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Wesley`s wanders

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Shenandoah Trip 2010 Day 5

June 17th 2010 6:12 am
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Thurs May 20
In addition to the coyote howls in the early morning hours,we could also hear the train whistle of the Norfolk and Southern railroad. Today dawned sunny and cool as we hiked the Rocky Mountain Run trail back up to Skyline Drive. We passed a deep pool on this trail which had 3 small waterfalls flowing into it,quite pretty! Upon reaching Skyline Drive,Dad and I had to hike it for about a mile and a half as there was no direct connecting trail to the Appalacian Trail. It was a nice experience hiking on the road itself as there were no trees to obstruct the views! We reached the trail soon enough and had lunch at Pinefield Hut where there was a nice cool spring nearby for my water and Dad`s kool aid mix! We then hiked on back to our car in early afternoon and resupplied for phase 2 of the Shenandoah Hike. We drove over 30 miles north along Skyline Drive in beautiful sunshine to reach Thornton Gap where we planned to start phase 2 of our hike in Shenandoah`s northern section.
We hiked north on the Appalacian Trail to reach the Pass Mt hut only to find Daniel Bennett from England camped there with his hiking friend for the night.Suprised meet up with him again! There were a few other hikers there and they had a nice fire going. Visiting the trail shelter at Blackrock a few days back and then stopping here tonight gave Dad a new perspective on Appalacian Trail hiking----the comraderie that hikers feel at a pleasant shelter at the end of a long hiking day! We visited with them for a while then hiked on to camp on the wooded summit of Pass Mt where we enjoyed a beautiful sunset!

P.S. Daniel Bennett told me that he started his thru hike in mid March,so it took him about 2 months to reach Shenandoah`s northern section.


Shenandoah Park Days 3-4

June 16th 2010 2:51 pm
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Tues May 18
The rain stopped overnite and we awoke to partial sunshine peeking thru high clouds. Our hike resumed as we climbed out of the steep valley in which the blackrock hut was located. Dad and I hiked the Appalacian trail south to the North Fork Moorman`s river fire road. This scenic backwoods road follows the Moorman river for several miles past some waterfalls and deep pools. At one point along this trail we rested on a rock outcropping overlooking the Moorman River far below. There was a side canyon behind us here and a waterfall(Big Branch falls) poured down the jagged cliff face,crossed the rock outcropping,and flowed down to the Moorman river below us.
We hiked on past the Charlottesville resevoir and up the South Fork of the Moorman Fire road. About 1/2 mile up the trail here 2 black bear cubs followed closely by Mama ran across the trail. This was just too great a temptation for me! Dad had dropped my leash while trying to get a shot with his camera and I took off in hot pursuit! Dad was frantically calling for me to come back as he was afraid that the Mama bear would attack me to defend her cubs. The bear trio was more interested in just getting away though and in about 15 minutes I returned to Dad unharmed. We then had our lunch by a scenic pool here. Had it been a tad warmer,both of us would have taken a dip in the river.
We hiked up the Turk Branch trail,back to the Appalacian Trail and camped along the Appalacian Trail for night 3.

Wed May 19

Foggy morning on the Appalacian Trail! It was serene to sit in our tent in the fog as we had breakfast. The fog persisted for another hour or so as we hiked along this morning. After hiking for a few miles,we came upon a hiker camped under a tarp strung between 2 trees. Dad remarked that this is a nice lightweight way to camp and would save on pack weight on a thru hike.
The fog had lifted by now save for some patches down in the valleys that we could see from the Appalacian Trail. We met a few other hikers on the trail today including 2 men who were doing a 170 mile section hike ending up in Charlottesville. We had lunch at the Blackrock hut where we had camped 2 days previously then looped back over Blackrock summit. This time around,the weather was clear and splendid views were had!
Late in the afternoon,we hiked from the Appalacian Trail down to the Big Run Portal trail. This trail follows Big Run and fords the stream several times. There were some scenic deep pools here and we camped for night 4 near one. Overnite we heard some barking which was then followed by a chorous of howls! This went on for several minutes. The coyote population of the area was serenading us!

