keepexploring

On Top of the World

Coldest day of winter (so far)? No problem! 7.6 miles at  Stokes/High Point State Forest .

Coldest day of winter (so far)? No problem! 7.6 miles at Stokes/High Point State Forest.

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Favorite Places

Six Mile Run, Somerset, New Jersey

Six Mile Run, Somerset, New Jersey

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End of Summer

Finally things are starting to cool down again. Please, let this be the last of summer temperatures. We’re ready for frosty mornings.

Finally things are starting to cool down again. Please, let this be the last of summer temperatures. We’re ready for frosty mornings.

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Park Runs

Awesome run this morning after several days of humid grossness. It would have been better if it was a little colder, but that’s my only complaint!

The dogs did great. To start, they usually yap their heads off as we’re leaving the house, which I’m sure isn’t pleasant for my neighbors. Today, they were silent and focused. Dexter has been acting rowdy at hook-up, lunging at Knox and tangling himself up in his excitement. Today, he stayed still and didn’t cause any problems.

The run went perfectly fine, no chasing squirrels, no barking at dogs – granted, they didn’t really see any squirrels or dogs. But I’ll still count it as a win.

What really impressed me was the dogs’ “on-by” when passing people and vehicles. There were multiple instances where we had to pass by moving and parked cars, and they did it flawlessly.

We also passed by a herd of children waiting at a bus stop – all squealing, “DOGGIES!”, no less. Dexter showed some interest, because he’s a social butterfly, but Denali and Knox powered through and he took the hint. 

Despite their issues with other animals, it’s awesome to have them listen to me under most other circumstances. Good dogs!

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Sunrise

We woke up well before the sun to train at Six Mile Run. I wanted to be on the trail at sunrise, in hopes of beating all the mountain bikers and people free running their dogs.

When I rolled up, there were no other cars in the parking lot. I started unloading the dog cart when a truck towing a horse trailer pulled in. “Ok, we’ll have to avoid someone on horseback, no big deal.”

And then about a dozen more trucks with horse trailers drove in. As it turns out, they were holding a competitive trail ride throughout Six Mile Run that morning. Just my luck.

I was just about ready to drop the dogs when I decided running this trail wasn’t going to happen. Frustrated, I repacked the dog cart and drove to another trail head. There were signs and markers warning about the horse race there, too, but I decided to give it a shot.

The dogs ran beautifully and it was a perfect, crisp morning. I was still disappointed we couldn’t run the longer trail, and I could tell the dogs still had plenty of gas in their tanks by the end of the trip. I was tempted to do the trail twice, but I figured the horses would be approaching and didn’t want to take any chances.

It’s only the start of our season, though, and we’ll get plenty more chances to run.

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Keep Exploring Everyday

Keep exploring. Everyday.

Keep exploring. Everyday.

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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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