Wesley`s wanders

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April Pocono hiking

April 22nd 2009 2:09 pm
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Dad took me to the Pocono mountains again yesterday and we had a really fun hike. Dad was successful in locating a hidden geocache that had eluded him on our visit here last week! It was sunny and warm much of the day and I even got to swim in a mountain lake there. We went to state game lands 38 near the Camelback ski area and Tannersville,PA. There are lots of unmarked trails here and my dad had fun marking waypoints along them with his GPS to help us navigate better on future visits. As we stopped along a secluded trail to have our lunch,we heard a large animal thrashing about in the bushes beside the trail. We never did get a look at the creature,but Dad somehow didn`t think it was a deer. I made some wining sounds and it either left the area or stayed still until we left.
Wes

 

First swimming of the season!

April 27th 2009 3:09 pm
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Woofs,
An early hot spell has come to our area and temps soared into the low 90`s yesterday. Dad and I went hiking along the Raritan Canal in central NJ. Several times we would stop and take a dip in the water of the canal. It was brisk,but actually quite refreshing! Several people were also out in canoes and kayaks. I`m looking forward to this summer`s rafting season which will start in about another month!
Wes

 

A Trip to Virginia and Florida!

May 2nd 2009 3:28 pm
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Woofs!
Dad and I are leaving tommorrow morning for a backpacking trip in Shenandoah National Park in Virginia`s Blue Ridge mts. We will be out hiking the trails for a week and camping out in our tent at night. I look forward to all the new sights and smells,plus there are plenty of deer and bears to bark at and even chase (if dad would only let me off the darn leash to actually do it!). After we finish up our week of hiking,Dad plans to drive the rest of the way down to FL to see my brother,Smiley,and his sister. We will post pix on our page following our return and also post some on Webshots. Looking forward to the trip!
Paws,
Wesley

 

A trip to VA ,FL and SC!

May 17th 2009 2:17 pm
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Woofs to all!
I`m a bit tired out as I just got back from a 2 week trip down south. Dad took me to Shenandoah National Park in VA for 5 days of backpacking,then we continued on down to Florida where we drove the overseas highway to Key West and visited with my brother Smiley who is "retired" there. Finally on the way back home, we stopped to visit a Dogster pal who lives in South Carolina.

Our Virginia Adventure

We left for Shenandoah National Park on Sun May 3. It was foggy and misty when we arrived at the park and unfortunately rain was in the forecast for the next several days. Dad and I decided to make the best of it however,and so we set off on our hike. The light drizzle stopped as we began our hike and we had a cool afternoon hiking the trails near the Rapidan Fire Road. The fog thickened later in the afternoon as we were hiking up the Rose River Fire Road and we stopped to explore an old cemetary here. There were 3 people buried here from the Civil War era and their graves had CSA on the headstones! Dad got some eerie fog shrouded shots in this cemetary!
We were hiking along the Skyland Big Meadows horse trail as evening drew on and dad was searching for a campsite. The first site he chose had a few trees that were leaning precariously so he decided to move on and we soon found a better site to camp for night 1. Soon after we got the tent set up,the rain began again in earnest and all night long, we could hear it pelting down on the tent.

Mon May 4

We hiked the remainder of the Skyland Big Meadows Horse Trail this morning. The rain had stopped,but mist and fog shrouded the trees. We met 2 other dogs near the Whiteoak Run trail then we hiked down the Old Rag fire road to the Robertson Mt trail. Dad had to stretch his tent tarp over some tree branches to form a crude shelter so that we could have lunch out of the light rain that was now falling. We then ascended Robertson Mt. Normally the views from up here are outstanding,but today fog obscured the views. Dad got some nice shots of me climbing on the rocks at the summit,however. We then hiked the steep winding trail down Robertson Mt in the other direction and at last emerged on the Weakley Hollow Fire Road.

Late in the day, we came to the Hughes River which was flowing fast due to the recent rains. I managed to cross on the rocks,but dad felt that they were too slippery to negotiate with his heavy backpack,so he decided to ford the stream instead. The current was strong,but he used his hiking pole and braced himself against the rocks and thus made it across. We camped at a pleasant clearing near the Hot-Short MT trail for night 2. We were surrounded by a dense stand of tall trees here and the gurgling Hughes river was nearby.

