Adventure

Truckin'

We’re still here, trucking along. Our first race is this weekend (the Betty Carhart Memorial Race) and we’ll be competing in the 2-dog pro bike-jor class. I’ve decided to sit Dexter out for this first race, since he’s a bit slower than Denali and Knox. Normally, I really don’t care about speed, but I’d like to see what my youngsters can do without having to keep Dexter’s pace. Should be a fun weekend!

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Hot October

Camping in the Pine Barrens came with its share of ups and downs.

I had to commute into Manhattan for a work meeting, so we didn’t get down to the campsite until about 4:30 PM. Denali and Knox were immediately comfortable on their tie-outs, since we had camped there this summer. Dexter was a bit antsy, but I still managed to set up my new (bigger) tent and cook dinner. The sun sets around 6 PM and we made it a pretty early night.

It was in the mid-40’s when we woke up on Saturday. I cooked up a quick breakfast (pork roll, eggs, and tea) and loaded the dogs for our first run. The campsite is about five minutes from the Mt. Misery trail, so it was nice to get an early start without the usual hour and a half drive.

The dogs did great – I know I say it a lot, but they’re really starting to round out as a team. Even Dexter has been keeping a better pace with the speedy huskies. I wanted to explore the surrounding trails a bit more, but it warmed up too fast. 

Most of Saturday was peaceful, until a family rolled up and took the campsite directly next to mine. That’s the one thing you can’t prepare for when you book online – families that just drive in without reservations.

The kids weren’t really bad, I just wanted to relax and not listen to their squeaky little voices. The family also had a small dog with them. It was perfectly well behaved, but of course my meatheads wanted to either wrestle it or eat it (can’t be too sure).

I eagerly awaited sundown so I could cook my dinner and have the darkness provide some seclusion. It was another early night, since I wasn’t sure if it would be cold enough to run the dogs the next morning.

I’m glad I decided to stay, despite family, because Sunday’s run was beautiful. I drove out before breakfast, since it was already nearly 50 degrees when I woke up. We were on the trail as the sun was rising, and it made for some beautiful light through the pines.

While it was warm at the campsite and at the trail head, the trail itself felt a few degrees cooler. I wasn’t going to push the dogs, and had planned to just do a mile and a half, but they were on fire. We took a few breaks for water, but they were revved up and ready to run each time.

We did the whole 3.8 mile trail again, and they ended strong. There’s a hill towards the very end of the run, and Denali must have seen an animal or something, because they took the hill full speed, when normally I have to pedal the rig along.

The dogs got a well-deserved breakfast of kibble, beef, and eggs while I cooked my own (awesome) campfire omelette. My neighbors were wide awake, so I decided to pack up and head home before my “check out” time.

All in all, I’m glad I went, but I’m looking forward to colder temperatures and (hopefully) fewer campers next time.

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In the Pines

We had our first real run in the pines this past weekend. Slow but steady 3.8 miles at Mt. Misery (charming name, eh?) in Brendan T. Byrne State Forest.

I was hoping for colder temperatures, but it hovered around 47 degrees which meant lots of breaks. The dogs did well despite the temperature. I think they were just happy to be running those sandy trails again.

We’re heading back there this weekend to camp and mush. Can’t wait!

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Beat the Heat

Summer returned with vengeance last week, and temperatures in the 80s and 90s meant no runs for my little team. 
 It’s finally starting to cool off, but we still have to take it slow. This morning was still around 60 degrees, so we only did a quick half mile around the neighborhood.  
 Dexter has been running better than last season, though it’s too soon to make any real judgements. Denali has been easily distracted by squirrels, but she’s getting better with every run. Knox is doing well, although he tries to pull over and yap at a Labrador we pass by in a fenced yard. The team needs work all around, but they’re doing gret for so early in the season. 
 We have some cooler temperatures coming in on Sunday, so I’m planning to take the team out to Six Mile Run. Fingers crossed it stays nice and cold!

Summer returned with vengeance last week, and temperatures in the 80s and 90s meant no runs for my little team.

It’s finally starting to cool off, but we still have to take it slow. This morning was still around 60 degrees, so we only did a quick half mile around the neighborhood. 

Dexter has been running better than last season, though it’s too soon to make any real judgements. Denali has been easily distracted by squirrels, but she’s getting better with every run. Knox is doing well, although he tries to pull over and yap at a Labrador we pass by in a fenced yard. The team needs work all around, but they’re doing gret for so early in the season.

