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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
The 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!
On March 28th from 8:30-9:30 p.m I will be placing my vote by switching off my lights, laptop and anything else that consumes power in my home in honor of 2009 Earth Hour.
It is time for all of us as global neighbors to stand up, switch off and take action! It is time to protect our home, Earth. We only have one of her, and she has taken abuse for too long. As a result climates have been changing and severe damage has occurred.
What can you do?
Join me and millions of others in turning off your lights for one hour on March 28th and visit www.voteearth2009.org to learn more about what you can do to cast your vote for Earth!
Snow has piled up outside, threatening to keep us from venturing outdoors. Now spring is tentatively peaking its head out, like a timid deer. Most of our winter activities are still in full swing, but my mind is wandering to warmer temperatures.
This poses the question to me, as it does every turn of the season; How do I stay warm in my sleeping bag?
There are many things we can do to aid our warmth and make our night times more comfortable. Keep in mind that there is no substitute for a quality sleeping bag. Evaluate your personal needs and when/where you’ll be sharing Mother Nature. Sleep rejuvenates us for the next day, the next hike and grand adventure. Without a good night’s sleep the next day won’t be as wonderful as it could be.
Before heading to bed, get your circulation flowing a bit. Do some calming yoga or march in place. This will raise your body temperature, and your sleeping bag will trap this heat.
Fluff your bag before climbing in, which allows for the insulation to be more evenly distributed, and it’s fun. Down bags definitely require this as the loft can get scrunched in the stuff sack.
Change your socks. Clean socks are more conducive to warmth and don’t stink it up. I have a pair of wool socks that are designated specifically for sleeping.
If you’re especially cold wear a pair of glove liners or a knit hat. I’ve been known to wear my knittie on many trips. Summers in the North West can have cold wet nights that seep into your bones.
Insulation beneath you is immensely important. The ground is cold and seems to radiate its iciness. A tarp under your tent and a sleeping pad will make a huge difference.
Other things to keep in mind: don’t go to bed on an empty stomach. A warm belly equals a warm body. The extra fuel will help maintain body temp, as will staying hydrated.
Use the bathroom before bed. It takes a lot of energy to keep urine warm that could be used to keep you warm. Having to crawl out of your sleeping bag and tent to stumble around in the dark is not a fun part of camping, plus you lose all that hard earned heat.
Stuff a jacket/sweater or extra clothes into the bottom of your bag if there’s room. The less space there is to heat, the warmer you’ll stay. I’ve discovered when doing this I put my feet on top of the extra clothes and my toes feel much cozier.
We are all built differently. Typically women are colder than men. I am a very cold sleeper, so I use all of these tactics. You may only need some or none of them.
As you climb into your sleeping bag after an evening of star gazing and campfire conversation, know your dreams will be sweeter.
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!