The Adventures of Smiley

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River tubing

July 20th 2007 9:42 pm
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Dad has added a new exciting aspect to our river trips. He has purchased an inflateable river tube and attaches it to the raft using my 26 ft long retractable leash. Dad says that the feeling of running river rapids is more intense in a tube. I like to stretch out in the safety of the raft when we run a rapid. Dad is posting this rapid video on my page.
Smiley

 

June Appalacian Trail hike

June 26th 2007 4:11 pm
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June Appalacian Trail hiking
Category: Travel and Places


Woofs! Dad and I just returned from a 3 day hike along the Appalacian Trail in central Pennsylvania. We hiked the section of the trail that passes thru the St Anthony Wilderness otherwise known as the Stony Valley natural area. It`s the largest roadless area in PA and adjoins the Ft Indiantown Gap Army Base near Harrisburg.

The weather was sunny and pleasantly warm all 3 days. Friday June 22 was the first day of our hike and a cool refreshing breeze made carrying my dogpack seem effortless! As we hiked the trail this day, we came upon a "Thru Hiker"---someone who is hiking the entire trail from GA to ME! Dad hopes to do this someday when he`s able to retire although it will be with a younger dog as I`m getting a bit on in years. On Fri afternoon, we hiked a side trail along Stony Creek and both of us enjoyed a refreshing swim in a secluded swimming hole here. On Fri nite, we pitched our tent in a secluded area of forest covered with ferns.

Sat June 23 was another sunny warm day and both of us enjoyed more swimming in Clark`s creek. Late in the afternoon, we explored the old mining ruins at Yellow Springs along a blue blazed side trail from the Appalacian Trail. This whole area was a thriving coal mining region in the mid 1800`s and old stone ruins are everywhere! Dad and I camped beside 2 old pit mines late in the day. The ground here was caved in and 2 huge pits extended down into the earth. Dad climbed down into one using an old pipe for support,but he only got so far before the pit was pinched off completely. As darkness came on, there was much birdsong thus making for a pleasant campsite!

Sunday June 24 was the final day of our little adventure, and we swam in the chilly waters of Rausch Creek at mid day. Earlier this morning, 2 horses passed us on the trail and one of them was apparently "spooked" by the sight of a dog carrying a red pack. The horse reared into the air and charged off the trail taking his poor rider thru some tree branches! Fortunately, the rider soon regained control and all was ok.

At Rausch Gap village---another set of ruins from the mid 1800`s--- Dad met a man who was geocaching. This is a sport where you use a GPS to find hidden containers containing various goodies. Dad had a GPS along so the man gave him the coordinates of a cache and after some searching, Dad located it! His first geocache! It was a fun 3 days in the mountains!

Smiley

 

Tagged

May 25th 2007 4:19 pm
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I`ve been tagged by Morgan and Blossom and Wrigley

The rules:

Each player starts with seven random facts about themselves. Dogs who are tagged, need to post in their diary the rules and their 7 pawsome facts. Then choose 7 dogs to tag and list their names. Don’t forget to bark them a pmail that they have been tagged and to read your diary, or, send them a fun Rosette announcing they've been Tagged!

7 fun facts about me:

1 I am terrified of thunderstorms and will dig up carpets to relieve thunderstorm anxiety.

2 My nickname is Mr Snapper because in my younger days, I would snap my jaws in play.

3 Dad has taken me to Alaska 3 times in sept 2001,2002,and 2005.

4 We`ve also been to the Grand Canyon 3 times also in sept 2003,2004,and 2006.

5 I love rafting and Dad takes me out on the Delaware river as often as possible each summer

6 I carry my dogpack on hikes along the Appalacian Trail

7 My cousin is a sweet German Shepherd named Julie who lives in Lake City,FL. I`ve been down several times to visit her.

The dogs I`ve tagged are:

Julie
Jack
Jammin Lady
Tucker
Baby Red Snapper
Sunny
Wesley

 

May hike in Shenandoah National Park,Virginia

May 13th 2007 1:15 pm
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Dad and I just completed a week long hike in the Shenandoah National Park in Virginia. The weather was quite agreeable, being sunny and pleasantly warm all week. A brief description of the hike follows:

