Wesley`s wanders

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SNP 2008 Day 5

May 25th 2008 6:54 pm
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Thurs May 15

We hiked the Rocky Run trail back up to Skyline Drive,then hiked along the shoulder of Skyline Drive for about 1 1/2 miles to rejoin the AT near Pinefield Hut. It was rather scenic hiking the Drive as we were afforded sweeping views from the overlooks along the way.

Crossing back over Weaver mt, Dad and I caught sight of a bear cub but it turned and fled into the surrrounding woods at our approach. We arrived safely back at our car in Simmons Gap and drove Skyline Drive north to Thornton Gap where we re-supplied and began Phase 2 of our 2008 Shenandoah hike. We hiked the AT north,stopping at Pass Mt hut to resupply at the spring. We met 2 hikers there who had stopped for the day to dry out gear. We then hiked further north along the AT to the Neighbor Mt trail and hiked about .4 miles along it to camp at a small rise in the trail. There were nice views here of the farm valleys below. The coordinates of this scenic campsite are N 38° 42.070 W 078° 20.487.

Shortly after dad set up the tent, it began to rain and we were snug inside the tent as rain pelted down for most of the night.

 

SNP 2008 Day 6

May 26th 2008 7:38 am
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Friday May 16

There was a cold rain on the tent much of the night and this morning dawned cool and foggy with a light mist. Dad and I had breakfast inside the cozy tent then dad took the tent down and we resumed our hike along the Neighbor Mt trail, descending the mountain towards the stream known as Jeremy`s Run. The fog was VERY thick in spots as we hiked down the mountain,it really was quite eerie! Dad said that it reminded him of a movie he once saw about Jack the Ripper and the foggy streets of London! (woofs,my dad can me a bit strange at times!).

Upon reaching the bottom of the Neighbor Mt trail, we found ourselves in a deep valley thru which flows Jeremy`s Run. Normally this is a placid little mountain stream but due to all the recent rain, it was flowing quite swiftly. Dad didn`t think that we could make it safely across at the designated trail crossing as the rapids were rather wicked looking so we found a narrower spot a short ways upstream to cross. Dad removed my dogpack and I bravely(with just a LITTLE encouragement from dad)plunged into the icy stream and paddled for the far shore. Once thru the deep middle part, I reached shallower water and was able to gain the far shore. Dad had me on my long Flexi lead and he used this to steady himself as he crossed with our packs.

Once across, we ascended the Knob mt trail,the fog being less dense now,and gained the summit around 1 pm. Dad and I relaxed on the foggy summit,it really was quite isolated and serene there with the fog,and had our lunch there. Dad used his camp stove for a bit of heat as it was chilly with the fog. We hiked the Knob mt trail back down to Jeremy`s Run this time crossing at a place where the stream was quite narrow. We rejoined the AT and began hiking south ascending the mountain as we hiked. The fog had entirely cleared by now and a gusty wind had sprung up. It was quite windy and cool late in the afternoon as we hiked the AT back towards the Neighbor mt trail. By coincidence we obtained the same campsite as last night at that pleasant little knoll. We had supper inside the tent,letting the stove simmer for warmth as it was only 50° outside. It was quite pleasant to be in a warm tent with the winds gusting outside!

 

SNP 2008 DAYS 7---8

May 28th 2008 6:37 am
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Sat May 17

