Wesley`s wanders

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Geocaching in 6 Mile Run State Park,NJ

January 11th 2008 7:52 pm
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Hi everybody! Dad took me and brother Smiley for a long day hike yesterday in central New Jersey. We drove to the tiny town of Griggsville along the Raritan canal. Griggsville is in the general vicinity of Princeton,NJ. Dad parked the car here and put on my dogpack. This was my first experience carrying a dogpack and Dad wanted to get me used to the feel of it. Carrying a dogpack will be an integral part of future camping trips. The pack felt a little strange at first,but I soon got used to it and I carried it 3 miles up the canal towpath to the 6 Mile Run recreation area. It was a partly sunny day and the temp was near 60 degrees----excellent January hiking weather!!

We spent several hours hiking the trails in 6 Mile Run. This is a neat area of open fields and secluded stands of forest. There are numerous streams in the area, 2 of which we had to ford. I was hesitant to enter the chilly water,but once Dad "encouraged" me to do so, I quickly crossed and shook out on the opposite shore. We hiked thru a large forested area and all was silent. Patches of sunlight created warm pools of light on the forest floor. We stopped for lunch in one such spot. It was totally silent and the warm sun felt so relaxing.

Dad has placed 2 geocaches in this area (hidden tupperware containers whose coordinates are posted on geocaching.com) and he used his GPS to locate the first one. All was well with it and he left a tennis ball in the container as the cache has a dog theme----it`s called 6 Mile Run Dogpound! Next he keyed in the coordinates to the 2nd cache he had placed in this area and proceeded to hike as directly as possible towards it rather than use the established trails. This proved quite an adventure. We wound up bushwacking thru thickets of thorns,hiking across trackless fields,and crossing a stream in a hidden meadow. We then climbed a steep bank,more thorns, but the GPS led us unerringly to the correct spot and we soon located and checked up on the 2nd geocache. Dad left a dogster sticker in it!
Late in the afternoon,we hiked back along the canal towpath to our car. I passed my dogpack test with flying colors as I successfuly carried it for nearly 15 miles!
Wes

 

A walk by moonlight

January 20th 2008 5:35 pm
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Just got back from a long walk thru our local pennypack park. We walked about 5 miles after Dad got home from work today. My brother Smiley and I had our red flashing doglights on and there was a full moon out. It was so peaceful with the moon illuminating the woods as Dad,Smiley and I hiked along the trails. It was about 18 degrees with a light wind,just a perfect tranquil winter night.
Wes

 

Winter hiking in central Pennsylvania

January 27th 2008 7:58 am
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Woofs to all!
My brother,Smiley,and I enjoyed a day of hiking in the Pocono mountains near Big Pocono State Park. There were a couple of inches of snow on the ground and it was well packed down which made for excellent hiking. Dad had his GPS along and he used it to find a geocache which was hidden in the woods along an old railroad trail. It was sunny and windy today and Dad took his tent along so that we could set it up and have shelter from the cold and wind while having our lunch. This was my first time in a tent and I think that tents are kinda neat! Dad wants to get me used to the tent for future camping trips. My brother Smiley is an old pro at tenting as he has accompanied Dad on numerous camping trips. We did a lot of bushwacking thru dense forest to find the hidden geocache and in the process had to cross a few icy streams---yuck! Still it was a fun envigorating winter hike. Dad posted a new video clip of this hike on my page.
Wes

 

A fun day of Geocaching

March 17th 2008 1:59 pm
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Dad took me and brother Smiley out geocaching today. We drove about 45 miles in Dad`s new Subaru Outback to Bulls Island in New Jersey`s Raritan Canal State Park. It was raining lightly in the morning but the rain soon ended and we had a partly sunny but windy day. Dad used his hand held GPS unit to locate 2 hidden geocaches. He downloaded the coordinates from geocaching.com then used the GPS to guide him to the location of each cache. The first cache was a small film container that had a small paper log inside to sign and the second was a small metal box hidden inside a metal post with a magnet. He left a quarter inside for the next lucky person who finds this cache. We spent the remainder of the day enjoying a fine hike along the canal towpath which adjoins the Delaware River. Geocaching---a sort of hi tech treasure hunt--- adds excitement to our hikes! Well,it`s Dad that enjoys the geocaching part,Smiley and I just enjoy the hiking and sniffing!
Wes

 

A fine spring hike!

