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The Adventures of Smiley

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Grand Canyon Day 21

December 5th 2006 12:37 pm
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Sat Oct 7

Today Dad and I explored the Nevada desert. We left Fallon and headed south on US 95 to Walker Lake. This is a large lake sitting in the middle of the arid desert rather like a pretty jewel! Dad and I both walked for a bit around the lake but it was much too chilly to do any swimming. We continued on down US 95 passing thru the small town of Hawthorne. There is an Army base here and the orderly rows of Army buildings contrasted with the brown desert mountains rising behind them. We saw raised mounds of dirt here also with cement doors. I thought that this was where the Army dogs stored their biscuits, but Dad said that there was probably ordinance stored inside.

At Tonopah, we headed east on US 6 to Warm Springs. There`s not too much to the town of Warm Springs save a deserted gas station. There was a small stream here and when Dad stuck his hand in it sure enough it was warm! No surprise as to the town`s name. There is a sign across US 6 from the abandoned gas station which reads "Extraterrestrial Highway". Nevada route 375 starts here and traverses the empty desert crossing a rugged mountain and passing the " Little Aleinn" where there is a model of a UFO outside. The whole stretch of highway is so remote that Dad and I felt as if we were traversing the Iraqi desert! It`s easy to imagine a UFO setting down here! There was a brisk wind all day today and the desert was refreshingly cool. We ended the night in Cedar City, Utah planning to visit Best Friends Animal Sanctuary and the North Rim of Grand Canyon the next day.


Grand Canyon Day 20

November 30th 2006 7:28 pm
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Friday October 6

Dad and I crossed the Sierra Nevada Mts today at Donner Pass and stopped at Donner Lake. Our Dogster friend Wesley`s mom has a cabin on Donner Lake and we had recieved permission from her to visit,so Dad and I stopped by to check the cabin out. Nobody was home but we took some pictures here and had lunch on the roofed portch. A good thing there was a roof here as a thunderstorm came along as we were having lunch complete with hail! Dad has posted a video clip of the Donner Lake cabin on my page. We hiked some trails around Donner Lake in the afternoon before getting back on Interstate 80. Another fierce thunderstorm came along as we were nearing the Nevada border with much larger hailstones. Dad was afraid that the hail would crack our windshield but the storm soon passed without any damage. We stopped for the night in Fallon,NV and Dad bought me a hamburger for my supper as today is the 6th anniversary of my adoption!


Grand Canyon Day 19

November 23rd 2006 2:11 pm
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Thursday October 5

Today dawned rainy as Dad walked me along the streets of Petaluma,California. Dad and I really wanted to see more of the California coast so despite the rain we headed towards SR 1 and the Pacific coast. We reached the coast at the small town of Jenner and proceeded to explore several beaches. The sun broke thru at mid-morning and we had a great day walking these beaches and wading in the chilly ocean. We visited the Point Arena Lighthouse and I got to climb the circular steps ---all 6 stories--to the top. There was an excellent view out over the rocky shoreline from atop the lighthouse. We could see the waves crashing violently on the rocks far below! A few of the beaches we explored today had jagged spires of rock that rose from the Pacific Ocean. At one such beach, we saw a sea kayaker paddling along. We travelled the coastal highway as far as Ft Bragg where we turned inland back to US 101 stopping for the night in the town of Ukiah.


Grand Canyon Days 17 and 18

November 21st 2006 2:47 pm
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Tuesday October 3

Today Dad and I drove thru the Mojave desert on our way out to the coast of California. The desert is kinda neat with its vast empty spaces. While driving up Interstate 5 we saw an aqueduct that supplies water to Los Angeles. Later in the afternoon, we stopped at the San Luis resevoir which is about 100 miles or so south of San Francisco. This is a state recreation area and there is a large artificial lake here. Dad decided to use the raft again and so he inflated it and we paddled out onto the waters of the resevoir. Unfortunately, it was a rather windy day and the water was very choppy as well as a bit cold. Large waves continually splashed into the raft and it was a real battle for Dad to paddle back to shore against the wind. We finally made it safely ashore and drove on to Sunnyvale where we spent the night.