Winds subsided overnite and this morning dawned bright and sunny! Dad and I hiked the AT a few miles back to the Pass Mt hut then on down the Pass Mt trail for 3 miles to US rt 211. The Pass mt trail is cool and shady in its lower sections,quite a lovely trail!
We had to hike along the shoulder of US 211 for about a mile to connect up with the Buck Hollow trail. We saw a few cyclists pedalling up the steep grade of the highway and some going the opposite direction enjoying the exhilariting downhill rush! A passing motorist saw Dad and me both with our packs on and stopped briefly to chat. The man actually gave Dad 2 cans of (appropriately, since this was close to Washington DC) Busch beer! Dad thanked him and decided to save the beer for his lunch later on.
We reached the Buck Hollow trail which follows a pleasant mountain stream and began our hike back up the mountain. This stream flowed thru a few scenic rock gorges and was a very pretty trail to hike. Dad used the stream to cool off the cans of beer when we stopped for lunch. Needless to say,that was probably our best lunch on the trail!
The Buck Hollow trail led us eventually to the Hazel Mt trail and from there, we connected up with the White Rocks trail. About a mile or so along this trail, there is a cutoff trail that descends steeply to a secluded valley. A lovely waterfall here cascades down sheer rock walls into a series of deep pools. Dad took a chilly dip in one of them. We relaxed at this spot for a while then moved on to camp for the evening in a clearing on the White Rocks trail near the Hazel River trail. It was breezy and cool this evening.


Sunday May 18

We hiked the Hazel River trail which ascends the lower reaches of the Hazel River passing thru thick vegitation. Once we gained the upper reaches of this trail, the plant growth thinned out and we were hiking thru some nice pine forest. It was sunny and cool this morning,quite pleasant for hiking. Dad and I hiked back up the Hazel Mt trail from its intersection with Hazel River trail and in about 3 miles reached Skyline Drive and a connector trail back up to the Appalacian Trail---AT. Light rain had started at this point and Dad had to erect the tarp at a spot along the AT so we could have lunch out of the rain. The rain ended as we were hiking back down to Thornton Gap and the sun was out as we reached the car thus ending the Shenandoah hike for 2008.

 

Skin Problems

May 28th 2008 7:59 am
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Sorry to say, I have a bit of a problem and Dad is really perplexed by it. Some months ago,I developed a hot spot and chewed it quite raw. I suffered a series of hot spots after that and dad had me to his local vet a few times. He`s been treating my hot spots with hydrogen peroxide and cortisone spray as well as giving me Benadryl. On our recent camping trip, I managed to chew another hot spot on my back and by the trips end, it was quite raw and oozing pus. Dad stopped in the emergency room of the University of Pennsylvania`s vet hospital on the way home from Shenandoah Park in Virginia and they shaved a big spot on my back and tail in order to treat the sores there. The vet put me on a dose of Rimadyl and Clavamox and reccommended that we eventually see Penn`s dermatology service to discover the underlying cause of the allergy which is causing he hot spots and my chewing them raw. Dad has an appointment with Penn`s dermatology service for June 3rd. Hopefully they can take steps to correct the problem.

 

First rafting trip!

May 30th 2008 9:35 pm
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Thursday May 29,2008

Dad took me on my first rafting trip down the Delaware River today. It was a sunny,warm day when we arrived at Bull`s Island in New Jersey. Dad strapped the raft to his backpack and we hiked about 7 miles up the canal towpath. Upon reaching our put in spot about 1 mile below Frenchtown,Dad inflated the raft and put on my life jacket and dog booties. I wear the booties so that my claws don`t hole the raft. I was a good dog and didn`t complain about the booties. I even climbed into the raft without complaint even though boating is a new experience for me. We went thru some rapids and even went ashore on a small island for lunch. Dad has posted some pix from this trip on my page and some videos will be coming soon. One is already on You Tube user name jpamusher. I hope to enjoy several more trips with Dad this summer!
First Mate,
Wesley

 

Summer on the river

June 9th 2008 8:24 pm
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Weekend of June 7-8 2008

