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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.
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.
I took Denali and Knox camping in the Pine Barrens this weekend. I wanted to bring Dexter, but the campsite had a two dog limit and I didn’t want to bend any rules this time around. After spending the weekend there, I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t be an issue for the future.
We weren’t too far from our go-to dryland mushing trail, so I’m glad we scoped this spot out. Dex has also camped before, so this trip was to teach the huskies how to behave.
The first night, they were a little wound up. Two high prey drive huskies in a small tent does not make for a peaceful sleep when the area is full of noisy critters. But they eventually settled down.
It was cool enough in the morning to take them for a quick bike ride around our usual trail. I didn’t push it, though. They’re out of practice and the flies were swarming, so we did less than a mile.
After that, they were much more behaved. We returned to camp for breakfast, a nap, and lunch. We did a quick hike around Pakim Pond, then drove around some more trails to plan for the fall season.
The Pine Barrens offer miles and miles of flat, soft trail which is perfect for dryland dog mushing. I’m looking forward to getting back down there when it’s cooler and without all the flies.
The pups slept soundly the second night, after a day of adventures. We packed up early Sunday morning after an intense rain storm. Can’t wait to head out again!
Full album on Flickr.
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.