Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Nights 208 and 209

Hi and welcome back!

My dad slept out with me on Saturday night. The fly was on during the storm that blew through, but somehow another puddle managed to form. It was in the front of the tent, so I slept in the bottom and my dad slept about a foot to the left of the water.

Me and the Corn
Dad said he was trying to stay on top of the ThermaRest "like it was a boat," but at one point he rolled off of it and got his shirt soaked. When we woke up I was happy and well rested and dry.  My dad was grumpy and wet. I guess I was smart for staying clear of the puddle.

On Sunday my mom and I hiked. On our way up we realized that the corn had grown over a foot in the last 2 weeks. Right after we passed the corn I heard a screech, so I looked up and saw a hawk. That was at least the third hawk I have seen this summer.  We had an OK time up of about 13:30.

Me Photographing the Salamander
Once we got on top, we decided to follow the trail a little bit past the tree where we turn around. We saw two small orange salamanders, which I think were both longtail salamanders. Then on our descent we saw FIVE more. I wanted to show them to my dad, EMC, and JAC, so I picked 2 of them up with a couple of leaves and carried them down the rest of the way. After I showed the rest of my family I put them in a large bug box with some leaves, twigs and pine cones so I can keep them for temporary pets until I release them back into the woods.

My Salamander Photo

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Nights 206 and 207

Hi and welcome back!

Wednesday night it was cold and I made the mistake of leaving my sleeping bag out all evening before I went out. It was about 55 degrees out, so the nylon lining in it was freezing. Fortunately I was able to warm the sleeping bag up within 10 minutes. It dropped below 50 degrees so I was freezing even in a 40 degree bag, but thankfully there was no wind overnight so it didn't get too cold.

Frog Eyes
On Friday I went on another hike with the camp that Mr. M and Mrs. Q run. We went on a trail alongside of the Lehigh River that eventually led to a pond. Once we reached the pond we were looking for frogs, and I was able to get 2 pictures of a frog that had just its eyes above the water and could easily be mistaken for a small rock. I also got a picture of a frog that was camouflaged in a patch of grass.

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Nights 204 and 205

Hi and welcome back!

On Monday while I was at soccer camp it poured here and the fly wasn't on my tent. As soon as I got home I quickly put the fly on, but since it was dark I didn't see how much water was in it.

When I went out later and turned on my headlamp, I saw that there was a half inch deep puddle that was about 1 foot by 2 feet. Thankfully I had brought out a towel so I was able to sop some of it up. Of course, my sleeping bag's exterior was soaked, but thankfully the inside was just damp so I was able to stay warm.

Stinky Beagle
I woke up in the middle of the night when this smelly and hairy thing came into my tent!  When I woke up and turned my headlamp on I saw Maisy whimpering in the vestibule. Once I smelled her I realized that she had been sprayed by a skunk!

I pushed her out of my tent and watched her go inside. When I went inside on Tuesday morning my dad said that around 1:30 Maisy had come inside and he had to give her a bath.

Yesterday when my dad and I hiked it was only about 55 degrees out, so I wore pants and a t-shirt. I was thinking about how weird it is that if it was that temperature right after the cold snap last winter I would have worn shorts and been sweating!

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Nights 202 and 203

Hi and welcome back!

On Sunday night my mom slept out with me. I remembered her being soft from when she slept out in the winter, but I didn't remember just how soft. She brought out a comforter, 2 pillows, and a flannel lined sleeping bag. She slept on the sleeping bag with the comforter over top of her. There was a hole in the mesh so she was worried all night about being eaten alive by the bugs.

On Monday my mom, my brother, my sister, my grandparents and I went to Bushkill Falls in the Pocono Mountains. I had read about it weeks ago in Backpacker Magazine. They said that it was a 2 mile loop that took you past 8 waterfalls.

I was a little disappointed because since my little brother was with us, we only did the second shortest route which was a 45 minute hike  (The map said that the 2 mile loop took 2 hours and 45 minutes).  We only got to go past the Main Falls. The Main Falls were about 200 feet tall and we took a bridge system that went from the bottom of the waterfall to the top. Even though I didn't get to see all of the waterfalls, I still had a lot of fun.

Thanks for reading!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Nights 199 and 200!

Hi and welcome back!

