In front of one of the large White Oak Canyon Falls
Tristan trying to convince Billy to swim (without any luck)
With Billy and one of the smaller falls
Gilligan getting some lovin from his girlfriend Puffie (sadly because of his paw/hip/elbow tenderness he was left at home today...I assume Puffle took good care of him because by the time we returned home this evening he seemed to have just a small limp and was moving around freely)
Today Tristan and I woke up about 5 a.m. to get ready for a hike in Shenandoah VA. Sadly Gilligan struggled to get up, so he did not join us. But Billy bounded out to the car ensuring he was not left at home. Tristan and I piled into the car and I drove us about 1.5 hours past Manassas. At Manassas we purchased breakfast and lunch at Panera and switched drivers. At this time I had the chance to look at one of my Christmas presents, a book from my dad about the history and stories from the JFK50 miler, by Dixie Shaffer. As the book is only about 50 pages long with lots of pictures, I finished by the time we arrived in Shenandoah National Park, however I would highly recommend this book. It was inspirational, gave accurate details of the race and at least for me, I knew alot of the people spotlighted in the book.
We drove to Old Rag so Tristan could climb that mountian. Since dogs are not allowed and I find climbing that mountain entails having good upper strength (which I lack), I took a pass and drove to the other side of the Mountian with Billy and parked by Berry Hollow. Billy and I jogged and hiked up and down the fire road waiting for Tristan and finally after about 4 miles, lots of hills and 1.5 hours, Tristan came wandering down the trail. During our workout Billy had gotten pretty muddy so one of us was going to be assigned the task to walk Billy to our next hiking start point at White Oak Canyon parking lot. That person was me. We hauled down the mountain probably doing 8 minute miles (thanks to gravity!). And in fact beat Tristan to the next parking lot.
At White Oak Canyon, Tristan and I started up the path together with Billy. For the remainder of the day, we were together. Our White Oak Canyon hike started at 11 a.m. and at about 2 p.m. we had a turn around time (to ensure we did not hike in the dark). We made it above all of the falls. My recollection is that there are 7 falls on this trail. The water was pretty high making the falls very pretty. Also, there were several remants of ice falls and lots of small falls that are not typically in the canyon. Overall it was a great day. The sun was out and at one point both Tristan and I were both in shorts (and were very comfortable). In fact Tristan mentioned he saw a couple on Old Rag in which the husband was in boxer shorts. It later came out in fact, the guy geniunely was only in boxer shorts and did not even have a shirt on. Apparently this guy apologized a little to Tristan but stated "I was hot". I have to agree with the guy, today was shorts weather for a hike!
After stopping at the various visible waterfalls and trying to convince Billly to swim, it got close to 2 p.m. We ran into a downed tree and took this as a sign that we should turn back. Coming back we saw quite a few people and a few dogs. Billy was one of the few off leash, but he seemed to behave pretty well. He would go ahead of us, but not by much and then he would wait or come back to us. Sadly he did not do any sprint workouts to tire himself out; however, perhaps we are finally tiring him out. I think our hike was about 8 miles long, our morning walk to find Tristan was 4 miles and then we had our 1 mile sprint down the mountain. Thus Billy probably traveled at least 14 miles today.
Hopefully tommorows weather is good so we can get one more good hike in before we return to work. On a positive note, I will flex on Tuesday and plan to run 7 or so miles and since Billy seems capable of this distance he will tag along. Tomorrow is Tristan's birthday so perhaps we will go back to Old Rag because I know that hike is one of his favorites. There is the chance for showers, however, I think that the temperature is supposed to be in the mid-60's and after my 24 hours in rain at Umstead, I can handle a little bit of showers on a hike (I hope!)