The Adventures of Smiley

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A Last Taste of Winter

March 16th 2005 1:17 pm
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Dad and I decided to squeeze in one last winter camping trip for the season since the snow will soon be a memory in these parts.

On Mon March 14 we arrived at the Delaware Water Gap and began our hike. It was windy but the March sun was warm and the white snowy trail contrasted vividly with the intense blue sky--an altogether perfect day for hiking!

I was doing my usual sniffing as we hiked back the trail towards the Yards Creek Resevoir when a powerful scent caught my attention. Coyote! Sure enough, there were coyote tracks in the snow. Dad told me that once several years ago, he actually saw 2 coyotes in this area. I like to think of them as my wild brethern!

We hiked the rockcores trail down to the Delaware river. The snow had drifted deep in spots here,but mindful of my duties as a good trail dog, I forged resolutely ahead.

The Delaware river was pretty in the late afternoon sunlight as we hiked along Old Mine Rd for a few miles to reach the Kaiser Trail. It made me long for summer when I`ll be able to don my doggie lifevest and swim out to Tocks Island with Dad. He promised to bring me back in June or July and we`ll do a good bit of swimming here!

The Kaiser trail had deep wind drifted snow in its upper sections but finally we reached the Appalacian Trail ridgetop late in the day as darkness was comming on. Dad put on my flashing doglight as well as his headlamp, and we made our way along till we spotted a nice clearing free of snow to camp for the night. Strong winds buffeted the tent all throughout the night and I was sure glad to be inside the cozy tent! Dad spent some time outside after dark enjoying the view of the stars which (he claimed---I didn`t budge from the WARM tent to see for myself) shone like little diamonds in the inky black sky.

On Tues,March 15, we hiked back to the summit of Mt Tammany where there is a splendid view of the Delaware Water Gap. We were last here on our Christmas hike and Dad took some photos of me at this spot. I had him change my primary photo to a shot of me at this point. The view from here today was identical.

Warm sun,glistening snow,and exotic smells----who could ask for more from a late winter hike!

Woofs till our next trip,

Smiley

 

The Iditarod

March 6th 2005 11:47 am
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Woof,Woof!!

Dad told me that there was a dog named Smiley running to Nome in this year`s Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. The dog is one of musher Melanie Gould`s leaders. Dad and I are big fans of the Iditarod and dog mushing in general,so it`s really exciting that a dog with my name is running in the race. Best wishes to you,Smiley!! Hope you make it all the way to Nome.

Dad`s taking me back to Alaska in Sept and we plan to hike the Kesugi Ridge trail in Denali State Park near Talkeetna. When I`m out on the trail with my dogpack I get a sense of the adventure that sled dogs experience on a regular basis!

Dreaming of Alaska,
Smiley

 

More snow!!

March 2nd 2005 6:59 am
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Woof,
We`ve had a couple of nice snowfalls here recently in Philly. I just love to hike in the snow with Dad. It feels really good to roll on my back in it and all the nice smells seem to linger better in the snow. Dad walks me thru Pennypack Park every nite after work and I really get a chance to enjoy the snowy trails. Dad`s off today and is going to give me an all day walk thru the entire park. We`ll be leaving shortly.

I`m enjoying the snow while it lasts. April will soon be here and then we can think about the raft!!

woofs,
Smiley

 

Camping in the snow

February 8th 2005 4:57 pm
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I`m so excited. We finally got a decent snowfall a few weeks ago. The hiking trails in the Pennsylvania mountains all have a nice coating of snow on them.

Dad decided to take me on a 3 day hike along the Appalacian trail. We went to the Stoney Valley area near Ft Indiantown Gap. The weather was sunny and warm all 3 days and we had a relaxing hike.

On Sat Feb 5th we began our hike from Swatara Gap. The warm weather(temps in the 40`s) had reduced the snowpack,so Dad didn`t need his snowshoes and I was able to get along just fine without booties.

