Taking Out The Trash

Pack it in. Pack it out.

Walking through the forest, tree branches reach above my head creating a canopy of greens and golden hues, sunlight trickles through splattering soft pine needles beneath me. Peace overwhelms my soul, and I inhale deeply. I bend down to capture the fragrance of wild rose. At my feet I see a glitter of something. Curiosity beckons me to reach down…..

The beautiful glimmer was TRASH!   trash

Someone had carelessly tossed their garbage onto the trail. Who do they think is going to pick that up, Mother Nature? She’s not that type of mother.

Garbage mongers are NOT my friends. It is all really quite simple, pack it in, pack it out. Here are some easy tips to help in this task:

* For backpacking and hiking; carry a gallon size, freezer-duty ziploc baggie with you. This confines all your trash into one spot and contains the gooeyness. The baggie also makes for easy disposal when reaching civilization again.

* Have a dedicated stuff sack for your “trash baggie”. This helps even further in separating the garbage from everything else in your pack.

* While on the trail I use the mesh pocket in my hip belt to stuff any wrappers I may need to discard of later.

* For car camping, the gallon baggie trick works great as well. Or, we usually have a dedicated sack for trash, sometimes a few depending on how long we’re gone.

Try to remember when backpacking, or camping, to remove as much packaging as possible before heading out. This makes everything easier.

Thank you to those eco-warriors that pick up other’s trash. This is a beautiful world. It can be even better if we all work together.

~In Peace

Dutch Oven Delights: Sweet Rosemary Rolls

This Dutch oven recipe takes a little bit of extra time, but the end result is worth every anxious moment.

I love Dutch oven cooking, especially since it’s a year round activity!

Dutch Oven Sweet Rosemary Rolls

2 cups whole wheat flour
3 Tbs. fresh rosemary; finely chopped
2 Tbs. active dry yeast
2 tsp. salt
2 1/4 cups warm water; 120° F.
1/2 cup honey
3 Tbs. olive oil
3-4 cups white bread flour
cornmeal

Glaze
2 Tbs. honey
2 Tbs. warm water

In a mixing bowl add flour, rosemary, yeast and salt. Stir to mix. Add warm water, honey, and olive oil; mix well. Stir in white bread flour 1 cup at a time until a soft dough is formed.

Turn dough onto a floured surface and knead for 5-7 minutes, adding flour as necessary until dough is smooth and elastic. Set dough in a ightly oiled bowl then turn dough over so the top has a light coating of oil. Cover bowl with plastic wrap or a towel and set in a warm place free from drafts to raise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

Lightly grease the edges of a 12″ Dutch oven, then dust bottom of Dutch oven with cornmeal.

Place raised dough on a lightly floured board and punch down. Cut dough into 13 pieces. Form pieces into balls and place them in the prepared Dutch oven, 8 pieces around the ouside edge, 4 in an inner circle, and 1 in the center. Place lid on the Dutch oven and let raise for 30 minutes.

In a small cup or bowl combine honey with water and stir until honey is dissolved. Brush rolls lightly with glaze then bake using 10-12 briquettes on the bottom and 18-20 briquettes top for 20-25 minutes until rolls are golden brown. To ensure even browning make sure to rotate the oven and lid in opposite directions every 5-10 minutes.

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

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.

National Park Adventures to be had

There are 58 national parks in the United States, covering over 55 million acres.

You’ll find every type of terrain from forest to desert to high mountain grandcanyonfamilypeaks. Any adventure you’re craving can be found within these pristine areas.

National parks are fantastic places to start exploring the great outdoors, or expand your experience. They are a great place to take the family to educate and entertain every generation.

Whether you’re looking for a simple day hike or a multi-day pack trip, national parks are a great place to begin.

Find a national park by you

Happy Exploring!