Friday morning I went to the Lehigh Canal hiking with a wellness camp run by Mr. M and Mrs. Q (teachers from the middle school that I am going to next year).  On our way out on the canal we spotted a green heron on a log. Right after that we turned around and went back on a single-track trail that my grandfather made about 20 years ago. At one point we had to cross a bridge that had a rotten board.  Everone avoided it except my friend R.B., who stepped on it and broke it.

"Climbing Twister" with EMC

After swimming all afternoon at our friends' house on Friday (thanks G.G., J.G., B.G., and P.G.!), the forecast said we were going to have some rain overnight, so I set up my tent. When I went out to sleep, though, the sky was perfectly clear, so I slept under the stars. But of course the forecast was right and it started  to drizzle around 3:00 a.m.  Around 7:00 I woke up with a wet sleeping bag.

Me on the Rope Course 

Saturday afternoon we went to the ski resort that we go to in the winter for the opening of their climbing tower/zipline.  We met up with E.R., A.R., K.R., and M.R. and took dune-buggies from the base to the top where the climbing wall was. We all got suited up in harnesses and helmets and then climbed up the tower.  Once we were up on top, E.R. and I raced backwards on the zipline, which was about 300 feet long. I won, because I am a little bit heavier, but only by a little bit, and we both had fun.

Yesterday when my dad and I hiked, as we were passing the corn (which is about nine feet tall now) we noticed that three of the stalks had fallen in the shape of an arrow. Not only were they in the shape of a perfect arrow, but it was pointing in the direction that we hike every day. We were a little freaked out, and we decided that if we saw any more we would turn around and go a different way.

Thanks for reading!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Nights 197 and 198

Royal Arches, Yosemite

Red Tail Hawk
Hi and welcome back!

On Monday afternoon my dad got an email from Mark Smiley about the trip to Yosemite.  He confirmed that on September 27 we are going to climb Royal Arches! Royal Arches is the smallest big wall in Yosemite at 1,400 feet tall, but it's 17 pitches total, so it's not a small climb.

On Thursday C.S. came over to my house, and we went for a hike around 12:15. We cut into the woods about 100 feet from where the pond starts and then followed a stream that went up for about a quarter mile to the mountain that my dad and I hike up. 

Once we found the start of the stream we decided to look for the trail. The woods were so overgrown that we had to bushwhack. We found a cleared spot where we sat and rested. As we were about to turn around we heard a screech, looked up, and saw a red tail hawk.

Once we started climbing up the trail, a yellowjacket started flying around my head. Then it landed on my upper lip and stung me twice! I tried to yank it off which worked after a few seconds of trying.

J.A.C. Giving me a Wake Up Call

I took off my shirt and wrapped it around my head so it wouldn't sting me again, but it managed to get under the shirt and sting my lip a third time! Once I caught up to C.S. I noticed that my lip was starting to swell, so I dipped my shirt in the stream and put it on it.

We finally got home about 2:30.  We were all scratched up and dirty, but we had a ton of fun!

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Nights 193 and 194

Hi and welcome back!

Last night my dad slept out under the stars with me (which surprised me because he's so soft). Overnight I was hot in just my sleeping bag liner but at about 4:00 this morning I was freezing because of the breeze and dew so I took the 40 degree bag from my dad.  He ended up with nothing, but was sleeping soundly anyway.

I am amazed by how much the temperature can change over 6 months. This week we are being hit with a heat wave which will have some temperatures close to 100 degrees.  That is about a 100 degree difference from the coldest temperature I faced in the tent this winter.  I am not sure how I am going to stay cool but I better think of something quickly.

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Nights 191 and 192

Hi and welcome back!

Lately not much has been happening overnight or during my hikes and since it's summer I have been kind of busy so I might not post every day or every other day.

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Nights 189 and 190

Hi and welcome back!

Welcome to the new reader from Romania!

Earlier today I hit 15,000 pageviews!

On Wednesday night it was very nice out so I slept on the grass like I have been. About half an hour after I fell asleep it started to pour. Thankfully I was only about 10 feet from my tent so I was able to go inside where it was dry. That is the last time that I will sleep outside of the tent without checking the weather.

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Nights 187 and 188

Whitetail in Velvet
Hi and welcome back!

On Sunday night when I went out to the tent I found out that some of the rain that came earlier that day got into the tent. There were two or three small puddles in the middle of the floor.

