars in the Boise National Forest, soaking up the hot springs, hiking in Yellowstone National Park and breathtaking views of the Black Hills. There was actually little lack of backcountry.

As some of you may recall, I spent summer of 2009 in Northern Idaho with my Mom. It was a difficult summer, filled with chaos and a plethora of emotions. However, it is a time that I would NEVER take back. In June of this year, my Mom passed away from pancreatic cancer. She was the ultimate outdoors woman, the woman who introduced Mother Nature to me. Her passing has rested heavy on my heart. Now that some time has passed I am ready to jump back on the bandwagon!

The backcountry is in my soul, and forever will be a part of me. The outdoors is a passion, an obsession. Due to the changes in life I didn’t spend as much time with the pack strapped on, but not all was lost, just momentarily set on the back burner.

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!

Fall Backpacking Smokey Mountains Adventures

The Smokey Mountains are a beautiful place to enjoy fall backpacking.

Just over two years have paSS851868ssed since I ventured out to Skillern hot springs on the edge of the Sawtooth National Forest. The leaves began to don their reds and golds, and I even crunched through many that had reached the ground.

We arrived close to dusk to begin the almost 3 mile trek. The hike was easier than I remembered. That must mean I’m in better shape! Night had begun to take over while I forged for firewood, as the night was getting chilly. SS set up our tent, cooked us a delicious dinner and we settled in for the night watching the stars and the fire.

The next day was glorious! (Other than a motor-dirt biker driving through our campsite at 6:00 in the morning). We traversed over to the hot spring, which was only about 100*, much too cool for an early morning soak. However, it was fantastic to relax in during the afternoon.

The time had come to pump water. SS and I put the girls (our dogs) in the tent like usual and headed over to the nearby Big Smokey Creek. SS happened to turn around just in time to see Moose pop her head and shoulders out the back of the tent! Next SS851836thing we know she’s completely free and Doogal is right behind her. Our girls had decided that they didn’t want to be left behind and created an escape hatch.

We’ve never had this problem before. Our dogs are very well behaved when we go into the backcountry. When they go in the tent, they stay in the tent, happily. I’m not exactly sure what happened in this case. Lesson learned: one of us needs to stay behind from now on.

Another lesson learned on this cut short trip, long handled titanium sporks rock! No more stickinng your hand all the way into your rehydrated meal to scrape the last of the goodies.

Despite only getting one night, the trip was amazing. The stars blinked brillantly, autumn’s colors so vivid, everything combined made me feel reconnected and at peace.

Our mishap goes to show, no matter how experienced you think you may be, the unexpected can happen.

Happy Hiking!

A Slow Return

This outdoor woman has been out of the loop

Summer has blessed us once again, while she slowly fades into fall and the nights come earlier and earlier, I find myself contemplating the last few months.

I have been away from “normal” life, whatever that may actually be. I spent two

White Cloud Mountains, Hoo Doo Lake

months in North Idaho spending time with my mom, who is still fighting the hardest battle she will ever be a part of. One we hope everyday that she will win.

I spent time laying by the lake, exploring mountains that I grew up in, trying to keep my head about me and thinking about life. There were deep lows and many fantstic moments as well.

I enjoyed many wonderful camping trips. I slept under the stars and soaked up some beauty in hot springs, revitalizing my soul. Every moment I realized that this is a wonderful world, one to enjoy and love and cherish.

Over these past few months I have made a slow return to self. I found a woman that is yet still unfamiliar, but not a complete stranger. I am remembering the great things I love doing, writing about the outdoors for women being a biggie.

So, while all my things remain in storage until SS and I find a new abode, I am making a slow return. I am extremely excited about this. I ask you to please be patient with me, but hang around for the greatness to come.

~In peace, Suniechick

10 things every outdoor woman should experience

Experiencing Sunset

There are so many things in the outdoors to experience, a simple list can not begin to cover them all. Here are a few things that are tops on my list for every outdoor woman to experience.

1. A starlit soak in a backcountry hot spring. The feeling of peace and serenity this brings is beyond words.

2. A hike that pushes your limits and breaks your boundaries. Challenging oneself physically and emotionally gives us a greater appreciation for ourselves and the world.

