2016 Wrap Up

The end of the year is always so hectic, with holidays and weather pecking away at spare time. It feels like I just posted about returning to Overlook Mountain last week.. but it was in October! So, here is what I’ve been up to.

Another Maine Road Trip

In 2015 I did a solo October New England road trip, and loved every second of it. In 2016 I wanted to return to Maine and spend more time in Acadia National Park. At first, I planned on going with a friend of mine. Continue reading

3 Days: Hammock Camping Under a Harvest Moon

The summer just flew by.  Even though I’ve been out hiking, kayaking and camping all year, it feels like I haven’t done much!  So, since I worked on Labor Day I took my 3 day weekend this past week. With my normal days off being Fridays and Saturdays I decided to take Thursday off and head out late Wednesday to Frances Slocum State Park in Luzerne County Pennsylvania. That extra few hours on Wednesday makes it feel so much longer, probably because there’s no need to rush the following morning.

img_20160914_192919I got to the park and headed to camp site 95 in the walk-in tent section and got my hammock up and grabbed a bite to eat just before the Sun set. I was eager to test out some gear… some new and some I just hadn’t had a chance to try out yet. I recently purchased a new Paria Outdoor Products Sanctuary SilTarp after my recent backpacking trip. I was looking to shed weight in any gear I could and this tarp is only 15oz packed. So I got to test that out. I also gave my DIY emergency blanket under quilt a try… still needs some work but it’s a good start. Early in the year I found a steal of a bargain on an Exped Scout Hammock Combi for $68, usually goes for more than $200. This was the first time I used that, for 1 night anyway, I switched back to m ENO Doublenest for nights 2 and 3. I also gave my new Fire Knife from Light My Fire a good test… took a lot of practice to get the hang of, but I’m getting better with it. Continue reading

Happy 100th Birthday National Park Service!!

What is known as “America’s Best Idea” turns 100 today! The National Parks Service was created August, 25 1916 and now oversees more than 400 sites, including reserves, preserves, historic sites and parks. I’ve been fortunate enough to visit some of these great sites like Acadia National Park and Assateague Island National Seashore. To celebrate the National Parks Service’s centennial I decided to share a some of my favorite photos. Enjoy!

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Gettysburg National Military Park

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Kayaking With a Black Bear… Seriously!

Before this past week I hadn’t seen a single Black Bear in 2016. Then at Trough Creek State Park I came across one who was thoroughly investigating a picnic area and could not care less that I was 30 feet away watching him. So, on Saturday 8.20.16 I went kayaking at Shohola Marsh Reservoir in Pike County, Pennsylvania with a friend of mine. This was the 3rd time we had kayaked here and both times before we had seen more Bald Eagles than you could shake a stick at.

What's that swimming in the distance???

What’s that swimming in the distance???

We arrived about 8 a.m. and promptly hit the water, heading straight to the back side of the lake… that’s where we have the most Eagle sightings. After paddling for a few minutes my friend points out something swimming across the lake a few hundred yards ahead of us and asked “What is that?” It was big and black and looked like a bear’s head, but I didn’t say anything because… you know, how often to you see a Black Bear swimming across a lake? Especially a few hundred yards from shore? We watched it for a few seconds and he said “I think it’s a bear! I saw it’s snout!” I had to concur, it was most definitely a Black Bear swimming across the lake in front of our kayaks! Continue reading

3 Days: Looking for Elk

It is thought that in the late 1600’s, when Pennsylvania was in it’s infancy, that there were as many as 100,000 Eastern Elk that roamed here. After the massive clear-cutting of the forests and un-checked hunting the entire species was made extinct… other species where eliminated from the state but have slowly returned such as River Otters and Fishers. White Tailed Deer were almost eliminated as well.

IMG_20150912_113353756However, in the late 1910’s and early 1920’s an effort was made to reintroduce Elk to the Keystone State. Rocky Mountain Elk were transplanted from Yellowstone National Park and an Elk Farm in Monroe County, Pa. Since that time the Elk herd has slowly grown from roughly 177 to now nearly 1000. Still a far cry from their earlier number.

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3 Days: In the ADK’s

In 2015 I started doing a lot of 3 day adventures. I did 1000 miles in April as a road trip to Virginia, Assateague Island in Marland and Delaware, I did 3 separate 3 day trips to various Pennsylvania State Parks throughout the summer and then in October I did 9 days planned as 3 segments – 3 days to Acadia National Park,  3 days in Acadia National Park and 3 days from Acadia National Park as a New England road trip.

So far in 2016 I hadn’t done or planned any 3 day trips. The fact that the weather turned this most recent trip into 3 days was a happy accident. Right now you may be wondering why 3 days? Well, it’s just long enough to have time to do a lot and still short enough to cause some urgency… Continue reading

Heading for the Hills… Well, the Adirondacks!

In just a couple weeks I’ll be heading back to New York State, this time to the Adirondack Mountains! I’ve spent quite a bit of time the past couple years exploring the Catskills and Hudson Valley, but this will be my first trip to Adirondack Park.

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Checking out some maps of the Adirondacks

Currently, the only set plans I have is where I’m staying. 4 nights hammock camping on an island in Lower Saranac Lake. The rest of my time is up in the air. If anyone has any suggestions for hiking and/or kayaking hot spots, let me know in the comments below.

While there I’ll be taking lots of photos and video, so stay tuned that. BUT… before I head off to ADK, I’ll be hitting the fastest, highest and longest zip line in North America next weekend at Hunter Mountain, NY… video of me most likely screaming to follow!

Clever Little Spider

Look closely at the following photo. At first glance it looks like nothing more than a bee on a flower. That’s what I thought when I snapped the shot. But, after getting home and looking at it on a larger screen I noticed something…

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That bee is in some big trouble!!! This appears to be a Goldenrod Crab Spider (or Flower Spider) and it has caught this small bee by surprise.

Where is Spring?

A few weeks ago I took a mini-vacation and went down to Florida for a few days. I made sure I packed my camera so I could snap some shots of warm weather… just in case spring doesn’t make it to the north east this year!

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