Piper goes Viral after hiking Crum Woods

Holy Cow.  This photo of Piper has received over 23,000 views on Flickr since yesterday morning:

Piper's Famous Photo

I wonder… does having 23,000 views qualify as “going viral”?  It is certainly the most buzz any content that I’ve ever created has garnered in a short period of time!  To her credit, Piper is pretty freakin’ adorable in this photo so I don’t blame those 23,000 people for clicking on her photo.  😉  The full resolution image can be viewed here if you’re interested in seeing it in all its viral glory on Flickr.

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Anyway… I took The Photo while hiking with Pipe and Matt in Crum Woods.  This 220-acre woodland is situated on the western edge of Swarthmore College’s campus in Delaware County, PA.  It features 3.5 miles of hiking trails, fantastic views of Crum Creek, and a giant railroad bridge that carries Septa’s Media/Elwyn line over the creek.

To access the Crum Woods trail we parked on the western (opposite) side of Crum Creek at the Leiper-Smedley trail parking lot off of Avondale Road and walked down Avondale to Yale Ave.  The trails in this southern section of Crum Woods were dotted with tree roots and sloped steeply down to the creek, but the path evened out to a nice walking trail once we made it north of the trailhead by the Swarthmore College fieldhouse.

I love train tracks and bridges, so it’s no surprise that my favorite part of Crum Woods was where the Septa rail line crossed Crum Creek.  Just before reaching the bridge the trail emerged out of the woods into “Crum Meadow,” where Piper licked her first frozen puddle and we had great views of the trestles crossing the creek.  The view from under the bridge was even more impressive and I may have made Matt and Piper wait around for 5-10 minutes just in case a train came along while we were under it.  (Sadly, we did not see a train.)

Leiper-Smedley Trail

After reaching the northern terminus of Crum Woods, we decided to make the hike more interesting by looping back to our car via the paved Leiper-Smedley trail on the other side of the creek.  Unfortunately Crum Woods and Leiper-Smedley are not officially connected on the northern end, so in order to access L-S we had to jog a short stretch of Plush Mill Road and skirt along the shoulder until we reached the trailhead.  We were lucky that Piper was still small enough for Matt to easily carry her during this stretch… this impromptu trail connection would not have been ideal if we had had a larger dog or small children in tow.

Our return trip along the Leiper-Smedley Trail was uneventful and mostly downhill, woohoo!  I’ve run on this trail several times, most recently going UP the trail in the other direction at the Fueled Up and Fired Up 5K in September.  The trail is well marked and has a much less exciting train bridge on it than Crum Woods… but it’s a train bridge nonetheless, so of course I took a picture!!

I definitely enjoyed our Crum Woods hike because I had never been to Crum Woods before, but overall it was a bit of a choppy walk and there are probably better hiking loops in the area.  The southern portion of the trail was a little treacherous and the northern end didn’t technically connect to Leiper-Smedley, but with good hiking shoes and a quick jog up Plush Mill Road we made it work.  Plus, Piper thoroughly enjoyed herself and was very tired afterwards… Mission Accomplished!!!

Piper having fun on the hike

Useful Links:
Crum Woods Web Site
Official Crum Woods Trail Map & Brochure (PDF)
High-res version of Crum Woods Map with our 4 mile hike overlayed (JPG)

Snow Day!

Happy Thanksgiving eve!  It snowed in eastern Pennsylvania today.  The snow might have been less than ideal for people traveling along the I-95 corridor for the holiday, but Matt and I were off from work and had a blast playing with Piper in her first snowstorm.

Little Piper puppy in the snow

Piper took the snow in stride.  She spent the first several minutes trying to eat the mysterious white stuff, then joined Matt for a slippery game of fetch.  I snapped some photos as they played.

After our playtime in the snow we went inside for hot cocoa (for us) and nap time (for Pipe).  So far she’s been great about settling down for quiet snuggle time on the couch while we watch tv (or edit snow day photos).  I’ll have to take a photo of her actually sleeping someday (my mom still doesn’t believe that Piper EVER sits still!) but for now I’ll leave you with this gem.  I love this wacky puppy!

I'm Helping!!!

Piper visits Newlin Grist Mill

Regal Piper Pup

As you might expect, Piper’s arrival has had a big impact on our daily routine.  Matt and I are waking up earlier on work days, stopping home 2-3 times to let her out during the day, and (still!) taking turns setting an alarm for a middle-of-the-night potty break.  We are also making sure to do at least one mentally and/or physically stimulating activity with Piper every day to tire her out.  On weekdays it’s practically dark when we get home from work which limits us to activities around the house like wobble-disc practice in the kitchen or epic games of fetch in the back yard. (Fetch is, of course, frequently interrupted when Piper gets distracted and tries to eat deer poop, but I digress!)  Weekends, however, are a whole different story… daylight means that we can go hiking!