Sunday May 6

Dad and I arrived in Shenandoah Park around 10:30 am after almost a 6 hr drive from Phila. The weather today was cool and rather windy,but the sun was shining brightly----GLORIOUS conditions for hiking!
We hiked the Appalacian Trail north from Thornton Gap,following the old fire road to Pass Mt Hut. We saw evidence of a recent fire in this area,as some trees were blackened and there was the smell of smoke in the air. Upon reaching the Pass Mt Hut (a small wooden shelter for hikers) we followed a side trail which lead us to the Appalacian Trail. A few miles of hiking on the Appalacian Trail---or the "AT"--- lead us to the Neighbor Mt Trail.
We hiked the Neighbor Mt trail over the summit of Neighbor Mt and down into the wooded valley which is home to Jeremy`s Run---- a lovely mountain stream! There were fine views of the Shenandoah Valley as we descended the Neighbor Mt trail. The mountains were draped with rich green foliage and they seemed to rise majestically from the valley floor!
We reached Jeremy`s Run late in the afternoon and saw some bear scat or droppings along the trail---- a few days later, Dad would see a bear on this same trail! We hiked north for about a mile on the Jeremy`s Run trail and set up camp beside a thundering waterfall.

Monday May 7

We hiked approximately 4 miles along the Jeremy`s Run trail this morning,crossing Jeremy`s Run several times and passing some lovely small pools and waterfalls along the way. We merged with the Appalacian Trail after passing the Elkwallow wayside where dad stopped to pick up some cold drinks! Hiking the AT north, we turned off on the Piney Branch trail---a lovely side trail that passed thru isolated sections of forest and small streams. Dad and I had our lunch here and relaxed beside Piney stream,both of us enjoying a dip in its cool waters.
We hiked the Piney Branch trail out to the Keyser Run Fire Road. There was a profusion of wildflowers along this road. Rejoining the Appalacian Trail, we hiked north in the late afternoon to the Gravel Springs Hut----another wooden trail shelter. Dad filled up at the spring here and we hiked on out the Bluff Trail. The Bluff Trail cuts off of the Appalacian Trail and follows along the slopes of Mt Marshall. It`s a rather secluded trail,affording fine views of the mountains and valleys of northern Virginia. Following this trail, we reached the Big Devil Stairs trail late in the afternoon.
The Big Devil Stairs canyon is one of the most impressive features of Shenandoah National Park. The trail lead to a rock cliff with a view down into the valley about 100 ft below! Dad up the tent near this spot for night 2 of our trip. Dad snapped a few pix of me standing on this cliff being careful not to get too close to the edge and take a GIANT leap for mankind! A small waterfall poured off the cliff far below.

Tues May 8

We enjoyed some morning views of the Virginia countryside from the heights of Big Devil Stairs canyon then proceeded back out along the Bluff trail to rejoin the AT and hike south along it. We ascended Hogback Mt via switchbacks and came upon a hang glider launch site at the top of the mountain! The weather continued sunny and warm----a contrast to previous years in this Park when we`ve endured cold rains and even sleet and snow!
We left the AT at the Tuscarora Trail and hiked along it for about 2.8 miles descending into a valley which opened up to afford sweeping views of the Massanutten Valley. Dad and I sat on some rock ledges here soaking up the warm afternoon sunlight and gazing at Overall Run Falls which has a 93 ft drop---the highest waterfall in Shenandoah Park.
We circled back around to the Jeremy`s Run trail late in the day and as the last of the daylight was fading, began our descent into the valley of Jeremy`s run. Dad spotted movement and looked up to see a black bear ambling away into the woods beside the trail. He sat down to wait for me to catch up ( I was having problems with my arthritus and was lagging a bit behind) lest the bear attack a lone dog! We camped for night 3 in a small clearing overlooking Jeremy`s run. The stream gurgling outside the tent in the dark lulled us to sleep!

