Snow Puppy

As I type this my little Piper pup is on the couch next to me, exhausted from today’s hiking adventures.  She is sleeping on her back with her hind legs splayed open (she’s not the most ladylike puppy I’ve ever met!) and her breathing sounds like something between a snort and a snore.  She’s been sleeping this way for at least an hour – a long time for a nap in Piper’s world! – so I’m taking advantage of this afternoon lull to do a quick photo post!

3331 Piper

Last Tuesday we got about an inch of snow in eastern Pennsylvania and I snapped some photos of Piper playing in the back yard on my lunch break.  Piper seemed totally undeterred by the sub-freezing temperatures and had a blast romping around in the snow, chasing sticks and snatching up the occasional mouthful of snow… she loves this weather!!

We’ve had Piper for 11 weeks now.  Only 11 weeks!!!  It seems like she’s been a part of our family for MUCH longer than that!  Matt and I are having a blast with her and I can’t wait to see what the next 11 weeks bring!!  😄

Okehocking Preserve

Piper and her reflection in Ridley Creek

Merry Christmas Eve!  Matt and I are hosting dinner tonight… bone-in short ribs over polenta with brussel sprouts braised in cream.  YUM!!  The food is prepped, the house is clean, I got in a nice 4 mile run in the rain and now I’m just waiting for family to arrive.  I thought I’d take advantage of this lull in the day to share some photos from one of our hikes last week.

2834 Piper at Okehocking

Matt and I are fortunate to live very close to Okehocking Preserve, a 180-acre conservation area with miles of trails, a scenic section of Ridley Creek and an off-leash, unfenced dog park.  We’ve been taking Piper to Okehocking a lot lately, in part to socialize her but also because the preserve’s close proximity to our house allows us to squeeze in the maximum amount of outdoor time before the sun goes down.  (Hooray for the shortest day of the year being BEHIND us now!!)

So far Piper has really taken to Okehocking.  She sniffs and snorts around in the tall grass, has fun climbing on rocks, walls, and fallen trees, wades into (and tries to drink all of) Ridley Creek and, of course, has a blast playing with other dogs in the off-leash area.  I’m sure we’ll be spending many, many afternoons at Okehocking over the next several months.  If you’re from the area I would definitely recommend visiting Okehocking… maybe we’ll see you there!

2794 Piper drinking

Okehocking Preserve
5316 West Chester Pike
Newtown Square, PA 19073
Preserve Map | Web Site
My Okehocking post from 2012

Rainy Day Piper

For the past few days a cloudy, gloomy weather system has been stalled over the east coast.  It rained all day yesterday which meant that we had to tire Piper out indoors rather than in our soggy, muddy back yard.  I took the opportunity to take a few indoor shots of Piper with my 50mm lens.

Rainy Day Piper

As part of Operation Exhaust the Puppy Matt and I introduced Piper to our second floor great room which has a big area rug and lots of natural light.  Pipe typically slips and slides all over the tile floors downstairs so I think she really enjoyed the traction she was able to get on the upstairs rug.  She transformed into a wild little maniac, diving into Bailey’s old toy bin to rummage around for the absolute noisiest, most annoying squeaky toy, then zooming back and forth across the room with it at breakneck speed.  She’d then grow bored of that particular toy and go back to the bottomless bin for another squeaker and repeat the whole process over again.  (Luckily Bailey had a ridiculous number of toys so Piper will be able to keep unearthing new toys for the foreseeable future!)

Here are a few of my favorite pics from yesterday.  Keep in mind that Piper was only stopping for 2-3 second increments before zooming off to the other end of the room… that’s why she looks so devilish in a few of these!  🙂

Piper with the green squeaker

Piper whiskers

The Piper and the hedgehog

Piper

Who, me??

Keeping an eye on me
As is becoming her nighttime routine, Piper is now stretched across my lap, making sure even while sleeping to keep one paw close enough to my keyboard to hit a stray button every now and then.  I love this little pup!  🙂

Piper helping me post

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.

~~

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

Riddlewood 5K and a familiar face in a random meme!

This morning I ran the Riddlewood Swim Club 5K and I was the first woman to cross the finish line!  But first, check out this totally random picture that I saw while scrolling through my Facebook feed this afternoon…

Bailey meme

That’s my BAILEY!!!  Somebody turned one of her flying dockdogs photos into an internet meme that’s being shared around Facebook.  Cool!  I don’t know who added the words but it definitely made me smile to see the determined, non-nonsense look on her little brown face as she flies through the air.  If you’re interested, you can view (and share) the original Facebook post here.

But back to running… I signed up last minute for a little 5K race this morning and it went really well!  The race was sponsored by the Riddlewood Swim Club and the course wound around the extremely hilly “Riddlewood” neighborhood of Media, PA.  I’m a big fan of local history so I have to share a quick bit of trivia behind the Riddlewood name:

“The name [Riddlewood] comes from famous racehorse owner Samuel D. Riddle, who owned the property before it was developed in the 1950s. The names of the streets in Riddlewood are named after Sam Riddle’s horses as follows: Man o’ War, War Admiral, War Trophy, Rampart East, Rampart West, Anamosa, and Soldier Song.”  (Source: Wikipedia)

Man o’ War was, according to Wikipedia, one of the greatest Thoroughbred race horses of all time.  He sired Triple Crown Winner War Admiral and was the grandfather (grandhorse?) to Seabiscuit.  Man o’ War’s owner, Sam Riddle died in 1951 and left his estate to be turned into what is now Riddle Memorial Hospital (and also Riddlewood!).  As another local twist, it was Sam’s relatives the Jeffords family that owned the estate that is now my favorite running spot, Ridley Creek State Park.

OK… history lesson over!

Riddlewood Runkeeper Stats

The 5K itself was tiny, with only around 30 participants.  We started by running straight up a steep hill and kept climbing for what felt like the entire first mile.  Around the halfway point the course took us along an equally steep downhill before looping by the swim club and going right back up the huge hill again.  Talk about a good hill workout!  🙂

I felt like I managed all of these hills pretty well and during the second lap’s climb I was actually able to pass two guys who had been in front of me for the whole race.  I pulled away from them and set my sights on a younger guy that was about 200 feet ahead of me.  I knew that the finish was going to be a steep downhill and I really thought I could catch this guy, but he picked up his pace significantly during the last 1/4 mile or so and I couldn’t quite get him.  As it was, I ended up finishing the race with a 7:53 third mile split (my fastest last mile ever!) and clocked a ridiculous 5:10 split on my final 0.1 mile.  I was running into the finish so fast that I thought I might fall over!

Struggling to keep my balance down the hill into the finish.

Struggling to keep my balance down the hill into the finish.

In addition to running my best third mile split, today also marks the first time that I’ve ever raced purely negative splits!  Of course, the fact that the whole first mile was uphill and the third mile was primarily flat or downhill certainly helped this happen, but I’m still pretty psyched!  Oh, and also, I was the first place woman!  Woohoo!  🙂

Annie at Riddlewood

My next race will be the Radnor Red Steeplechase 5K on August 17th.  That is an XC race with horse jumps so it should be VERY interesting!!

Miles since last post:  38.7
Days since last post:  7
Avg. Daily Miles since 7/18/13: 4.80
2014 TOTAL MILES: 1022.5

 

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