Unfortunately the sleeping bag that I was going to sleep in was in one of the puddles, so I wound up having a damp night.

On Tuesday when my dad and I hiked we saw two buck (male deer) about 100 feet in front of us. Once we got to where they had been standing, we found the two sets of deer tracks they left in the mud. We followed them for about 20 feet, but then they disappeared and the rest of the area was grass.

I see that we've had about 15 visitors last week from France.  Are you watching the Tour?  Dad and I watch the coverage every day, and it's been pretty interesting so far.  Lots of crashes, good breakaways, and that dog that almost took out a line of riders!

Thanks for reading!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Nights 185 and 186

Small Part of the Union Camp

Hi and welcome back!

Welcome to the new reader from Serbia!

On Friday, my dad, my grandfather and I went to Gettysburg for the 150th anniversary battle reenactment.  The first battle was the cavalry, with about 1,000 soldiers on horses or on foot.  There was another battle later in the day with more soldiers, but it was really hot, and we didn't stay for that one.

Officer's Tent

After the cavalry battle we went to the Union camp.  I was amazed by how far tents have come in the last 150 years.

In the camp, all of the tents were exactly like the ones they used in the Civil War. Most were just 6 foot long canvas tarps supported by sticks. They wouldn't have been very waterproof, and I'm sure they were very heavy.

We also saw several officers' tents.  They were pretty nice.  Some had beds and everything.

Not Sunset?

On Sunday evening when my dad and I were hiking we saw a patch of orange sky. At first we thought that it was the sun setting, but than we realized that it was in the east and not the west, so it couldn't have been that.

Neither of us could think of a logical explanation, so if anyone can tell why that happened, I would appreciate it if you could comment.  We did have a thunderstorm come through about an hour before we hiked, if that helps.

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Nights 183 and 184

Hi and welcome back!

On Wednesday night I woke up around 11:45 to find that even though it didn't rain, everything was wet. All of the sleeping bags (including the one that I was in) were especially wet. Thankfully the 40 degree bag's inside was dry for the most part so that's what I moved into. I'm pretty sure it was a particularly heavy dew that night, and because I wasn't using a groundcloth, some of it got inside the tent.

Reading in the Tree
The other day I also rigged up a harness in the big pine tree in our backyard and hung out there reading for a bit.  I was only about 15 feet off the ground, but it was fun to have a different place to read.

On Thursday night I was able to see some fireworks that some people down the road from us were setting off. I just rolled my sleeping out on the grass and watched them from there.  Whenever they weren't setting them off I would look at the stars and spot constellations.

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Nights 181 and 182

Bear Path?
Hi and welcome back!

On Tuesday when my dad and I were hiking we noticed that there was a path of flattened corn stalks through the corn field on top of the hill so we followed it. We decided that it was probably from a bear, because it was about 3 feet wide.  We've seen black bears in the field before, and someone said they saw one a few weeks ago, so it's certainly possible that's what it was.

Once we were at the end of the path we saw some blackberry bushes. There were a TON of ripe berries so we picked a bunch and ate them. Once we got home and described them to my mom she said that she has seen them before and that she thinks that they are actually black raspberries.

If anyone can tell what they are from the picture, comment and tell me!

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Nights 179 and 180

Hi and welcome back!

It's great to see so many readers coming back from other countries.  I see Latvia, Portugal, Morrocco and some others who have visited several times.  I hope you keep reading!

Rainy Days
On Saturday night while I was reading I heard a noise coming from near the pond. I listened for a couple minutes and finally realized that it was probably one of the owls we hear sometimes. I verified it in the morning when my dad told me that he had heard an owl overnight.  We've heard as many as four of them calling to each other at one time, but I think it was just one on Saturday.

Yesterday when my dad and I were hiking we saw a deer about 60 yards away from us. It stayed completely still and didn't even move when Maisy would run and bark at it. I decided to walk toward it and see how close I could get before it ran away. Once I was about 35 yards away it finally ran.  Dad said they don't see very well, so they rely more on hearing and smell.  Still, I was surprised it let me get so close.

We had a major thunderstorm on Sunday night.  It started with lightning about 3:00 in the morning, and then it started to really rain hard.  I've been sleeping in the Sierra Designs Polaris the last few days, and it kept me perfectly dry.  I was up for a few minutes during the storm making sure everything was closed up tight, but then I was able to get back to sleep.

Thanks for reading!