Wednesday October 4

Dad walked me along the streets of Sunnyvale early this morning. We actually saw the headquarters of Yahoo! That certainly told Dad and I that we were in silicon valley.

Arrived in San Francisco about 9:30 and proceeded to locate 555 De Haro street which is the home of Dogster. We visited Dogster HQ and the nice folks there gave me lots of treats. Dad had to put his little Geo in first gear to make it up some of those hilly streets of San Francisco. THANKYOU Dogster HQ for a pleasant visit.

We hiked some trails around San Francisco Bay by the Golden Gate Bridge in the afternoon. It was cloudy, but the rain held off till we were crossing the Golden Gate bridge on our way back to our car. We took another hike of a few miles along Stinson Beach late in the afternoon before stopping in Petaluma for the night.


Grand Canyon Day 16

November 19th 2006 2:36 pm
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Monday Oct 2

Dad and I left Flagstaff today and travelled to Lake Havasu City on the AZ--CA border. There is a large man made lake here---Lake Havasu and Dad inflated the raft that he had brought along and took me out rafting on the lake! We paddled out quite a ways from the shore and could see Dad`s car as a tiny speck on the shoreline. Jet skis on the lake created waves as they went by and our raft was really bobbing along! We spent a few hours rafting here and then drove across London Bridge. The original London Bridge was moved stone by stone from England then reassembled here in the Arizona desert at Lake Havasu. You have to drive over London Bridge to access the lake. There are even bullet marks in the London Bridge stones from the German blitz during WW 2! We ended the day in Barstow, CA.


Grand Canyon Days 14--15

November 16th 2006 8:25 pm
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Sat Sept 30

Dad and his buddies awoke early this morning at the Bright Angel campground and began the ascent out of the Canyon by headlamp. It was kinda neat hiking over the suspension bridge and hearing the roar of the Colorado River below in the darkness. Dad,Allan and Linda reached the South Rim by lunchtime ending a spectacular week of backpacking in the Grand Canyon!

Sun Oct 1

Woof!! Finally I got to do some Grand Canyon hiking myself. After picking me up at the kennels yesterday, Dad gave me a nice 12 mile walk along the Rim trail today. We started about 8am and hiked out to Hermit`s Rest and back,enjoying many fine views down into the Canyon along the way. Dogs are allowed on the Rim trail and it`s really a great spot to hike with a dog as it`s much cooler than down inside the Canyon itself.


Grand Canyon Day 13

November 12th 2006 8:08 am
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Friday Sept 29

Dad and his 2 hiking companions got an early start to the day by rising at 3:30 in order to be on the trail by 4 am. This early start allowed them to complete the return hike of the Clear Creek trail before the heat of the day became too intense. Afternoon can be a very hot time on the Clear Creek trail where shade is scarce!

It was really neat hiking by headlamp under a starry sky. The gurgle of Clear Creek could be heard below as Dad and his friends ascended the switchbacks out of Clear Creek canyon. After about an hour of hiking, the sky began to brighten and a glorious sunrise was observed. The cliffs of the Grand Canyon glow in the early morning sunlight---quite a beautiful sight!

Dad,Allan and Linda reached the Bright Angel campground about 10 am. This was to be their 6th and final camp for the hike. Plenty of time was left for exploring, so after setting up his tent, Dad set off up the North Kaibab trail headed for Phantom Canyon. Phantom Canyon is a narrow side canyon that branches off of the North Kaibab trail a few miles above the Bright Angel campground. Phantom Creek flows thru this canyon flanked on either side by walls that soar hundreds of feet high. Dad had to climb up a few small waterfalls and wade thru pools of water as he explored this canyon. Finally he was stopped after about a mile when he encountered a deep pool that required swimming. There was no way to safely do this without possibly dunking his camera. Not having a waterproof bag, he reluctantly had to turn back. Even so, Phantom Canyon was fun to explore. It`s a secret little world of its own within the Grand Canyon with small isolated beaches,soaring cliffs,and deep pools! Dad had his lunch on one such beach here! He`ll post a video of Phantom Canyon on my page so any readers of my diary can see what it looks like.