Hike hike hike

Since Piper is still very young, meandering hikes in the woods are a great way to tire her out without causing too much stress on her joints.  To keep things interesting, we’ve been visiting a different local park or trail each weekend.  This has been a fun way to re-explore some of our old favorite hiking spots that I’ve been meaning to blog about for a while.  One such local gem is Newlin Grist Mill.

Newlin Grist Mill is a 160 acre park and historical site in Glen Mills, PA.  You can read more about the park’s history, working grist mill and educational programs on their web site.  I’m sure that all of that historical stuff is cool (convincing plug, right?) but WE visit the park for its miles of secluded nature trails that wind along an abandoned rail line and a beautiful stream.  Here are some photos from our hike a few weekends ago…

Newlin Grist Mill’s trails are well maintained and clearly marked, but I have not been able to find an actual detailed trail map of the park.  There’s a basic map at the parking lot showing park boundaries and general right-of-ways, but it’s missing most of the side trails that we actually hiked on.  Luckily, the park is relatively small and most of the major trails tend to be oriented east-west along the old rail line and stream.  This makes it hard to get lost and fun to explore… perfect for hiking with a 10-week-old puppy!

Oh Hi!

If you’re in the western Philadelphia suburbs and are looking for a low-key, relaxed hike with lots of stream views and history, I’d definitely recommend spending an afternoon at Newlin Grist Mill!

Newlin Grist Mill
219 South Cheyney Road
Glen Mills, PA 19342  (map)
www.newlingristmill.org

The Darlington Trail (Piper-style!)

Darlington Trail Hike 10-31-14On Halloween Matt and I took Piper hiking on the Darlington Trail.  The Darlington Trail is a public hiking trail in Middletown Township, Delaware County, PA that winds along Chester Creek and an abandoned section of railroad that once connected Media to West Chester.  Naturally, I brought my camera along to document this adventure and wanted to share a few of my favorite shots here.

Warning… lots of cute puppy photos ahead!!! 😊

Piper loved climbing around on the train tracks and even walked on one track balance beam-style for a few steps.

Piper on the train tracks 3Piper on the train tracks 1Piper on the train tracks 2

In order to get a good photo angle of little Piper I ended up lying down on the tracks, which put me at the perfect level for a surprise puppy attack!

Surprise puppy attack on the tracks!

Piper was a total ham on the hike and kept pausing to look at the camera.

Piper 3PiperPiper the GSP PuppyPiper 2

Even when Piper got a break from walking she still made a point of looking at the camera!

Piper keeping an eye on me Piper takes a break from hiking

At the end of the hike little Piper happily snoozed in my arms on the drive home.  She is such a sweetie.

Piper sitting in the grass-

That’s it for this hike, but don’t worry, I have photos from a more recent hiking adventure that I will share soon!  🙂

Welcome Home, Piper!!

We got a puppy!  Matt and I are thrilled to welcome Piper into our lives and home.  Isn’t she adorable?

Our new GSP puppy Piper

Piper is a two month old German Shorthaired Pointer.  Yesterday Matt and I drove from Pennsylvania to Wisconsin to pick Piper up from her breeder, Alliwood Shorthairs, and we just made it home from our 1750 mile round trip this afternoon.  We drove there in about 14 hours, stopped for a few hours in a Chicago-area hotel with Piper (not easy with a little pup!), before getting back on the road at about 2:15am this morning.  Needless to say, we are exhausted and should probably be sleeping right now… but I want to share a few more photos of our goofy, happy, snuggly new family member first!!

We are looking forward to enjoying many adventures with Piper!  (The first of which starts tonight… housebreaking!)  🙂

Our new puppy Piper

In Loving Memory of Bailey, our Little GSP

Matt and I lost our best friend last night. Our beautiful, energetic, vibrant, happy pup Bailey passed away very suddenly and we are heartbroken.

We first met Bailey when she was just a tiny 4 week old puppy. When we brought Bailey home at 7 weeks we quickly learned that in addition to being cute as a button she seemed possessed with never-ending energy. She kept us very busy that first year… I don’t think she ever let us sleep in past 8AM!

As Bailey matured we found ourselves adapting our lifestyle around her boundless energy and intelligence. We hiked with Bailey on a regular basis, did agility and nosework training with her, and bought a house with a big yard for her to enjoy.

In 2009 Bailey started competing in DockDogs. This opened up a whole new world for us – exciting new places, people, and experiences – and also gave us the chance to develop an even closer bond with our dog. We traveled thousands of miles and spent countless weekends with Bailey by our sides and I know that she loved every minute of it.

We told Bailey that we loved her every day and we meant it. The night before she died I remember going into the bedroom to get ready for bed and finding Matt kneeling down on the floor, snuggling Bailey’s soft ears with his face and whispering good night to her. We had no idea that that would be her last night with us but it comforts me to know that she clearly knew she was deeply loved by us.