We hiked the Appalacian Trail about 4 miles over the crest of Second Mountain to reach the old railroad bed at Rausch Gap. Dad read a sign to me that was posted here by the Pennsylvania Game Commission. It explained that Rausch Gap was a 19th century coal mining town and the railroad supplied it`s needs as well as transporting away the coal. The mines eventually became unproductive and the railroad ceased operations. The town "died" around 1910 and the tracks were eventually torn up. Today it`s a nice level hiking trail for people and dogs. Thankfully we NEVER see any cats here!

We spent the afternoon hiking the railroad trail in warm sunshine. I rolled in the snow on rest stops after Dad would take off my dogpack. That feels sooo nice! We both enjoyed the hiking this afternoon back to Rattling run trail where we camped for the nite. Dad looked at the stars which shone vividly in the clear winter sky. As we were camped here tonite, an Army chopper flew overhead. Dad told me that the Army has made life so much better for all the doggies in Iraq. It makes me proud to be an American K-9!

On Sunday,feb 6th we hiked on to the crest of Third Mountain. There were wonderful views from here, not to mention smells in the snow. Funny how I can`t get dad interested in the smells, He`s more interested in that GPS.

On Sun morning I ran out of the tent door as soon as Dad unzipped it. I love to bark like mad and hear my voice echo thru the silent woods. Surprise! I got some barks in reply. Dad and I think they were from coyotes.

We had lunch by Stony creek just off the old railroad trail. The creek was very pretty with sparkling white ice floes in it. I took a cold drink here.

Dad put my dog light on as well as his headlamp and we hiked for a couple of hours after sunset. Dad followed an old trail towards Rausch Gap shelter. After he stamped out a flat spot in the snow, we camped for nite 2.

On Mon feb 7, I did my usual barking routine and had a nice roll in the snow beside the tent. Dad showed me an old cemetary just off the Appalacian trail where a few of the residents of the old village of Rausch Gap are buried. One of the tombstones belongs to Andrew Allen. It reads thus: A Native of England. He met his death by accident at Gold Mine Gap. If there`s another world, He lives in bliss. If there`s none, he made the best of this.

It was a wonderful trip. Hoping for more snow soon!

Woofs,

Smiley--K-9 hiker

 

Snow and Booties Tues Jan 18 2005

January 21st 2005 8:25 pm
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Woof woof!

Dad was getting fed up with the snowless winter we`ve been having thus far in Philadelphia so he decided to take me to the pocono mts for a nice day hike in the snow. We went to Big Pocono State Park near Tannersville and had a fun time hiking in the snow there. They only had about an inch, but it was better than nothing.

A little ways into the hike, my paws felt funny. They were COLD! I held one of them up in the air and Dad removed an iceball from my pad. He then put on my nice warm dog booties and my feet were fine for the rest of the day. I`ve posted a photo taken last year of me wearing my booties. It`s the last photo on my page. I was wearing them today as well,but without the dogpack.

I barked a hello to all the skiers at the Camelback Ski Area as we passed by at the end of our hike. Philadelphia`s snowless winter is about to end in a big way tommorrow with a foot of the white stuff. I`m so excited. We just LOVE to hike in the snow!

Smiley

 

St. Anthony Wilderness Jan 9-11 2005

January 12th 2005 1:58 pm
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Woof Woof Woof!!!

This rates 3 woofs. Dad took me for ANOTHER backpacking trip only a week after the last one! We went to the section of the Appalacian Trail that runs thru an area known as the St. Anthony Wildnerness. It`s near Ft Indiantown Gap in central PA.

On Sunday the 9th, we began our trek up second mountain along the AT. We soon came to a rain swollen stream. Can you believe that those silly humans at ATC didn`t put a wooden span across it? I do hate to get my paws wet especially in icy water! Anyway I had to partially swim across the stream and poor Dad had to strip down to his underwear to ferry both our packs across while remaining dry. Brrr! Nearing the top of second mountain, both of us noticed that the trees were coated in ice. There had apparently been freezing rain the previous day and it sheathed everything in an icy coat. We had to duck under some bent over trees and all the while,small ice pellets crunched under my paws. I told Dad that he should`ve brought my booties along. Luckily the ice was present only in the highest elevations and most of the trails were fine.

