Grand Adventure

This past summer we hitched up our trusty little Coleman Pop-up camper and headed west for a “Grand Adventure”.

All loaded and ready to go / Google Photos

We spent 16 days traveling and visited 3 National Parks with the camper. Our trip started in Smithtown, NY and headed first to Ohio to camp overnight at Barkcamp State Park.
It was a nice park but the facilities were a bit lacking.

First stop – Barkcamp State Park, OH / Google Photos

Glad we only stayed one night. Then it was up early the next morning to hit the road and make it to Cuba Missouri for our second stop.
We stayed at Meramac Valley Campground for two nights so we could do some sightseeing in St Louis.

Dinner at Meramac Valley Campground / Google Photos
Tour of the Budweiser Factory / Google Photos
St Louis Arch selfie / Google Photos

Then we were back on the road again. This time another long drive to make it to Amarillo, Texas where we stayed at a very nice state park called Palo Duro Canyon.

Stopping for dinner before Palo Duro Canyon State Park / Google Photos
Cadillac Ranch / Google Photos

After a single night at Palo Duro Canyon we hit the road again to drive to Sedona. I wish we could have stayed another day in Palo Duro, it was such a nice park.

We drove a good 10 hours to get to Sedona and stayed at Rancho Sedona RV Park. It was a very nice RV park and we all loved the amenities.
While we were in Sedona we did some hiking and then stopped at Slide Rock State Park and did some swimming in a VERY COLD river that had cut through the red rocks and made some natural slides. It was the highlight of our stay in Sedona.

Camping in Sedona / Google Photos

From Sedona we got back on the road for a short 3 hour drive up to the Grand Canyon. We stayed inside the park at Mather Campground which was pretty nice. The sites were good and the facilities were clean. It was amazing that we were so close to the actual canyon (5 minute drive) and yet you would have no idea that it was there.

We finally made it to the Grand Canyon! / Google Photos

When we arrived at Mather we had enough time to quickly set up camp and then we headed off to take a helicopter tour of the canyon. That was amazing! Everyone had a great time.

Taking off! / Google Photos
Flying high! / Google Photos
Views from the helicopter / Google Photos
Our helicopter / Google Photos

Then we spent another two days exploring the Grand Canyon. We had some great weather and took lots of photos.

Grand Canyon Selfie! / Google Photos
Family shot at the Grand Canyon / Google Photos
Family shot at the Grand Canyon / Google Photos
Relaxing at the campsite / Google Photos
Sunset at the Grand Canyon / Google Photos
Sunset at the Grand Canyon / Google Photos

After our 3 days at the Grand Canyon we packed up and headed up to Zion National Park. While at Zion we hiked the famous Angels Landing Trail. It was a tough 2.5 miles to the top where we stopped for lunch.

Zion National Park – Angels Landing Trail / Google Photos
Zion National Park – Angels Landing Trail / Google Photos

We only got a single day at Zion which was a shame, there seemed like so much to do there. Perhaps one day we will get the chance to go back.

From Zion we drove up and over the Continental Divide and into Rocky Mountain National Park where we stayed for two days in Glacier Basin Campground.
It was amazing the sights we saw, the animals and the scenery. I couldn’t get used to the elevation and how it affected everyone. Just the simplest thing would get you short of breath.

Rocky Mountain – Red Fox / Google Photos
Our campsite at RMNP / Google Photos
Hiking at Rocky Mountain National Park / Google Photos
Rocky Mountain – Elk / Google Photos
Highest Elevation – Rocky Mountain National Park / Google Photos

While in Colorado we took a quick trip down to Boulder to show the boys where we used to live and just check out Pearl St.

We had a great time seeing all the National Parks and camping in our little camper, but now we had to start heading home. It was a long drive and everyone was tired so we ended up spending our last two nights of the trip in hotels, we would drive as far as we could and then just pull off the highway to find a hotel.

It certainly was a “Grand Adventure”! Everyone will have great memories of the trip and we are already planning our next one!

Family Camping Trip

We took our pop up camper on a dry run this past weekend and went camping out in the Poconos. It was a great weekend with nice weather and the entire family had a good time. We learned a lot about the camper and how to use it as well. I think both Paula and I have nice long lists of things we want to do to make the camper even better!

