Growing up in the Quad Cities, much of my childhood was spent playing outside, often in the woods. In the spring and summer, I’d be drawn to a nearby creek to catch tadpoles or build a bridge to the other side. In winters, I’d trudge through fresh snow to the steepest hill in the pasture to try out some clamp-on skis. Each adventure was always shared with the best companion, my dog, Kaia.
For us, we both make discoveries and find things that catch our attention. Besides, it’s always better to have someone along who enjoys the experience with you. When we head out, there really is no leader. Sometimes she picks the route, sometimes I do, sometimes we follow a trail and sometimes we make our own.
In writing these blogs in the coming seasons, I hope to share a few of our adventures, and suggest some places to go. You’ll meet Kaia, my 4-year-old Samoyed, and get her perspective too. Kaia is my 4th Samoyed, pronounced SAM-A-YED. (Accent on the last syllable.) Apparently I just like having white hair on my clothes, but I couldn’t ask for a better companion.
Samoyeds (Bjelkiers), the white dog with the smiling face, originated in the Siberian tundra where the Samoyed people used them to herd reindeer and pull sleds. The double-coat offered protection in the harsh environment and also proved beneficial as the fur could be spun and woven into warm clothing, mittens, scarves, hats and sweaters. Kaia enjoys a much easier life, but longs for any opportunity to be out exploring.
These experiences will last a lifetime.
I often say that being near a wooded area is like Homer in The Odyssey. The woods more or less lure one to come and enjoy. I can be busy doing something else, then take one step in the woods, and I find my breathing eases up, my mood brightens, and I feel relaxed and comforted. Those benefits don’t even require a lot of time, (though often what was going to be a 15-minute walk turns into an hour or more).
It’s not necessary to have special equipment, just some decent shoes, the right attire, be it shorts or jeans, jacket or t-shirt and a pal.
I am looking forward to sharing our adventures and hopefully inspire you to venture out to new places. And, if by chance you have a dog, let them be your guide!
|Meet Teri Stickler. Teri is a retired Quad-City teacher. She thoroughly enjoys the out-of-doors, sharing most of her adventures with her Samoyed companion, Kaia.|