We don’t know exactly what happened to Bailey last night. She was out in the yard before dinner as is her usual routine. She generally comes to the door when she is done hunting/playing/patrolling the yard but she hadn’t shown up yet so I started calling her. She didn’t come when called (which is also quite usual if she’s still absorbed in her squirrel-stalking!) but after calling for her a few times I got worried and turned on the back lights. Then I saw her, collapsed in the middle of the yard, a dark figure in the snow with the lights reflecting off of her jacket. I ran out in the yard and carried her limp form inside. We rushed her to the vet but she was gone.

Bailey lived an action-packed life and threw herself wholeheartedly in everything she did with 110% enthusiasm. She was only six years old and she brought joy to Matt and me for every single minute of her time with us. We loved her unconditionally and we miss her terribly.

In loving memory of Bailey
May 11, 2007 – January 30, 2014

Snow Day!

It snowed again today!!  The snow started falling at 7:30AM and didn’t stop until another 3-4 inches were heaped atop the snow that we got on Sunday.  Yay snow!  Matt took a “snow day” (aka spent some quality time with his early Christmas present, an Xbox One) and I went into work for a few hours and enjoyed a productive morning in the nearly empty office.  Once the roads were plowed I came home to play with Bailey in the snow.  Did I mentioned that I LOVE snow??!!

Dashing through the snow!

Bailey loves the snow, too.  Here are some photos from this afternoon… see the one where I totally whacked her in the head with a giant snowball?  Oops!!

After playing with Bailey I shoveled the whole driveway… talk about a work out!  Now I just have to find the strength to get up off of this comfy couch and go run my daily mile(s) for the Runner’s World Holiday Streak.  Today will be day 163 of my streak, woohoo!

Did you have a snow day today?  How did you spend your day?

Birthday Walk at Ridley Creek

Last Friday was my birthday, woohoo!  Because we were entered to run in the Trinity 5K at 9AM Saturday morning we kept Friday’s celebrating pretty low key.  We got breakfast at Manhattan Bagel (my favorite) and worked a full day while hydrating like crazy for the race.  After work we took a nice walk with Bailey at Ridley Creek State Park before eating a pasta dinner and getting a good night’s sleep.  Here’s a photo of my Ridley Creek walking buddies… the perfect birthday companions!  🙂

380 Matt and Bailey

The weather was gorgeous during our walk.  Since we weren’t planning on doing any running in the park I brought my camera along to capture the beautiful autumn colors and my favorite photo subject, Bailey.  Here are a few of the photos I took:

Bailey hasn’t been to Ridley Creek State Park since I hurt my foot in late September.  She was so happy to be out and about again!  She was sporting her new ‘walkeez’ fleece harness and she paused for lots of photo ops.  She’s such a good dog!

Bailey

Hiking in the park with Matt and Bailey was the perfect way to spend my birthday.  What’s your idea of the perfect birthday afternoon?

Bailey

Bailey on black

It’s been a while since I posted about Bailey so I thought a nice picture-filled update would be fun! Here are some photos that I took earlier this week.  I love this dog!

Bailey the Little GSP

The above photo is classic Bailey.  She looks very serious because I’m holding her frisbee in my hand and trying to get her to make a nice expression for the camera.  She’s like “come on, just throw it already!”  This is what happened when I finally threw the frisbee…

Open WIDE!

The weather is too cold for dock diving now but Bailey is keeping herself busy patrolling the yard for squirrels, lounging in the afternoon sun, and burrowing as deep as possible into her doggie sleeping bag when it’s time for bed.  Bailey has also been taking K9 Nosework classes for several months.  Last night she finally graduated from searching for treats to hunting for “birch” odor, woohoo!  I’m biased, of course, but I think she has a very good nose, don’t you?  🙂

Baileys' nose

As I write this Bailey is curled up between Matt and me on the couch.  She is not normally allowed on the furniture but when it gets cold out we let her snuggle with us.  If we snuggle too much she gets hot and hops off the couch to cool off though…. which just happened.  Now she’s headed up to bed.  Good night, Bailey!

Happy Bailey

A Word A Week Challenge: Silhouette

I don’t usually participate in the “A Word A Week Challenge” but this week’s photo challenge topic was too good to pass up, especially since I just uploaded the perfect photo today!  This week’s challenge is Silhouette:

Bailey at Promised Land State Park

That’s Bailey gazing out over the “upper lake” at Promised Land State Park in Pennsylvania’s Pocono Mountains.  I was going through these photos today because I am planning on doing a post on Promised Land very soon.  Stay tuned for more photos, info and a trail map!

The A Word A Week Challenge is run by Sue over at A Word in Your Ear.  Thanks for giving me an excuse to post this photo of Bailey’s silhouette, Sue!  🙂