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

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.

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.