It was a sunny,HOT,weekend and Dad an I spent it rafting on the Delaware River. The temperature climbed into the high 90`s both days and it was sooo refreshing to be out on the cool river! On Saturday,June 7,we took a route down the river that ran thru a set of thrilling rapids near Eagle Island. I`ll try to post that video clip on my page soon. I was riding in the raft as we entered the set of rapids while dad was in a tube attached to my raft by a retractable leash. Both the raft and tube were bounced around quite a bit,but we emerged from the rapids in good shape! Later in the trip, Dad and I rowed ashore on a small island and had a relaxing lunch in the warm sunshine. In the afternoon, Dad went ashore on another island and placed a geocache there! It will be listed on the geocaching.com website under the nickname "gilligan`s island".
We had another rafting trip the next day down a slightly different spot on the river. On this trip, we ran another set of rapids near the Treasure Island scout camp. Dad noticed that we were headed for a low wooden bridge after we entered the rapid and had only seconds to arrest the speed of the raft so that we would pass safely under the bridge rather than hit it. A direct hit may have deflated the raft ,sending our cargo on down the river! We safely passed under the bridge and continued the journey. This was my 3rd raft trip and I must say that I rather enjoy this new experience!
First Mate,
Wesley

 

Rafting excitement

June 29th 2008 8:08 am
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Woofs!
Dad and I took another rafting trip yesterday,and for the most part it was a pleasant experience. We paddled down the Delaware on a warm,sunny Saturday in late June,enjoying some refreshing swims on the way and visiting a few islands here and there. We did have a bit of excitement of the unwanted kind though. Dad navigated the raft thru a small channel between 2 islands because he wanted to run a set of rapids here. The raft was traveling at a good clip and before dad realized what was happening, we passed over a submerged barrel with a jagged protruding edge. This sliced a tear in the raft`s outer air chamber and it quickly deflated. The raft was now riding low in the water and Dad managed to paddle it to a nearby island to see if he could effect any repairs. Upon turning the raft over,he realized that the tear was too large to repair and we had to continue the trip using just the single air chamber. This worked well enough, but there was less room on the raft and it didn`t float as well.
Our 2nd bit of excitement came as storm clouds rolled in during the afternoon. There were rumbles of thunder and we were concerned about possible lightning. Fortunately the storm soon blew over without doing much more than dumping some light rain on us (which actually was quite refreshing on this hot,humid day) and the trip ended on a sunny note. Dad fortunately had recently ordered a new raft as this one was wearing out, so we do have a nice new raft for our next trip!
First mate,
Wes

 

Off to Alaska!

August 9th 2008 3:13 pm
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Dad and I are off to Alaska starting tonight. Dad will drive throughout the night in order to make it to Wisconsin in one long drive. We plan on doing several backcountry hikes and hope to make it all the way to the Arctic Ocean. Dad has been to Alaska before,but this will be my first time there. We will post updates whenever we can get internet access throughout the trip and post much more upon our return in Sept.
Mush on!
Wesley

 

Alaska Trip 2008

September 16th 2008 2:23 pm
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Hi everybody!
This is a quick synopsys of our Alaska trip,a more detailed account will follow shortly. We left our home on Sat Aug 9 and drove to Alaska via the Mckenzie route which goes thru northern Alberta and the Northwest Territories finally joining the Alaska highway just north of Ft Nelson. By doing this, we got to see some new scenery as well as bypass the first 300 miles of the Alaska Highway! Once on the Alaska Highway, we camped at Summit Lake in northern British Columbia and hiked back to Flower Springs Lake in the Canadian Rockies the next day. We then travelled north thru the Yukon and arrived in Alaska at Skagway which is in the Alaskan panhandle.

In Skagway, we hiked the Dewey Lakes trails which ascend high into the mountains above Skagway. Dad pitched our tent on the tundra and from our tent door, we could see the town of Skagway spread out far below us. It looked like a toy town on a model railroad set! On night 2 of this hike,we camped at Sturgills Landing on the Taiya Inlet and watched Cruise ships go by at night. Their lights were ablaze,it reminded dad of the Titanic!

We then travelled on to the main part of Alaska and on up to Fairbanks where we hiked the Granite Tors trail high in the mountains above the Chena River. It was super windy out on the tundra and dad found shelter by pitching our tent in the lee of a tor. A tor is a high pinnacle of rock which thrusts up from the ground. They are sculpted into wierd shapes.