Tues May 5

Yippee! There was no rain this morning and the skies brightened a bit even to the point of ALMOST allowing the sun to poke through. We hiked past some interesting stone walls as we started along the Hot Short Mt trail. These were remnants of farms that were in the area in the pre park days. The trail passed a pleasant mountain stream with a few small waterfalls. We reached the Hazel Mountain trail after 2 miles and hiked a lovely trail thru tall spruce and hemlock trees. This trail led us eventually back up to the appalacian trail where we stopped to have our lunch near the Byrd`s Nest 3 shelter. Cold winds sprang up and rain began soon thereafter. Dad had to don his gloves---in May no less! My fur coat and dog rain jacket kept me warm enough. We ducked into a shelter as we hiked thru the Pinnacles picnic area to escape the pouring rain. There was another hiker holed up here as well and he graciously offered dad a cup of tea. he was a thru hiker doing the entire trail to Maine. We left the shelter after the rain let up and hiked down the Nicholson Hollow trail which decends into a wooded valley in which sits a small cabin---Corbin Cabin. The cabin was locked,so we couldn`t use it but dad found a spot nearby on the Indian Run trail to set up camp for night 3. As dad was firing up the stove inside the tent to cook supper,a flame shot out the side of the stove and soon the whole stove was engulfed in yellow flames! Dad quickly threw the stove outside thus narrowly avoiding burning the tent down. Spending a rainy night in the woods with no tent wouldn`t be much fun! Turns out that a nut on the stove was loose and tightning it solved the problem.


Wed May 6

Finally the morning dawned bright and sunny! we hiked back up to the Appalacian trail and on to Skyland lodge enjoying the fine views and warm sunshine! dad bought an orange soda here and we enjoyed it for lunch later on the trail. It seems that a weather front was stalled in the area as rain began again this afternoon. We hiked past the Big Meadows campground in the rain and chilly winds. some campers were present here,most snug in their RV`s or tow along campers. We crossed the wide expanse of Big Meadows late in the afternoon and dad got some nice shots of me in this grassy meadow. The rain stopped just as we crossed the meadow. Tendrils of fog draped the mountains as we hiked back down the rapidan fire road for our 4th night of camping on the stony mt trail.


Thurs May 7

The sun was out again this morning as we hiked back up a series of trails that would take us to Milam Gap where we began our hike the past sunday. Rain soon moved back in and it was raining steadily when we arrived back at our car. Our original plan had been to drive to another section of the park,resupply and hike for a few more days,but the seemingly endless rain made dad reconsider our options and we decided to leave for Florida a few days early. Since we weren`t due at dad`s sister`s place until the following Tuesday,we decided to drive down to Key West and explore that area. We made it as far south as Fayetville NC tonight where dad got us a motel room and a welcome shower (for him).


Fri May 8

Travelling thru South Carolina this morning,dad stopped and gave me a long 2 mile walk along an abandoned stretch of highway spanning Lake Marion. This abandoned road paralled Interstate 95. Lake Marion is a huge lake stretching to the horizon in both directions.
We reached the FL welcome center in the early afternoon and dad picked up some info on Key West here. We drove as far as Cocoa Beach tonight and dad enjoyed some late evening swimming in the ocean here. The surf was a bit rough and knocked him down a few times. As darkness came on, a fullmoon rose over the ocean!


Sat May 9
Dad rose at 5:45 am and gave me a predawn walk along the beach. We witnessed a beautiful sunrise here! Dogs were not allowed on the beach but we figured the beach patrol wouldn`t be out till at least 8 am.

Started for Key West today,driving US 1 otherwise known as the overseas highway thru the Florida Keys. We stopped to swim at a few spots along the way. The water was an emerald green and warm. We stayed at a KOA campground on Sugarloaf Key tonight.


Sun May 10

Dad and I reached Key West today. Dad used his car GPS to drive us to the southernmost point marker and got a shot of me sitting there. This marker denotes the southernmost point of land in the continental USA. Dad then parked his car and we spent the day hiking and exploring Key West. Dad used his GPS to guide us around the town as well as to find a hidden geocache in FT Zachary Taylor state park. There is an excellent beach at this park and dad enjoyed a nice swim here. The waters were emerald green with gently rolling waves,no rough surf at all!