We have some cooler temperatures coming in on Sunday, so I’m planning to take the team out to Six Mile Run. Fingers crossed it stays nice and cold!

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Mt. Washington (from below)

We were really looking forward to driving up Mt. Washington at the end of our New Hampshire trip. We even woke up at 4 AM to make it there as the sun was rising. But remember what I said about making plans? 

On the way to the mountain, we realized the road was closed until 8:30 AM, so scaling the peak for sunrise wasn’t an option. That was disappointing, but we kept going.

Then we realized there was a little asterisk next to September 21st on their website. It was ATV day, and the auto road was closed to cars. 

We considered taking a guided tour up the mountain, since those were still running. Or taking the cog railway. But both would require at least two hours to complete and we couldn’t leave Denali alone in the car for that long.

So, we were shit outta luck. We still got to see the sun rise and watch the mountains’ colors change from dark green to blue to purple. I’ve never been too far west, so these were the tallest peaks I’ve ever seen.

We’ll leave that peak for another adventure.

Again, the full album is on my Flickr.

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Camping in New Hampshire

When you’re camping, especially in colder weather, the majority of your time is devoted to starting and maintaining a fire. The rest is spent cooking and eating around said fire, and sleeping.

It may be boring to some, but I love how primitive and natural it feels. In the cellphone service free woods of New Hampshire, all you have left is each other and the stars.

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Sugarloaf

These photos are from our hike around New Hampshire’s White Mountains. This was the Middle Sugarloaf trail, right around the corner from our campsite. We weren’t too sure which trail would offer the best views, but I think we nailed it.

It was a short but steep hike, and we encountered so many active older ladies on the trail. It was pretty inspiring to see seniors kicking that mountain’s ass. 

More photos to come. I certainly can’t choose just ten favorites from the weekend’s adventure.

Or if you’re anxious, the full album is on Flickr.

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Stairway to Heaven

We finally hiked the “Stairway to Heaven” section of the Appalachian Trail, from Pochuck Valley to Pinwheel Vista and back. This was definitely one of the most versatile hikes I’ve been on. 

The trail starts out on a mile of boardwalk over marshes and through fields of wildflowers. You eventually make your way through a forest, then back out over train tracks and through a cow pasture. The last mile or so is a steep incline up to the Pinwheel Vista viewpoint.

The hike is a solid 7.4 miles from the entrance point on 517, to the viewpoint, and back. Most of it is easy, though – except for that last “stairway” up to the top. Definitely worth checking out!

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Weekend in the Catskills

We spent the past weekend at a cabin, tucked away in the New York Catskill Mountains.

The location was perfect, right in between Indian Head Mountain, West Kill Mountain, and Hunter Mountain. As you probably guessed, we spent the majority of the weekend hiking the trails around us.

Day one was a bit of a flop. We misunderstood the instructions on several different websites, and ended up taking the wrong trailhead. Don’t get me wrong, the hike was still very beautiful. But I just about killed half my hiking gang (lots and lots of uphill) and we didn’t get to the “best view in the Catskills”, like the sites all promised. We did find the correct trailhead towards the end of the hike, but it was already too late in the day to press further.

On day two, we made another trek out to see the “Buck Ridge Lookout”. It was definitely worth the extra six miles and steep hike (2,030 elevation gain) to the top.

Upstate New York really is one of my favorite places. I could definitely see myself living in the Catskills or Adirondacks one day. I need a few more adventures before I decide where I land.

For the full album, see Flickr. Happy trails!

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Out in Texas

It was almost impossible to choose just ten photos from our camping trip at Enchanted Rock State Park. The area is so beautiful and so different from the Northeast. 

When we first arrived, we were assigned a campsite in an open, grassy area near a playground and bathroom. We set off to hike up the Rock and realized there were WAY cooler sites along the base. So we did what any good camper would do: we picked up the tent and stole a better spot.

We were extremely lucky with the weather. It monsooned on Thursday and was blistering hot Saturday afternoon into Sunday. But Friday, when we camped, was rain-free and unusually mild. We would not have made it up the Rock if it were sunny and 100 degrees.

The only downside: we couldn’t see any stars (which are apparently super bright from the Rock) and we didn’t catch a good sunrise. Just lots of overcast. Next time!

I’ve got more photos to share from our hike at Pedernales on Saturday and kayaking at Inks Lake on Sunday. Stay tuned!

Full album on Flickr.

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