After hiking the Tors trail, we headed up the Dalton Highway which follows the Alaska pipeline all the way to Prudhoe Bay and the Arctic Ocean. We crossed the Arctic Circle at latitude 66 degrees and arrived at Prudhoe Bay and the Arctic Ocean on aug 25. Dad took a chilly swim in the Arctic Ocean---it was only 43 degrees F! The scenery all along the Dalton highway is stunning!

Next we headed down the Parks Highway to Denali State Park. The State Park allows dogs whereas the larger National Park doesn`t. Also no permits are required for the state park. We spent 3 days hiking the Kesugi ridge trail here which ascends onto the tundra with stunning views of the Alaska Range.

Next we travelled down to the Kenai Peninsula below Anchorage. The Seward Highway follows along Cook Inlet and there are stunning views of mountains rising sheer up from the ocean! We visited Homer on the Sterling Highway and hiked on the Homer Spit which extends about 4 miles out into Cook Inlet.

We then travelled back up to Tok and over the Taylor and North Klondike highways which took us thru Alaska`s Fourtymile country on a route known as the "Top of the World" highway due to its breathtaking vistas. We left Alaska at this point and soon arrived at Dawson City in Canada`s Yukon Territory. We camped an a nice campground on the banks of the Yukon River---the very same one used by mushers during the Yukon Quest dog race in Feb. Next morning, we took a ferry across the Yukon river and explored the town of Dawson. From Midnight Dome, you can see the entire town spread out below!

Leaving Dawson, we travelled down the Klondike highway and over the Campbell highway stopping at the town of Ross River. Here we took a barge across the Pelly River and drove about 38 miles up the Canol Road. This is a narrow,winding road with blind curves and STEEP hills--- a tad scary as large mining trucks race along it. It was constructed during WW 2 and dad wanted to check out some of the old ruins along it.

We travelled thru beautiful northern Montana on the way home,the area north of Helena in the Big Belt mountains is really quite scenic. We also hiked in the South Dakota badlands and explored a Minuteman Missle silo on the South Dakota grasslands. The praraie in South Dakota is stunning,rolling waves of grass and dirt extend as far as the eye can see in all directions!

We also saw some wildlife during the trip which I had lots of fun barking at. In the Northwest Territories,a red fox calmly sat by the side of the road and let Dad photograph it! A black bear ran across the road in the Yukon and we saw moose,musk oxen and dall sheep as well. It was a great 5 week adventure!

Wes

 

Alaska 2008----Days 1 and 2

September 24th 2008 7:24 pm
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Sat Aug 9,Sun Aug 10 Day 1

The start of our Alaska trip at last! Dad and I left home around 10 pm and drove straight thru the night and all the next day in order to make some good mileage at the outset. This allowed us to cover over 1000 miles and make it to Wisconsin by Sun nite.
We drove the Pennsylvania turnpike in the dark and where the road passes beneath mountain ranges we had to traverse tunnels. They were brightly lit and contrasted with the dark of the night outside,a rather neat experience!
By daylight we traveled across Ohio,Indiana,and Illinois. Dad hates the congested area around Chicago but his GPS guided him safely thru the maze of roads there.
Late in the afternoon on Sunday,we arrived at Black River State Forest,WI and camped there for our first night. There was a nice lake at the campground as well as hiking trails. It sure felt good to stretch my legs after the long drive. There were not very many people at the campground and we had nobody camping near us,thus we spent a quiet night there.

Mon Aug 11 day 2

We drove thru Minnesota and North Dakota today. As we approached Minot,ND we encountered an intense thunderstorm. It was short lived and a nice double rainbow followed the storm. Dad will post a photo of it on Webshots. There is a link to dad`s photos on webshots on Smiley`s page or you can just log onto webshots and do a search for member jpamusher. We camped at the Roughrider campground near Minot for night 2.

 
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