3. A gourmet meal cooked over a campfire. Who says delicious food only comes from the kitchen? Savoring the flavors of a scrumptious entree, or dessert, in the great outdoors is fabulous.

4. An afternoon nap in nature. This is one of my favorites. I’ll crawl in my tent, open all the windows letting the sun in and snooze away with a smile on my face.

5. Camping by yourself, just once. To newbies this can seem a bit daunting. Heck, even to seasoned outdoors women this can sometimes be a bit scarey. However, knowing that you have no one to depend on but yourself, and there’s no one but you to depend on you is pure independence.

6. Backpack for more than one night. One nighters are great in their own way, especially if that’s all your able to do. Multi-nigt trips though take on a whole new meaning. I’ve found that it takes more than one night to adjust and unleash the shackles of everyday life.

7. Walk around au naturel in the forest/desert, wherever your stomping grounds are. There are a couple caveats to this: make sure you’re not in a public place and shoes are still a good idea. I know that this one sounds a little crazy if you’ve never tried it. Believe me, there’s nothing so freeing and invigorating as walking around in the buff with nothing between you and nature except the wind. (don’t forget the bug spray!)

8. Skinnydip. Along the lines of #7, you just might not need shoes.

9. Sleep under the stars, sans tent. Falling asleep while watching the constellations travel across the night sky brings sweet dreams.

10. Share a moment in nature with another outdoor woman. Whether she is experiencing it all for the first time or the 100th time, sharing a moment with a good friend in the outdoors is a delightful memory.

Running Shoes and Hiking Boots

I strapped on my running shoes this morning. Feeling my feet on the pavement and trail-runningfinding the trail has helped bring me peace. It is a time where I can focus solely on myself; on my body and mind with no other distractions.

When I was a teenager my mom wrote a story about me. It was about the different shoes I’ve worn throughout my lifetime. I had my baby shoes, dancing shoes, running shoes; all figuratively speaking. She used my shoes as a description to show how I have grown to be strong and independent, how through each stage of my life I have changed my shoes in order to face whatever challenges have crossed my way. Even now when I read that story it evokes very strong emotion within me, and reminds me that I can overcome anything.

I’ve never been a “runner” per-say. I’ve always preferred my hiking boots until recently. With the new challenges that I have faced in the last six months, since the diagnosis, I have changed my shoes once again. My hiking boots will not get dusty. In fact they are still well used. But my running shoes are helping me cope. They are enabling me to become stronger mentally and physically.

This is what I need for now. I am trying to listen to my body, to take the advice that I so easily dole out to others. In times of stress and trauma it is very important to take care of oneself, to not let yourself fall by the wayside. For now my Mom is growing stronger, but she still has her bad days. We are not sure what the outcome will be. I am taking it all one day at a time, and today I strapped on my running shoes.

a new summer adventure

This isn’t your typical summer adventure, at least not my typical summer adventure.

One month ago SS and I packed everything we own into a 10′ x10′ cube, minus camping/backpacking gear, clothes and a few other items. We loaded the truck to the gills and headed to northern Idaho. We had a beautiful trip along the way, but I’ll save that for another post.

“North Idaho?” you ask…other than its breathtaking mountains and pristine lakes and miles of hiking, north Idaho is where my Mom lives. Six months ago my Mom was diagnosed with Pancreatic cancer. Thus far she is battling it well. There have been some very hard times, and the difficult times are not yet behind us.

I have experienced an emotional roller coaster, especially not being by her side to “help”. Although if I had been here the whole time, I’m not sure what I could have done. So, now SS and I are here. We are doing housework, yard work, and offering as much emotional support as possible.

I am living in the mountains, living by the lake and trying to enjoy every moment of beauty I can. I do have some trips planned, one week long backpack trip into the Selway Bitteroot area. I can’t wait for that and then to share it with you all.

I have chosen to share this on Suniechick instead of starting a new blog, or keeping it to myself for a few reasons. I know that I am not alone in going through this ordeal, but I am hoping by sharing my experiences; what I do to cope, reduce stress etc. that I can perhaps help another woman of the outdoors deal with this and not feel so alone, because there are many days that I do feel very alone. Also, my Mom is the outdoor woman that inspired me to become the woman that I am. She taught me to love the trees and respect all that nature has to offer.

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!