Wed May 9

We hiked the Knob Mt trail up from Jeremy`s run this morning. There were several spots along the trail where trees had fallen thus blocking the trail. There were paths beaten down in the dirt around these downed trees indicating where other hikers had passed around them. This indicated to Dad that the trail was indeed hikeable, so we proceeded on to the summit of Knob Mt. The weather was rather hot today and Dad and I stopped for lunch at the summit of Knob Mt. The 2 beers that Dad had purchased earlier in the day at the Elkwallow wayside were still cool. After the long hike to the summit, Dad remarked that they were 2 darn good tasting beers!!!
After the 3.5 mile descent of Knob Mt via switchbacks, we came to the cool waters of Jeremy`s run. I "smelled" the water as we switchbacked down the last few sections of trail and charged ahead to plunge right in! AHHH!!! Dad enjoyed a dip here as well. An idyllic spot!
We filled up with water here and ascended the Neighbor Mt trail camping along it a few miles up in a grassy clearing that afforded fine views of the mountains. After the tent was set up and we were safely inside, the winds became quite gusty. Later in the evening, Dad noticed that there were a number of tiny ants crawling all over the tent floor! He did his best to squash them. Some were even crawling on his bottle of Mt Dew! He may have inadvertantly drank some ants down,but I told him that ants are a fine source of protein!


Thurs May 10

Dad and I reached our car at mid day to resupply for 3 more days of hiking. We drove south along Skyline Drive to Milam Gap. Here we set out along the Mill Prong trail which lead us down to Camp Hoover----a former presidential retreat of----you guessed it---- Herbert Hoover! We explored the wooden cabins here then ascended the Fork Mt trail to the Jones Mt trail where we set up camp for the night. Overnight it rained and it was soothing to hear the patter of raindrops on the tent as we were warm and safe inside!


Fri May 11

We hiked the Jones Mt trail out to the Jones cabin. The final section of trail descending the mountain to the cabin is rather steep,reminding dad of Happy River Steps or Dalzell Gorge on the Iditarod trail. The Jones Cabin sits in an isolated mountain valley surrounded by the immense forest. No roads are nearby. We relaxed here on the porch in the warm sunshine,enjoying the birdsong and had our lunch here. Dad gained access to Jones cabin through an open window and explored around inside. The cabin has a nice fireplace and even a loft lit by 2 large skylights! Video of this cabin will soon be posted on my page.
We returned from the cabin via the Staunton River trail and enjoyed some dips in icy mountain pools here! We camped once again along the Jones Mt trail for night 6 of the trip.


Sat May 12

Ended the hike this morning by hiking out to the Appalacian Trail. The weather was cloudy and cool,a bit refreshing after the warmth of previous days. We enjoyed some fine mountain views from the Laurel Prong trail as we hiked toward the AT. It was a wonderful week in the mountains of northern Virginia,but my arthritus really wore me down at times. Rimidyl only helps so much and Dad and I are thinking that maybe it`s time for my "retirement" from long distance hiking. Dad may adopt a younger dog soon for long journeys and let me take it easy at home with his brother when he`s off on long hikes.

Smiley

 

First Backpacking Trip of Spring!

April 2nd 2007 8:09 pm
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Woofs! Dad and I just returned from our first backpacking trip of the spring. It was only a short 3 day affair, but we had some really nice weather and it was a lot of fun!

Friday March 30 2007

We left today for a section of the Appalacian Trail near Harrisburg,PA. This is a favourite hiking spot for me and Dad as it is the second largest roadless area in Pennsylvania and has many acres of state game lands surrounding the Appalacian Trail itself ,so that multi-day loop hikes are possible.

We hiked away from Swatara Gap along the Appalacian Trail and began the steep ascent of Second Mountain. The sun was out and the day was quickly warming up. In fact,Dad had to remove his jacket and change into shorts upon reaching the crest of Second Mountain. About this time, a loud rumbling could be heard in the skies above us and fearing the onset of a thunderstorm (I`m TERRIFIED of T-storms!) I began to panic and tug on the leash. The situation resolved itself,however,when a large Army helicopter buzzed by above us at scarcely more than treetop height. This happend a few more times as we hiked the Appalacian Trail across Second Mountain. Dad reassured me and said " Relax and enjoy the free air show,Smiley". Fort Indiantown Gap Army base is near this area hence the Army choppers buzzing by overhead.

The day progressed onward and we eventually stopped for lunch along the trail by a large area of strip mines. Towering piles of coal slag mark the area here---it was an active coal mining area in the mid-1800`s. The green spruce trees here contrasted sharply with the black piles of coal slag.

