Skip Sickler

Since my earliest remembrances, I have always sought solace in the outdoors. As an elementary school kid, I would find abandoned apple trees, climb to the top and admire the view while “cowing” down, often on tangy, tart, green apples. In middle school and high school, the forests and fields drew me to them. Here I found and became acquainted with wild animals, often following their tracks for hours on end. The weekends were often spent camped out with the Milky Way blazing in the night sky high above. As an adult, I was drawn to more and more remote areas of our planet: canoeing to the far northern reaches of Canada; climbing tall mountain peaks; mushing sled dogs across the frozen lake country of northern Minnesota; or, descending into the dark reaches of earth while spelunking mysteriously beautiful bejeweled caverns.

Even today, although I do not have the luxury to experience the long-term journeys of my youth, I am still drawn outdoors…in all types of weather…and, I continue to be inspired and awed by the beauty of the natural world. While immersed in the mountains, forests and streams of the Southern Appalachians I find myself more centered and more alive. I have particular fondness for witnessing the dawning of a new day. Although sunsets can be equally spectacular, the sunrise with its promise of a new day, signaling unlimited possibilities ahead, grabs me most strongly. It is these unlimited possibilities that continue to feed my soul. It is with humble appreciation of the gifts I have been given that I present these photographs for your enjoyment and inspiration.

“Break away once in awhile and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean.” – John Muir