We hiked the AT back to Yellow Springs village. Only the stone ruins of a once thriving 19th century mining community remain here now. ( although I swear on my favourite chew bone that I saw 1 or 2 doggie ghosts here .) We then hiked down to the old railroad bed,now just a hiking/biking trail. It was really tough carrying my dogpack down the trail to the rail bed as a large portion of it was washed out. Dad told me that there had been extensive flooding back in Sept due to the remains of Hurricane Ivan and that was probably the cause of the washout. Even an entire section of the rail bed was washed out as well, creating a wide trench.

As we hiked along the rail bed, darkness came on and Dad put his headlamp on to light the way. I helped out by wearing my doglight on my pack. We made our way back to the Rattling Run trail where we camped for the night. Dad used his GPS to mark a few waypoints in the area today. ( I of course did some marking of my own!)

Next day, monday, we hiked the Rattling Run trail back to the communication towers. Dad`s GPS told him that it was about a 5 mile hike along this trail. The trail was again covered with ice pellets in it`s higher elevations. Some trees were bent over across the trail requiring some acrobatics to get around them. I`m sure glad that my dogpack is lighter than Dad`s pack!

We enjoyed the fine mountain vistas from the communication towers. The sun FINALLY came out making the views even nicer. I was more interested in the yummies that I knew dad was going to give me for lunch shortly. Dad and I both saw coyote scat in the area today and I even smelled the critters, but neither of us actually saw one. There were a few loud bursts of gunfire in the woods this afternoon. Dad told me that it was muzzleloading season. We even met a hunter carrying a muzzleloader gun. I ALWAYS wag my tail when meeting a human carrying a gun. You do NOT want to make a man carrying a gun angry! We camped beside Stony Creek tonite. The sound of the gurgling stream soothed us asleep.

On tues, we had some light snow. It made the mountain scenery so much more beautiful with the snow. Dad and I arrived at the Rausch Gap shelter on the Appalacian Trail and had our lunch in it`s cozy confines safely out of the snow. A cold rain began to mix in with the snow as we made our way back over second mountain to our car. Dad thoughtfully put on my warm dog jacket. But we still had to wade that icy stream at the very end! Woof ,Brrr ,Woof!


Awaiting our next adventure,

Smiley

 

The raccoon

January 8th 2005 12:01 pm
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Woof,

This will be a short entry but it was such an unusual occurrance that I just HAD to bark about it! Dad was giving me my usual walk thru Pennypack park today. The cold rain had just recently ended,and we were comming to the end of our walk when I suddennly spied a raccoon on the ground just in front of a tree. I really tried to resist the urge,but in the end I gave chase. The poor critter shot up the tree and was making frightened squeaks. Dad came running up and told me to leave the poor guy alone. After we had gotten a short distance away, Mr Raccoon scampered down the tree and fled off into the woods. That was more exciting than chasing deer!

Smiley

 

Another Backpacking Trip Jan 2--5 2005

January 7th 2005 1:58 pm
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I got really lucky as Dad got some unexpected time off from work and was able to take me for a 4 day trip to the Delaware Water Gap area. There was more rain than we would have liked but it came mostly at night when both of us were snug inside the tent.

On day 1 we were hiking back the Mt Tammany fire road when I heard a loud WOOSH. I thought "That`s mighty strange, is it a bird,a plane,or maybe superdog himself!" This large, silent winged object glided majestically past us just above the treetops. Dad informed me that it was a glider. It made a few low passes as we hiked back this trail.

As we continued along ,down in the valley fire sirens went off. I became very excited as I began to hear the melodic howls of wolves. A hiker on a previous trip had told my Dad that there was a wolf preserve in the area. Being a dignified Golden Retriever, I was able to restrain myself from howling back at the fire siren,unlike by wolfish brothers!

Dad put on his headlamp as it grew dark and I wore my flashing red doglight on my dogpack. I felt a bit like a dogteam mushing at night on the Iditarod Trail!

