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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.