April 25th 2008 8:59 pm
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Woofs to all,
Today was a beautiful,warm spring day and Dad treated me to a long hike. We drove to Griggstown in central New Jersey and proceeded to hike along the Raritan canal towpath. The placid waters of the canal are on one side of the path and dense forest on the other. Dad and I hiked a few miles along the towpath then hiked a side trail which led into the dense forest. The trail followed a small side stream and led us to the Millstone River. There were lots of pretty wildflowers here all exuding wonderful fresh spring smells! The temperature soared past 80 degrees today and Dad and I were able to enjoy some swimming as well. We hiked the towpath as far as the 6 mile run wilderness area then left the towpath to hike the trails in the 6 Mile Run area. Dad checked up on a few geocaches that he has hidden here,then we explored the trails in the area. We came upon a secluded beach by the waters of 6 Mile Run where we enjoyed our lunch in warm sunshine! Then some more swimming in 6 Mile Run. On the way home, I stuck my head out of the car window and enjoyed the mild spring air. It was a splendid hike and I was sure a tired pup at day`s end!
Paws,
Wes

 

Delaware River hiking

May 1st 2008 8:44 pm
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April 30,2008
Dad and I had a great day of hiking today on the canal towpaths on both sides of the Delaware River. We arrived at Washington Crossing state park in New Jersey early in the morning . Dad parked the car and we proceeded to cross the Delaware River bridge into Pennsylvania. It was sunny,but a chilly wind was blowing as we began our hike. Reaching the PA side of Washington Crossing state park,we hiked across some fields and soon came to the canal towpath. This we followed for about 5 miles. It parallels the Delaware river and affords sweeping views of the river in spots! The towpath here is a tad rough in spots as it was subjected to a few floods of the Delaware river recently,but isn`t really too difficult to hike. We hiked up to New Hope and crossed the bridge there into New Jersey. It had warmed up nicely by now and we hiked along the towpath on the Jersey side. We soon passed the wing dam about a mile below the New Hope bridge. Here there is a set of foaming rapids! Dad and I walked out onto the concrete surface of the wing dam which extends out into the Delaware river. It was flooded over in spots,but the water was only moderately chilly, so we just walked thru it. Dad posted a new video on my page "New Hope Rapids" showing views of the rapids from the wing dam. We then hiked onward,and detoured off the towpath into a field where a side trail led is to a secluded spot by the river. Here we had our lunch in warm sunshine while enjoying the tranquil river views. We then rejoined the canal towpath and hiked back to Washington Crossing park,detouring onto some trails that wind thru the park. Dad located another Geocache here,a hard one to find that had eluded him on previous attempts. He met another geocacher here and together we located the cache. We then returned to our car. A very nice spring hike!
Wes

 

Shenandoah National Park---SNP---2008

May 20th 2008 2:42 pm
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Day 1 Sun May 11

This was my very first overnite camping trip with my dad. We were headed for Shenandoah National Park in the Blue Ridge mountains of Virginia for a week of hiking and camping out in a tent. Dad and I both carried backpacks,although his was a bit heavier than mine!

We left Philadelphia under cover of darkness around 4:30 in the morning traveling in dad`s new Subaru Outback. We arrived in Shenandoah National Park,hereafter referred to as SNP,about 11:30 and began our hike from Simmons Gap. It was very windy and cool today. There was also dense fog in the mountains as we began our hike over Weaver mountain from Simmons Gap. Dad says that there is a feeling of serenity obtained from hiking in the fog! Dad has posted a video clip on my page of the fog as we hiked over Weaver mt. Descending Weaver mt we arrived at Pinefield hut,a small wood and stone shelter located a short way off of the Appalacian Trail. We had our lunch here to escape the cool gusty winds.

Shortly after leaving the hut,rain began as we hiked south on the Appalacian trail. The rain was heavy at times and there were some vivid flashes of lightning followed by loud rumbles of thunder. I was one scared pup,but dad comforted me and I found the courage to hike onward. Rain continued for a few hours then actually let up as we neared the Loft Mountain campground. The sun actually peeked out for a bit around 5 pm, but this respite was short lived and fog and mist soon returned. The fog became thicker and the mist steadier as evening came on and Dad set up camp in a pleasant clearing beside the Appalacian Trail near the Doyle River trail intersection.

Unusual cool weather for May---temps stayed in the upper 40`s or low 50`s all day. Woofs,where is global warming when a pup needs it!!!

 

SNP 2008 Day 2

May 21st 2008 2:00 pm
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Monday May 12

There was a steady rain on the tent overnite,and this morning dawned cool and cloudy. The temperature was only 35 degrees----a tad chilly for May,but then again we were up high in the mountains.