Hiking up a side trail to reach the Appalacian Trail,both of us saw 3 pairs of eyes in the brush at the side of the trail looking back at us . Dad`s headlamp made them shine in the dark. Both of us wondered if they were deer,coyotes,or what?

A light rain began to fall on our cozy North Face tent and it lulled me into a snug doggie sleep.

On day 2, Dad and I hiked thru rugged Van Campen`s Glen. Van Campen`s brook, swollen from all the recent rains, thundered thru this rocky gorge and in spots sheets of ice hung from the cliffs. Dad took a few pictures here and I took advantage of the photo stops to rest my tired paws.

Late in the afternoon, a heavier rain began. Dad put my warm velcro raincoat on as it grew dark and began to grow colder. I was sure glad when he got the tent up as it had become very foggy and the rain was really comming down. In my humble doggie opinion, there`s nothing like being inside a warm tent during a mountain rainstorm. It was SO cozy and I snuggled up to Dad as he read and had supper. Later, exiting the tent (both of us had to mark our territory after all),we again saw a solitary pair of eyes watching us from off in the woods. I barked and the owner of the eyes darted off. Let him find his own campsite!


Day 3 was partly sunny and warm. We had the woods all to ourselves and the warm sun brought out all the good smells.

Late in the day, Dad marked a few spots as waypoints with his GPS. Personally I think it`s more fun marking rocks and trees!

On this third night of our trip, a mix of rain,sleet and snow fell. I was glad that it was Dad and not me that had the nasty job of rolling up the wet tent in the morning!

We had some light snow this morning (day 4) as we hiked the Appalacian Trail back to the Delaware Water Gap. Both of us love being alone in the snowy woods!

Woofs, I can`t wait for our next trip!

Smiley

 

Christmas Trip

December 28th 2004 2:15 pm
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Woof!

I`ve been so busy playing with my Christmas toys that I just found time to write about our Christmas hike.

Dad and I went to the section of the Appalacian Trail that runs thru the Delaware Water Gap. Upon arriving on Dec 24, we immediately had to ford an icy stream. There used to be a nice bridge here, but flooding from the remains of Hurricane Ivan washed it away several weeks ago. BRR! It was a cold crossing. There were icecicles hanging from my chest after it was done. Dad soaked his boots and had to stop to wring out his socks and pour the icy water out of the boots while I chewed away the ice from my fur.

The rest of the day was pretty nice ,though. We hiked an interesting side trail down to the Delaware River in the vicinity of Tocks Island. Large rock core drillings are scattered along the lower sections of this trail. Dad tells me that they were taken many years ago when planning of the Tocks island dam was underway. They`re HUGE. Dad photographed me next to one of them.

We camped in a secluded wooded spot on Christmas eve. The moon was out and although there was no snow, it was a beautiful setting. Dad gave me a Christmas bone inside our tent. I was glad to be inside the tent tonite as it was about 14 degrees outside.

As soon as Dad unzipped the tent door on Christmas morning, I went tearing off into the woods howling at the top of my voice. I`d heard some critter scampering around during the nite and was on a quest to find him. From the scent that I picked up, I suspect that it was Mr. Coyote.

Christmas day was sunny and pleasantly warm (20`s). We hiked past partially frozen Sunfish Pond and on back to the summit of Mt. Tammany. Dad took a photo of me here. He doesn`t yet have a digital camera, so to illustrate what the view was like from up here, he`s posted an old photo on Lady`s page. (Lady is in the family section of my page.) It`s the 3rd photo below the primary photo on Lady`s page. We had fun and I hope Dad takes me camping again soon.

Woofs,

Smiley

 

Christmas Camping

December 22nd 2004 9:23 pm
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Woof Woof!

I`m so excited! Dad is taking me on a Christmas eve camping trip to the Delaware Water Gap on the Appalacian trail. We`re going to celebrate Christmas in this magnificent mountain wonderland. Hope there`s snow for us to enjoy. Dad`s going to give me my present inside our tent on Christmas eve.

MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL WHO DROP BY MY SITE HERE ON DOGSTER AND TO ALL MY PUP PALS!!

Smiley

 
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