Some early pictures from the trip.

Shenandoah Park Photos 2010


Our trip to Shenandoah Park and Florida Days 1-2

June 16th 2010 12:46 pm
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Sun May 16

Dad and I left home in Philadelphia in the early morning hours and headed west on the Pennsylvania Turnpike. As daylight broke,we were traveling thru the rolling farmlands of central Pennsylvania. An amish man was pedalling his bike across a turnpike overpass at one point!

We arrived at Shenandoah National Park in Virginia mid morning after a drive of about 350 miles. Dad put my sledding harness (I tend to pull nicely while wearing the harness which helps dad on his hike!)and dogpack on,donned his own backpack and away we went along the Appalacian Trail. The trail climbed over Weaver Mt and we had some nice views of farms in the valleys surrounded by rolling forested mountains. A few times,we could see skyline drive winding its way below us. Skyline Drive is the scenic tour road thru Shenandoah Park.
The trail wound its way thru a scenic rocky valley with some small waterfalls. In this area we came upon an interesting wooden trail shelter. 2 trail maintainers were staying there and they showed Dad around the cabin while I exchanged polite sniffs with their dog. It was a nice cabin complete with bunks and jalousie windows! Late in the afternoon,we hiked thru a heavily forested area near the Loft mt campground where we startled a bear who ran off into the surrounding woods before Dad could squeeze off a shot with his camera.
We set up our tent for night 1 along the Doyle River trail. There was some poison ivy here and it stung Dad`s hand as he was erecting the tent---OUCH!

Mon May 17

Rain on the tent overnite and today was cool and rainy. Nevertheless there were some fine views of waterfalls,one rather high cascading over sheer rock cliffs,as we ascended the Jones Run trail back towards the Appalacian Trail. Once back on the Appalacian Trail,we summitted Blackrock mountain so named due to the tumbled mass of black lichen covered rocks here. It was foggy and misty so no views were had here. We found a sheltered area out of the wind to have our lunch. Dad let his camp stove run to provide us with a bit of warmth. The cold rain intensified as the afternoon wore on so we decided to detour down a blue blazed side trail to the wood and stone Blackrock hut. We were only planning on resting here a short while,but it felt so good to be out of the chilly rain that we lingered here longer than planned. There were some other hikers here as well also taking refuge from the elements (2 snuggled in their sleeping bags already!) and Dad struck up a conversation with them. One hiker was an older gentleman from England,Bill Bennett. He had come all the way from the UK to do a thru hike of the Appalacian Trail. Dad picked up some interesting tips from him as well as some of the other hikers as we would like to hike the entire Appalacian Trail in the near future. As it was growing late,we set up our tent in the tent area near the hut for night 2.


Summer Rafting

June 14th 2010 5:54 am
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Dad and I did our first trip for the summer season of 2010. Saturday,June 12 was mostly sunny after some thin clouds in the morning and we had a nice trip rafting down the Delaware River. I had the raft all to myself as Dad likes to ride in the tube which he attaches to the raft via my retractable leash. We rode thru some rapids,had lunch on a small island and in general just had a wonderful day! In fact we enjoyed it so much that Dad went back again yesterday and we did another raft trip. There was some rain from time to time as we rafted down the river yesterday and when we stopped on an island for lunch,Dad propped the raft up with an oar creating a temporary shelter so that we could have our lunch out of the rain!
Looking forward to many more trips before the season is over.
First mate,



June 7th 2010 5:42 pm
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Woofs to all my Dogster buddies! Dad and I have been away for the past 3 weeks on a backpacking trip in Virginia`s Blue Ridge mountains then we went down to sunny Florida to visit Key West,the Kennedy Space Center,and Dad`s sister and my german shepherd cousin,Julie. We just arrived home recently and more details and pix will follow.