Dad and I detoured off of the Appalacian Trail to hike down the Doyle River trail then back up to rejoin the AT (Appalacian Trail) via the Jones Run trail. In SNP mountain streams are referred to interchangably as rivers or runs but they are really just clear mountain streams. There are several waterfalls along the Doyle River---Jones Run circuit and they were all flowing with a good deal of force due to the recent rains. The waterfalls really were quite spectacular!

Ascending the Jones Run trail,I caught a tantalizing scent. I was so eager to track it down that I slipped out of my dogpack and much to Dad`s chagrin took off into the vastness of the woods after it. I never did catch that darn critter and eventually lost interest and tried to retrace my route and find my dad again. After a while,I heard his voice calling me and we met up at the exact spot where I had originally slipped out of my pack.

Rejoining the AT, we hiked over Blackrock----a large boulder field of (you guessed it!) black rocks that sits atop a mountain. Here someone had hidden a geocache and dad used his GPS to locate it. We then set off along the Trayfoot Mt trail which follows a narrow ridge away from Blackrock summit. There were fine views of the forested mountain valleys from up here. We hiked the Trayfoot Mt trail down to a point that dad marked on his GPS as Trayfoot Vista. Coordinates are N 38° 12.011 W 078° 47.440 . There are sweeping views of the Shenandoah valley from this point as well as a fine view of Buzzard Rock.
We camped for night 2 on the Paine Run trail. We found a pleasant clearing near the cool waters of Paine Run to set up the tent. It was necessary to ford the chilly waters of Paine Run in 2 places to get to this campsite. The run was flowing at a good clip due to the recent rains and it made a pleasant gurgling sound outside the tent all throughout the night.

The weather today was cloudy and cool but at least no rain.

 

SNP 2008 Day 3

May 22nd 2008 7:37 pm
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Tues May 13

Today was a spectacular day of hiking. Sunny and warm! Dad and I explored the Moorman`s River fire road,enjoying a few nice swimming holes and even sunbathing on a warm rock ledge along the way.

We began by descending the North Fork of the Moorman`s river fire road after exiting the Paine Run trail at Blackrock Gap. About a mile down the fire road from Blackrock Gap ,we came upon a few old buses converted into hunting camps. Dad was reminded of the bus that Chris Mccandless stayed in in the movie "Into the Wild". This fire road followed the North fork of the Moorman`s river which was running high and swift due to recent rains. We had to ford it in several places and the current was swift and strong! Approximately 3.7 miles along this trail, we came upon a high waterfall---Big Branch Falls. There are 3 or 4 waterfalls here,the highest of which has a free fall of about 50 feet. The waters of Big Branch were foaming as they flowed to the North fork of the Moorman`s River. Dad and I relaxed for about a half hour here,sunbathing on some warm rocks beside the falls. We hiked onward towards the Charlottesville Resevoir,enjoying a relaxing lunch along the way. Fording the river one last time above the resevoir, we came upon the south fork road and followed that as it paralled the south fork of the Moorman`s River. Here dad and I found a nice swimming hole and dad enjoyed the icy waters while I lounged on a rock. We hiked onward to the Turk Branch cutoff trail and hiked that back up to the AT camping on the AT for night 3. I caught some interesting scents while ascending the Turk Branch trail and was yipping madly for a time!

 

SNP 2008 DAY 4

May 23rd 2008 6:57 pm
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Wed May 14
Last night`s campsite on the AT was rather picturesque. We saw the sun set in the evening then rise again this morning!
Dad and I hiked several miles of the Appalacian Trail---AT--- today heading north to the Blackrock Hut. We were low on water, so dad detoured off of the AT to fill up at the spring beside the Blackrock Hut. There was another hiker there who had spent the night and was just packing up to leave,getting a rather late start as it was after noon when we arrived at the hut. She was headed south to Georgia then over a new trail to Alabama. While we were there, another hiker happened by who was northbound to Harpers Ferry. He got a fire going in the fire pit and as it was a tad chilly, Dad and I warmed ourselves by the fire.

We hiked back over Blackrock summit and then down to the Big Run Portal Trail. This old horse trail follows along Big Run stream crossing it several times which ment that we had to ford the stream several times. The current was a bit swift but really wasn`t to difficult to ford. We hiked up the Rocky Mountain run trail and camped beside a pleasant waterfall for night 4. The weather today was sunny and mild in the morning, but high clouds moved in in the afternoon and it grew a tad more chilly.

 
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