We hiked a side trail down to Stony Creek. This is an emerald green creek that flows thru a secluded forest. Small islands covered with moss abound in Stony Creek. It makes Dad and I think of the Louisiana Bayou country! Dad used his GPS to locate a deep pool in Stony Creek that he had marked as a waypoint on an earlier trip. He and I did a brief swim here---very brief,as the water was quite chilly! We then hiked onward,losing the primitive trail at times,but eventually re -finding it after some bushwacking. We regained the abandoned railroad bed at length and hiked onward a few more miles before hiking back into the forest to camp for the night.

Stepping outside of the tent, dad noticed a strange light in the sky. It was way too bright for a star and seemed to circle in place over the same area, it was above the approximate area of the Army base so Dad thinks that maybe it was an unmanned drone of sorts. Maybe the Army troops were practicing night manouevers with it. Lots of troop traing was underway here as all throughout our hike , we would periodically hear machine gun fire in the distance!

Sat March 31

Today dawned cloudy and chilly,but after a few hours of hiking,the sun broke through and temps quickly soared towards 60 degrees! Hiking up the Rattling Run trail, dad and I observed numerous piles of coyote droppings. We had heard their barks in the dark the night before. Nice to know that my wild brethern are out and about!

We hiked the Rattling Run trail several miles to its junction with the Water Tank trail. This trail descends the side of Third Mountain quite steeply,making Dad and I think of the Happy River steps or Dalzell Gorge on the Iditarod Trail. We used the Water Tank trail to loop back around to the Appalacian Trail and ascend Stony Mountain. Nice views were had through the still bare trees of the De Hart resevoir as we ascended Stony Mountain. Had our lunch in warm sunshine part way up the mountain.

Late in the afternoon, as we neared the abandoned village of Yellow Springs on the Appalacian Trail,we came upon the blue blazed Stone Tower trail. This is a rock and dirt inclined ramp that was built to serve the mining village of Yellow Springs in the 1800`s and carry coal down to the railroad upon whose abandonded bed we were recently hiking. The Stone Tower trail leads about half a mile uphill to reach an old stone tower. The top portion of the tower has collapsed. It was perhaps part of a mining structure in this area in the 19th century. 2 LARGE open pits are present here along with piles of coal slag. They are probably the remnants of old mines. This is quite an interesting area!

We camped for night 2 about a mile past the abandoned village of Yellow Springs. Overnite we could hear some rain on the tent fly. Nice to be in a warm tent and listen to rain outside!


Sun April 1

Cloudy and cool today with a touch of rain now and then ,as we hiked the Appalacian Trail back towards Rausch Gap village---also a ghost town of the bygone mining era. We explored the strip mines near Rausch Gap briefly,noticing a large rocky canyon here betwen the piles of coal slag. Had to be careful with the footing as one wrong step and down quite a ways you would go! Steep descent of Second Mountain on our way back. I became "spooked" at the sound of machine gun fire in the distance and began to run. Dad put me on leash, but this meant that I was pulling him down the steep trail! Quite a thrilling descent of the mountain! Rain began to fall more steadily, but we soon reached our car and the end of our 3 day adventure.

Smiley

 

Another Winter Trip!

February 2nd 2007 8:22 pm
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Dad managed to get 3 days off unexpectedly, so I got to go on another backpacking trip along the Appalacian Trail.

Tues Jan 30

We left this morning for a section of the Appalacian Trail that runs near Harrisburg,PA. There was a light covering of snow on the ground and the day was mostly sunny as we began our hike. Today was a pleasant winter day of hiking up over Second Mountain then down to the village of Rausch Gap---abandoned village actually as it was in its heyday in the 1850`s when coal mines and a railroad operated here. Small ice floes were present in Rausch Creek and frozen water from the diversion well here created pretty ice sculptures. Dad and I hiked the Appalacian Trail as far as the Cold Springs trail. As we approached Cold Springs, 2 fighter jets from nearby Ft Indiantown Gap roared overhead providing us with a free air show!! We hiked the Cold Springs trail down to the abandoned railroad bed then on towards Yellow Springs. Darkness soon came on and with it a light snow began to fall. The snow soon grew more intense and the snow crystals reflected back in Dad`s headlamp thus creating a sort of "snow fog". We made camp in a clearing off of the railroad bed not too far from Rattling Run. Dad tried to erect the tent as fast as possible as the snow was really comming down heavily but by the time he got it up, the inside of the tent had a fair amount of snow in it! He brushed it out and lit the small camp stove and soon we were snug and warm! The snow soon stopped and the moon came out illuminating the forest. Feathery snow adorned the little branches---quite pretty! Winds gusted overnite and by morning the pretty snow "feathers" were gone from the branches.