May 14th 2010 5:42 pm
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Dad drove me down to the SPCA where he volunteers this morning and had me microchipped. The chip was inserted into my skin via a BIG needle (OUCH!) and can be read with a scanner at any animal shelter or vet office. The tracking number on the chip can then be traced back to my dad`s phone and address. We are leaving sunday morning for a week of backpacking in Shenandoah National Park in Virginia`s Blue Ridge mountains and dad wanted to take this extra precaution in case I should become lost again. He plans on taking no chances though and has a musher steak out cable to attach to a tree when we stop for lunch or set up camp at night.
Looking forward to our trip,



May 9th 2010 8:15 am
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Good news! My Dad went back to the area yesterday where I was lost to leave a shirt there with his scent on it as well as some food. I had heard Dad calling me over the past 5 days but when I would try to home in on where I thought his voice was coming from,I could never find him. Finally,as I was wandering thru a nearby retirement community yesterday morning, a delevery driver spotted me and called Dad`s cell phone. We were soon reunited and I am in good shape,no injuries! In fact,since it was such a nice day Dad drove to the Wawa,bought us some food,and we spent the afternoon hiking anyway! So happy so be home again and thanks everyone for all the kind comments. Dad will be MUCH more careful with me in the future!
Enjoying the comforts of Home,



May 7th 2010 6:37 pm
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Dad took me for another hike along the Raritan Canal towpath near Rocky Hill,NJ on May 4. As he opened the car door,I caught the scent of a deer or other creature and bolted off into the woods before Dad could snap the leash on me. Dad searched the area for 2 days even sleeping in his car overnite but he could not find me! He went home and returned on day 3 and posted flyers in the area. I am scared and alone out here in the woods at night! I desperately want to find my way home soon!


Doggie Smells

April 14th 2010 4:14 pm
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Dad recently began volunteering at his local animal shelter,the Pennsylvania SPCA.Whenever he comes home from a day of volunteering there,there are lots of interesting dog smells on him from all the dogs that he has walked that day! At first I was jealous that he was spending time with other dogs,but after he explained to me that these dogs are sometimes in their cages for days at a time without a walk,I felt sorry that some dogs don`t have the nice life that I do and was totally understanding of his spending time there. After all,I was once a shelter dog myself!


Summer in April

April 8th 2010 12:17 pm
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Yesterday,April 7 2010, Dad took me for a nice day hike along the Raritan Canal in central NJ. As we hiked in the early morning hours,it grew progressively warmer and as we reached a stone canal spillway about 4 miles into the hike,dad decided that it was warm enough for a swim! He began by gently lowering himself into the chilly canal water after leaving most of his clothes on the bank so that they would stay dry. By stages he acclimated himself to the water and was eventually able to take a short swim and actually enjoy it! Unbeknownst to him as he was doing this,I caught the scent of deer and was off in an instant on a prolonged chase! Upon completion of his swim,Dad discovered that I was nowhere to be found! He walked up the canal towpath for about a mile and a half before doubling back. A few other runners and cyclists reported seeing me in the area which gave him hope to continue searching. He eventually located me after almost 2 hrs of searching and we resumed our hike.

Upon reaching the 6 mile run wilderness area at the 6 mile point ,we left the canal towpath to hike in that area. Dad found a secluded beach along 6 mile run where we stopped to have our lunch beside the stream in warm sunshine! Dad and I had a shorter hike than originally planned in the 6 mile run area due to my deer hunting "expedition" and we returned to the canal towpath to resume our return hike. Dad and I got in a few more short swims here and I disturbed a snapping turtle who was sunning himself alongside the towpath. Got my snoot out of the way just before he snapped at me! It was a relaxing hike on a warm summerlike april day! Some photos from this most enjoyable hike are here!
Warm April Canal hike

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