Late in the afternoon, Dad spent time relaxing by the Colorado river itself and even took a COLD swim in the river. A very brief swim! A glorious sunset was observed as the rays of the setting sun painted the Canyon`s walls a vivid gold color.


Grand Canyon Day 12

November 8th 2006 12:57 pm
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Thursday Sept 28

Today Dad and his friends reached Clear Creek itself. A steep descent via rubbly switchbacks brought them to the deep canyon in which flows Clear Creek. Clear Creek has a strong,reliable flow and it`s a soothing respite from the heat of the otherwise dry Grand Canyon. Dad spent much of the day exploring down the side canyon that Clear Creek flows through. As he hiked along, the creek passed through some narrow canyons with sheer rock walls that soared upward for several hundred feet! In other spots, he had to descend small waterfalls. There were also spots where trees grew in the sandy soil dappled with sunshine. Little oasies in the Canyon! Had he time to follow the creek far enough, Dad would`ve come to the Colorado River itself, but time was growing short, so he reluctantly had to turn around and hike several miles back to the base camp. Dad plans a layover day on a future hike here so he can hike all the way to the river. Still Clear Creek`s canyon was quite a spectacle to behold!


Grand Canyon Day 11

November 5th 2006 1:46 pm
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Wed Sept 27

Dad started his hike along the Clear Creek trail today in the company of Linda and Allan. The Clear Creek trail begins with steep switchbacks as it ascends out of Bright Angel Canyon and spectacular views are had down onto the 2 footbridges that span the Colorado River as well as the entire Phantom Ranch area. After a climb of almost 2 miles, the trail levels off and follows along a plateau on the North Rim side. Views here are expansive and take in the Colorado river as well as the towering buttes of Grand Canyon itself. Small rock overhangs scattered along the trail provided welcome patches of shade from the hot sun as the day`s hike progressed. Dad had lunch in one of these small shade patches. There are some nice clear spots along the Clear Creek trail that would make scenic campsites if you hauled water along. Late in the afternoon, Dad and his companions reached a small side canyon where they set up camp for the night. Dad hiked down this canyon for about a mile past the campsite and found a refreshing deep pool in which to soak his feet. This small side canyon was about 2 miles from the trail`s end at Clear Creek itself.


Autumn hiking on the Appalacian Trail

November 4th 2006 2:38 pm
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I`m interrupting my account of our recent Grand Canyon adventure to bark about our latest hike on the Appalacian Trail. Dad and I travelled to a nice section of the Appalacian Trail near Harrisburg,PA known as the St Anthony Wilderness. We left last monday and just returned yesterday. It was a splendid 5 day hike! All the fall colors were out as we started the hike. Monday,Tues and Wed were sunny and mild then a cold front came through on wed nite with some heavy rain and wind. Dad and I were safely nestled inside our tent,though. We just LOVE being inside a dry tent when it`s raining outside---such a cozy feeling! Thursday and especially Friday were still sunny but much cooler and wed nite`s rain and wind had stricken many of the leaves from the trees. We explored a boulder field on tues under which runs a subterrainian river. As we were hiking here, an Army helicopter from the nearby Ft Indiantown Gap base made a low buzz,almost like a strafing run. Dad and I almost ducked for cover! On the last day of the hike on friday, we visited the "General"---a huge bulldozer type piece of machinery that dates from many decades ago that some enterprising people somehow managed to get way back in the remote woodlands off of the Appalacian Trail. Video clips from this latest adventure will soon appear on my page.


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