Wed Jan 31

Bright sunshine greeted us this morning and we began our hike in good spirits! The day was pleasantly brisk---mid 20`s--- and the winds were fairly light. As we hiked the railroad trail back towards Rattling Run trail,we noticed dog like tracks in the snow. Dad suspects these were coyote tracks. They went on for quite a ways. Good scents here for me!We hiked some miles up the Rattling Run trail to its junction with the Water Tank trail. In this area Army helicopters from nearby Ft Indiantown Gap would occasionally fly low overhead and Dad managed to whip out his digital camera and video one chopper as it made a low pass! We then began the descent of the Water Tank trail. This was a real adventure! Dad and I have never hiked this section of the trail before which leads STEEPLY down to the Railroad Bed trail. The trail is perhaps a mile long and descends very steeply in the first two thirds of its length. We could see the trail dropping far below us,the trees in the distance like small matchsticks. It was rather like hiking down a ski slope for advanced skiers! The snowy surface made for slow hiking so as to avoid a slip. We arrived safely at the junction with the Railroad bed and had our lunch here. The sun was out and the forest was still and calm. No one else was here. Stony Creek flowed along beside us thru towering spruce trees. It brought to mind Jack London`s story "The White Silence". We hiked the railroad bed several miles back to Yellow Springs Village---also a ghost town--- and camped for night 2 under a bright moon beside a small stream. The railroad bed parallels Stony Creek and afforded lovely views of the creek winding thru the snowy forest.


Thurs Feb 1

Light snow was falling in the early morning darkness as Dad exited the tent. We had breakfast and by the time we were ready to break camp, the sun was out! Pleasant hiking back along the Railroad Bed to Rausch Gap. More coyote tracks just like yesterday. Dad photographed the interesting ice sculptures at the Rausch Gap diversion well which seemed to have grown a bit in the past 2 days. It`s been cold enough on this hike---20`s by day and teens at night so no wonder they`ve grown! We then proceeded over Second Mountain and back to our car ending a pleasant 3 days of winter hiking. Some pictures from this trip will be in Webshots under Smiley`s Travels--hotlink on my page.
Smiley

 

First trip of the new year!

January 23rd 2007 8:23 pm
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Woofs,
I`m sooo excited! Dad and I just returned from our first backpacking trip of 2007. We spent 4 lovely days hiking in the Pocono mts in the Delaware Water Gap area in NJ. It was seasonably cold and there was some snow---which has been a rarity for us so far this winter---so it was a really nice trip.

Dad and I left on Friday Jan 19 as light snow was falling. The snow made the roads really icy and we were at times driving really slowly so as not to skid off the road! Fortunately we arrived at the Delaware Water Gap safely and began our hike under mostly sunny skies. Light snow dusted the ground as we hiked to the top of Mt Tammany and back along the fire road. The wind was gusty at times but the bright sun made for a cheerful hike! Dad found a spot sheltered from the wind to have our lunch and we continued our hike. Passing Sunfish Pond---a large glacial lake---we found it partially frozen. Late in the day as darkness was comming on, light snow began to fall. It was neat the way the snowflakes glistened in the light from Dad`s headlamp! We set up our tent in a small clearing off of the Appalacian Trail,and as the tent was being dusted with a light coating of snow,dad went to fetch some water for our supper. I immediately dove into the warm tent for a quick snooze!