Mon May 11

We drove back up the overseas highway this morning,stopping to swim at Anne`s Beach, a county park near Long Key. The water was quite shallow here and dad was able to venture far from shore. He found it exhilarating to propel himself thru the water and watch the fishing vessels sail by. We drove US 41 thru the Everglades and dad tried to take an airboat tour here,but they wouldn`t allow me on the boat :(!!! Instead we did some exploring on our own,hiking the Florida trail 2 miles out into the Everglades. The trail took us thru dense stands of cypress trees interspersed with a few clearings of grass. As an experiment,dad hiked about 20 feet off of the trail into the dense brush and actually became dis oriented. He had trouble finding the trail again! Scary thought being lost in the everglades!


Tues May 12

We arrived at the farm where dad`s sister lives and visited with brother Smiley today. Smiley has arthritus and the mild Florida weather and relaxed pace of the farm are good for his old bones. Dad was thrilled to give him a big hug after almost a year`s absence.


Wed May 13

Dad took me to Fernandina Beach today near Jacksonville where dogs are allowed. We enjoyed a nice 6 mile walk along the beach here and dad did some swimming as well. We returned to the farm late in the day to be with Smiley again. There is an agility course set up here (my german shepherd cousin,Julie,dabbles in agility) and I did the A-frame,teeter,tunnel,and elevated board on this course. not bad,considering that I had never done agility before!

Thurs May 14

We bade an emotional farewell to Smiley this morning and left to head back north. dad found a few more geocaches(hidden containers whose coordinates are posted on geocaching.com) with his gps in the area then we left Florida heading as far as SC tonight.


Fri May 15

We visited with a Dogster friend who lives near Conway,SC today. Dad used his car gps to find her place and we visited with Troubadour,a lovely siberian husky,as well as Baby Red Snapper---a nice old gal who resembles Smiley--- and the other dogs there. We explored a nice park in Conway which is a great spot for kayaking(we may kayak there on a future visit) and then I tried out the dog scooter. This is a wheeled scooter which I pulled with a gangline attached to my sledding harness. It`s sort of like dry land dog mushing. I didn`t pull as hard as dad would`ve liked but it was hot and humid today! dad is thinking of getting a scooter for me when the cooler fall weather arrives. We`re busy in the summer months with rafting! We enjoyed our visit here!

Sat May 16

Arrived home late this afternoon. Will post pictures soon on my webshots page (link to it is on my dogster page) as well as on Myspace.

Wes

 

Beginning of my 2nd rafting summer!

May 27th 2009 2:20 pm
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Ahoy there,
Dad took me rafting this past monday,May 25. He had off for the Memorial day holiday and the weather was warm and sunny. We parked our car at the Bull`s Island campground in New Jersey and dad strapped the deflated raft to his backpack and we hiked the 7 miles upriver on the canal towpath. Once there, Dad pulled the air pump from out of his backpack and inflated the raft. Surprise! it had a small leak in the outer chamber. We put the raft in the water anyway and off we went. The river was flowing fast due to all the recent rains and we had a thrilling ride. We went thru a few sets of rapids and soon found a small island where we could pull ashore for lunch. Dad had to paddle furiously to reach the island as the strong river current was trying to carry us past it. The outer air chamber was rather deflated by now, so dad reinflated it and it was fine for the remaining hours of the trip. Even the Delaware River wasn`t too chilly and dad was able to swim along with the raft at times. A new raft just arrived today and we hope to go rafting again tommorrow.
1st Mate,
Wesley

 

Summer Rafting

July 17th 2009 8:22 pm
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Paws to all!
Dad and I hit the river (Delaware River) 2 weeks in a row! The most recent trip was quite nice with a warm sunny day and river water that was not too chilly(according to Dad who was riding in the tube,I prefered to stay dry as possible in the raft). Dad and I hiked the canal towpath approximately 8 miles upriver to launch our raft. Once inflated,I hopped in and dad attached the tube to the raft via my dog leash. We then paddled out into the river,the current soon catching us and propelling our raft down the river. Dad soon hopped into the tube and floated beside the raft. He says that rapids are much more thrilling in a tube. Midway thru the trip, we miscalculated just a tad while running a rather rough rapid and I fell out of the raft into the river! Luckily,my K9 life jacket kept me afloat and dad soon hoisted me back into the raft. We stopped for lunch on a small,secluded island. The trip the week previous mirrored this one except that while we were ashore on the island finishing up our lunch,a rather heavy thunderstorm rolled in. Rain fell heavily and there was even some tiny hail. A few lightning flashes as well. We both crawled under some vegetation on the island and waited out the thunderstorm which was over in about 20 minutes. We just love the river on a warm summer`s day!