High Adventure Canoe Trip

This past July Alex and I went on a multi-day canoe trip in the Adirondacks with his Boy Scout Troop, Troop 888 of Smithtown. The trip consisted of a 40 mile paddle spread out over 4 days and on day 2 a 1.5 mile canoe portage to get around a waterfall. The trip started on Long Lake in New York, and ended on Tupper Lake and we camped overnight along the way. There were about 6 boys from the troop and myself and one other adult. We all had a great time and the experience was amazing.

NH White Mountains Hut to Hut Hike

In the end of June Alex, Nick and I went with the Boy Scouts to the White Mountains of NH for a 3 day backpacking trip along the Presidential Range.

Our trip started on Saturday June 26th at the Highland Lodge in Crawford NH. We stayed overnight at the lodge and got an early start on Sunday morning, unfortunately it was raining and would continue to rain for two days. We hiked up the Ammonoosuc Ravine Trail to Lakes of the Clouds Hut which is near the top of Mt Washington. It was a tough hike up but we were rewarded with a nice stay at the Lakes of the Clouds Hut and a warm welcome by the Hut Croo. We ate a hearty meal that night and slept well in our bunks. The next day we hiked Crawford Path / AT across Mt Monroe, Mt Franklin, Mt Eisenhower, and Mt Pierce to Mizpah Springs Hut where we stayed on our 3rd and final night. By the time we got to Mizpah Springs Hut everyone was ready to relax and we enjoyed good food and good company. The Hut Croo played a game of Jeopardy with everyone that night and all the boys enjoyed the competition.

Finally, we hiked down the Mizpah Cutoff to the Crawford Path and back to the Highland Center Lodge for our return trip home.
Even though the weather was rainy and the clouds kept us from seeing the spectacular views atop Mt Washington I think everyone had a good time. It was hard work but I am proud of everyone who did the hike and their accomplishments.

Here are a few pictures from the trip.
Highland Lodge

Nick Backpacking

Alex Backpacking

Crossing the Ammonoosuc River

Nice View

Lake of the Clouds Hut

Happy Hiking Crew

New Deck

Our old deck had seen better days and was starting to show signs of needing repairs or replacement. So, this spring I decided to strip and rebuild it. I took a week off from work and spent the time removing the old boards and rebuilding the deck. It ended up being a family project and everyone chipped in to help out. It was a lot of hard work and its not completely finished yet but at least it looks better than it did. I can’t wait to be able to spend time outside enjoying it.

The old deck

Stripping the old deck

Building the new Deck

Memorial Day – ALMOST DONE

Pergola

Hunter Mountain Backpacking Trip

This past weekend Alex and I went backpacking with his Boy Scout troop in the Catskills. We hiked to the top of Hunter Mountain and explored the fire tower up there. The weather was cold and snowy, but the trek was really worth the effort.

HikeMap

The crew

Snowy stream

Signpost

Uphill… both ways

Alex Backpacking

Snowy Lookout

Ice

Tower

Alex

Frosty

Hiking

Slide Mountain Backpacking Adventure

This past weekend Alex and I went with his Boy Scout Troop on a backpacking trip up Slide Mountain in the Catskills. The weather was predicted to get down into the upper teens at night and there already had been a little snow on the mountain. We hiked in about 4 miles and made camp for the night, unfortunately we were in an area where campfires were not permitted. The boys all made their meals by using backpacking stoves and then we got ready for bed as it was really dark by 6pm and without a campfire it was pretty cold. The next morning we packed up and headed down the mountain back to the cars. It was a good adventure, and certainly a learning experience for some of the boys. Here are some pictures of the hike.

Snowy Trail

Dad and Alex

Animal Tracks

Panoramic View at the top of Slide Mountain

Snowy Path

Webelos Woods

This past weekend Nick and I camped out at Baiting Hollow Scout Camp for Webelos Woods. Webelos Woods is where the Webelos (Cub Scouts) get to camp out for a weekend with the Boy Scouts and they have all sorts of cool stations that the Boy Scouts run for them. The weather was pretty lousy, it rained all day Saturday but Nick had a good time with his friends.

Our Tent


The boys eating dinner