Saturday Jan 20 was really windy. Winds gusted past 30 mph at times and the temp stayed mostly in the 20`s , so the wind chill was a bit extreme today. Still, it was sunny most of the day as we hiked the Appalacian Trail back to the Blue Mt lakes area. There was a brief snow shower at mid-day, but that was about it. The solitude of this hike was remarkable,as we encountered NO other hikers yesterday or today. Usually,Dad will meet a few day hikers at least. The wind and cold apparently kept everyone away! Late in the day, we witnessed a glorious sunset as we were nearing the Hemlock Pond trail. Descending the Hemlock Pond trail, darkness overtook us and we made our way to the shores of Hemlock Pond by Dad`s headlamp and my red flashing doglite (a small bike light that Dad clips to my dogpack). Dad set up the tent on the shores of Hemlock Pond---actually the size of a small lake. There was a cold wind blowing and the ice on frozen Hemlock Pond made loud groaning noises from time to time. Dad carefully walked out onto the ice of the pond to find a small hole from which to scoop cupfulls of water for the night.

Sunday Jan 21 was much less windy thus it felt warm even though it was only in the 20`s much of the day. We hiked various wood roads in the area which afford nice loop hikes back to the Appalacian Trail. On one of these woods roads---the Hamilton Trail, we discovered an old cemetary. The Depew Cemetary had family members buried in it who had died as long ago as 1846. Dad found it amazing that these people never even saw the Civil War! The grave stones were old and weathered and a few were broken in half. It was an eerie place! We hiked the Old Mine Road along the Delaware River for about 2 miles to reach the coppermines trail. At the Ponoxo boat launch on Old Mine Road we observed ice floes in the river as well as some lovely small islands. Dad and I would like to return here in summer and swim out to one of those islands. If we both wore our life jackets, we could do it safely.
Upon reaching the coppermines trail, we proceeded to the Kaiser trail which led us back to the Appalacian Trail and our campsite for night 3. This campsite overlooked the Delaware River from the high appalacian ridgetop and the town lights in the distance twinkled like stars!
Under cloudy skies and light snow flurries on Monday Jan 22, we hiked the Appalacian Trail back to the Delaware Water Gap. It was a nice hike back to the trailhead thru a silent forest dusted lightly with snow.
Hoping for another winter trip soon! Dad will post a video from this trip on my page along with a picture or 2. Others will be posted in Webshots under "Smiley`s Travels".
Smiley

 

Conclusion of Grand Canyon/West trip 2006

December 13th 2006 6:49 am
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Thursday Oct 12

Woofs! Dad and I both felt that the exciting parts of the trip were pretty much over by this point but we still had a few more events to look forward to before the trip`s end.

Today we drove into Kansas from Colorado. Instead of using Interstate 70, we decided to do a bit of exploring on some back roads. Dad drove south from Burlington,Colorado on US 385 to the small town of Cheyene Wells. We were in Kit Carson county---made us think of the Old West,cowboys,and gunslingers!!! From there, we proceeded east on US 40 on into Kansas. This backroads route traversed desolate rolling grasslands punctuated here and there with small windmills to pump water for livestock. Dad always gets off the Interstate on long road trips from time to time and uses parallel backroads. There`s usually not much traffic on them and we get to see interesting things or enjoy solitude. Us 40 eventually rejoined Interstate 70 at Oakley,Kansas. Western Kansas is kinda pretty with its rolling ,empty grasslands. These grasslands are dotted with small buttes here and there and some rugged gullies as well." Civilization" begins to return as you travel on into eastern Kansas and the land flattens out into plain farmland. We travelled on into Missouri,stopping at the town of Concordia for the night. Concordia was settled by German immigrants and the streets have German names such as Bismark.


Friday October 13

This morning we made a stop to hike the Katy trail near Rocheport,Missouri. The Katy trail is an old railroad bed that has been converted into a hiking/bike trail. It`s 225 miles long and parallels the Missouri River. Dad and I hiked about 6 miles of it this morning enjoying the fall colors and views of the Missouri River. Perhaps on our next Grand Canyon/California trip we`ll devote an entire day to hiking this scenic trail!

We continued on past St Louis and glimpsed the famous Arch. Then came Illinois and Indiana late in the day. We stopped for the final night of our trip in Plainfield,IN.