Wes

 

Rain and Summer rafting

August 4th 2009 4:59 pm
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Woofs to all!
On Sunday, we had a really wicked thunderstorm which dumped about 4 in of rain in a few short hours. As a result,the Delaware river today was flowing about 6 ft above normal. This made for a fast trip down the river. Normal rafting speed is about 1-2 mph and 4-7 mph thru rapids. Today we did more like 4-6 mph with 11 mph thru the rapids. Dad rode alongside the raft in his tube and noted that the water was a tad chillier than it has been of late. It was a thrilling ride,I stood at the bow of the raft and let the breeze ruffle my ears and fur! We hope to repeat tommorrow,but may have to dodge some rain that is predicted.
Paws,
Wes

 

Rainy saturday hike!

August 26th 2009 9:05 pm
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A little late in barking about this,but last saturday---Aug 22---Dad and I went for a hike along the Raritan Canal towpath in central New Jersey. Heavy thunderstorms the night before had dissapated and there was just some light rain as we set out for our day of hiking. We hiked the 6 miles from Rocky Hill to the 6 mile run resevoir area,arriving at this nature preserve just as the sun was beginning to make an appearance. We hiked the 5 miles of trails in this area as well,even enjoying a cool dip in a stream as the weather was by now quite humid. Dad and I had lunch here in a secluded spot surrounded by pine trees then we began our hike back to the canal towpath. The skies soon darkeded and thunder sounded in the distance. It soon began to rain and then it really RAINED. We had to hike about 5 miles back to our car in a monsoonal downpour. Sections of the road beside the towpath were completely flooded out! Fortunately the area where Dad had parked his car didn`t flood and we were able to leave the area safely. Driving home was still an adventure though,as roads were flooded in many places and we had to make some lengthy detours. Small drainages were actually raging rivers! Dad was grateful that his Subaru`s all wheel drive was able to power us thru the flooded areas. We are planning another hike/raft trip this friday and are certainly hoping for more tranquil weather!
Paws,
Wesley

 

Only a few trips left for 2009 :(

September 1st 2009 9:36 pm
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Paws to all,
Dad and I went rafting again yesterday. I rode in the raft while he swam behind in a tube attached via my retractable leash. It`s nearly Sept and Dad remarked that the river is getting a tad chilly now. We had a fun trip,discovering a nice new island on which to stop and have our lunch. There were nice level spots on this island and Dad remarked that it would perhaps be neat to camp overnite here one time next summer! We also stopped at another island about 2 miles downriver so that Dad could use his GPS to locate a geocache that he had placed there last summer. It was still there in good shape,the high river levels this summer didn`t wash it away! Dad and I are leaving for the Grand Canyon in a few weeks so there are probably only a few more trips left for the season. We love rafting and somehow wish we could do it year round!
Paws,
Wesley

 

Early fall hiking

September 10th 2009 3:27 pm
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Woofs to all,
Dad and I went on a day hike in Pennsylvania`s Pocono mts yesterday. The day was a mixture of sun and clouds and it was breezy and cool. The area that we visited was State Game Lands 38 near Tannersville. There are lots of miles of hiking trails here,the blazed trails in adjoining Big Pocono State Park and the myriad unmarked trails in the game lands. We began our hike along the South trail in Big Pocono State Park and had been hiking only a short while when we heard a loud crashing in the brush beside us as a small black bear scurried away! We hiked for a few hours along the trails here,eventually looping around Camelback Mt and on into the unmarked trails of the state game lands. Once in these game lands,dad used his gps to mark waypoints along the trails so that we would not become lost. Some early fall colors were out and we hiked past a few lakes. Dad even took a chilly swim in Deep Lake. The photos are dated 9-9-09 at the end of this album. Our hike in the Pocono Mts on 9-9-09

 
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