May 19th 2006 8:48 pm
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Dad and I recently returned from another little adventure. He took me for a 5 day backpacking trip in Shenandoah National Park in Virginia then we drove down to Florida for the weekend to visit with his sister and her german shepherd---my cousin--- Julie.
We departed for Shenandoah Park early in the morning on Sun May 7. Arriving at the park in late morning, we found things a bit on the cool and cloudy side but it was still pleasant weather for a hike so dad and I set off, dad carrying his backpack and me with my dogpack. We enjoyed splendid views of the lush green Virginia mountains as we hiked along the Rapidan fire road. Later in the afternoon we hiked along the Rose River loop trail with its numerous waterfalls and icy mountain pools. Light rain began as we hiked this trail and by the time we reached the Skyland Big Meadows horse trail,the rain was falling steadily. Dad put my orange rain jacket on me and we continued the hike undaunted by a little rain. We camped for the first night on the Skyland horse trail. It`s really soothing to be snug inside a dry tent with the sound of rain on the canvas!
Monday morning May 8 dawned overcast and chilly. A cool wind was blowing as we hiked but all the spring foliage was out and dad enjoyed taking some pictures with his digital camera (he`ll post some soon on my page) and the cool weather seemed to bring out all the good scents for me to sniff! Rain began again around mid day and dad popped the tent up so that we could have our lunch and stay dry. He let the stove simmer inside the tent as we ate to ward off the chill as it was only 42 degrees and fog and wind had moved in. We continued hiking in fog grew more dense as we climbed Stony Man mountain on the Appalacian Trail. Summitting Stony Man mountain, we were cloaked in fog and mist. This made for some interesting hiking. Dad and I think it`s kind of peaceful to hike in fog,plus we got some interesting photos and video. We camped for night 2 on the Nicholson Hollow trail. Dad found a pleasant campsite by the Hughes River and pitched our tent. It`s soothing to fall asleep to the sound of a gurgling mountain stream weather you`re a dog or a human!
Tuesday May 9 dawned partly cloudy but by mid morning the sun finally returned and we enjoyed splendid hiking. Dad and I climbed the long steep trail from the Weakley Hollow fire road to the summit of Robertson mountain. The views up here were awesome, in fact dad took a photo of me at the summit and it`s now my primary photo on my page. we had lunch up here in the warm sunshine.
Wednesday May 10 was sunny and warm also. Dad and I hiked to the summit of Hawksbill mountain for more great views. Later in the afternoon,we once again hiked the Rose River loop trail and this time with the warm sunshine we were able to swim in some of the icy mountain pools. It was chilly but envigorating! Late in the day we hiked down to camp Hoover. This was a former presidential retreat established by President Herbert Hoover in the late 1920`s. At least that`s what my dad tells me, I`ll just take his word for it! Dad thought that it was kind of neat to walk on the porch of the old Presidential cabin knowing that he and I were standing in the very spot once occupied by a US president!
We finished up our hike on Thursday May 11 once again in fog and rain. The white blazes of the Appalacian Trail guided us on thru the enveloping fog. A mixed bag of weather for this hike,but variety keeps things interesting!
Dad drove as far as Dillon ,South Carolina on thursday where we stayed in a motel for the night.
On friday May 12 we continued our journey. Dad and I hiked along an abandoned stretch of US 301 over Lake Marion in South Carolina. This is a HUGE lake and the views from the old abandoned section of US 301 were great. We arrived at Dad`s sister`s place near Lake City on fri night.
Dad left me with his sister for the day while he visited Canaveral National Seashore. I enjoyed the visit with Julie,my german shepherd cousin and had a chance to recuperate a bit from our 5 days of hiking in Virginia. Dad enjoyed Canaveral National Seashore. The water was warm for swimming and he could see Launch Complex 39 as well as NASA`s VAB from the beach.
On Sunday May 14, all of us went to a beach near Jacksonville that is dog friendly. Julie and I had fun frolicking in the ocean and then we visited a dog park later in the day that had its very own doggie swimming pool!
It was a doggone great trip!
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