Sat Oct 14

We arrived home late in the day today after traversing Ohio and the Allegheny Mountains of Pennsylvania. It was a wonderful trip with my Dad,although any place is fine with me as long as Dad is along! Next year we`re heading back to Alaska---Sept 2007. Dad plans to try a remote route that traverses northern Alberta and the Northwest Territories of Canada. This route bypasses the first 300 miles of the Alaska Highway before rejoining it at Fort Nelson,British Columbia. This will be Dad`s 10th trip to Alaska and the 4th one for me! I`ll bark all the details regarding it next fall!

Smiley

 

Grand Canyon Days 24--25

December 11th 2006 7:42 pm
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Tues Oct 10

We stopped back at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary for a final visit to Butch`s memorial this morning. Then Dad and I did some hiking on the trails at the sanctuary. We hiked this one trail that led to a small cave inside of which was an underground lake! Dad thought about swimming in the lake, but after wading into the chilly waters,decided against it. We took some photos then left the sanctuary and proceeded up US 89 to Interstate 70.

Interstate 70 has to be one of the more scenic Interstates in the country as it traverses colorful desert with interesting rock arches and spires. We admired the views from several rest areas along the way. Eventually we crossed into Colorado and stopped for the night in the small town of New Castle in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains.


Wed Oct 11

Today we crossed the Continental Divide at Loveland Pass. The elevation here is about 11,900 ft. Dad parked his car at the side of US highway 6 here and both of us proceeded to hike some trails in the Colorado Rockies. There was a strong wind blowing and the temperature was only in the low 30`s so Dad donned his parka and gloves and we set off. It had snowed recently and although the road itself was clear, there were several inches of snow in the mountains. Sections of ground were swept entirely clear of snow by the fierce winds while in other areas there were windblown drifts. Dad and I hiked to the summit of a mountain where he took some pictures of me and a short video clip as well. It will be posted soon in my video book! We spent about 2 hours hiking here but eventually the strong winds blowing above 30 mph and cold forced us back down to the trailhead. Dad was getting a bit dizzy from the altitude as well and felt that hiking too much longer would render it difficult to make it back safely to our car! We ended the day in the town of Burlington near the Kansas border.

 

Grand Canyon Days 22 and 23

December 7th 2006 1:15 pm
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Sun Oct 8

Dad and I left Cedar City,Utah today and travelled winding Utah route 14 over Midway summit in the Dixie National Forest. The road had recieved a dusting of snow the night before,but the morning sunshine had warmed the ground and the only snow was on the grass bordering the road. The views from the summit were superb. We saw a blue mountain lake surrounded by a vast forest and mountain peaks in the distance. Route 14 took us to US 89 and the town of Kanab,home of Best Friends Animal Sanctuary. Dad and I paid a quick visit here to visit the memorial he had placed there for Butch then we headed off to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. Dad and I spent the afternoon hiking the rim trails here. The North Rim is higher than the South Rim by about 1000 ft and you can actually see over the South Rim all the way back to the San Francisco Mts near Flagstaff,AZ. We hiked the Transept trail then worked our way back to the Ken Patrick and Uncle Jim trails for several more miles of hiking. All 3 trails afforded views deep into the Canyon. We were on the Uncle Jim trail longer than planned and Dad and I barely made it back to our car before dark. Dad was concerned because he didn`t bring along his headlamp.


Mon Oct 9

Today, we drove back to the North Rim after a morning visit to Best Friends Animal Sanctuary. We drove out to Point Imperial and proceeded to hike the Ken Patrick trail from the other end. We had our lunch in pleasant sunshine on the trail while gazing at the tall rock spire of Mt Hayden. Mt Hayden is a tall column of rock which rises from the Canyon floor far below. We continued to hike the Ken Patrick trail but clouds soon rolled in and before long there was the loud crash of thunder and hail soon began to fall. The hailstones continued to pummel us as Dad quickly donned raingear. My dogpack shielded me somewhat from the hail. Needless to say, we were both quite scared of a lightning strike as we were out along the exposed Canyon rim. We turned around and hurried back to the car as fast as we could. Fortunately there was no lightning to contend with but the ground was soon covered with hailstones sort of like a wierd type of snow.

The storm passed as we were driving away from Point Imperial and there was actually some sun at the end of the day as Dad and I enjoyed the stunning views from Bright Angel Point. Driving back to Kanab,UT late in the afternoon we were treated to a double rainbow in the sky!

 
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