Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Daddy-Daughter Hike #2 - Garrison Hill Park

For our second Daddy-Daughter Hike, I targeted Garrison Hill in Dover, NH. Other than knowing they set the 4th of July fireworks off from this hill, I knew very little about it. I recall hearing there was a fire tower or observation tower on the hill but had no idea if there were hiking trails or not. After doing a little research, I found this site (http://nhtricitytrailblazers.com/Trails.html) discussing a trail that connects the hill with other locations, but again, it wasn’t much to go on. Also, many of the historical sites I found on Garrison Hill were "under construction" or "info coming soon" watermarked.

The Garrison

We headed up there early in the morning and found the road that lead up to the top of Garrison Hill. There, I found a parking lot, a large round building (the Garrison) and a large, green tower. I also noticed the perimeter of the park area had a road barrier around it. My first intuition was that we had a very slim chance of finding any hiking trails.

Lylah and I walked up the dirt walkway to the tower. There, we found three individuals doing a pretty intense stretching and aerobic workout by running up and down the tower while doing exercise at the top and bottom.

The tower was green and extremely well built. A lot of fire towers we visit seem old and rickety. This one was solid and the stairs were not steep at all, but instead were standard dimension stairs like you’d find in your house.

 Downtown Dover

At the top, there was a great view of the whole park area including the large, round Garrison building, a couple nearby cell towers and a small children’s play area. In the distance, we could see some mountain profiles but I’m not sure which ones. There was also a great view downtown Dover.

After we made our way down, we checked out a bench on one side of the park which looked like it was donated by the rotary club. Just beyond the bench, on the other side of the road barrier fence, it looked like there was a trail heading down the hill. Since there was no kiosk, trail sign or map…and the fact that you needed to jump the barrier to go down the trail, I opted not to take my 3 year old down it.

All in all, Garrison Hill is a pretty uneventful location with respect to hiking. It is however, a very nice viewing park for a picnic or to get some great views of the surrounding city.


Friday, August 22, 2014

The Start of Daddy-Daughter Hikes - Stratham Hill

Lylah’s at the age where she can carry a backpack and hike down a trail. The amount of time she can do this is questionable and something I knew I was going to have to test out. This being the case, I figured it was a perfect time to start Daddy-Daughter Hikes every weekend that we’re able to do so.

The first hike we did was Stratham Hill Park. This is a location that she’s pretty familiar with as we go there to play on the playground. Lylah was pretty excited to go hiking especially after I told her we were going to see a tower! We started off first thing in the morning and took the Lincoln Trail to the summit of the hill. She hiked up the whole way with no complaining. She had fun looking for flowers and trying to track down next water bar on the trail (which she called “big sticks”).

When we got to the tower, she was in awe! She couldn’t wait to get to the top…but I could! Typically, I love fire towers, but when you have a three year old, they are rather tedious. I helped her climb up and she loved the views. Helping her down seemed even more tedious!

 Great Bay
Mount A I believe

After climbing the tower, we sat down and had some chocolate chip cookies even though it was morning. We then headed off down the Kitty Rock Trail which connected to the Tote Road. After we passed Stratham Hill Pond, we made our way onto the connector trail via a foot bridge and back to the main park.

 Pawtuckaway Mountains

Uncanoonuc Mountains

Isles of Shoals I believe

Lylah then wanted to play on the playground. She did such a good job hiking (over a mile), how could I deny her some fun!

We really had a great time on this short trek so I knew I would have to keep Daddy-Daughter Hikes going as much as possible! My goal is to do at least one short hike a weekend as long as she’s interested. 


Saturday, June 14, 2014

Gear Review: Halo Belt

I was contacted by a company called Halo Belt to try out a product that contained neon colored, bright LED’s. The purpose of the belt was to maintain visibility while engaging in night time activity on the street. Since I live on a pretty dark road with no street lights, I thought this would be a great product to test in the evening hours after the sun goes down.

I requested two belts so that I could cross them on my chest, over my shoulders to create almost an LED x-vest. They arrived and were packaged nicely. I received a red one and a neon yellow one. Right away, I noticed they were rechargeable and used a detachable USB port which makes them pretty universal.

I tried to cross them over my shoulders to create an “X” on my chest and back as mentioned above but found the belts weren’t long enough to cross down to my waste. Unfortunately, by crossing them over my shoulders, I found they dug into my armpit too much for comfort, especially since I was going running. I think if you were short and petite, these belts would probably cross over the way I had expected. This was no big deal however, and I decided to just wear one as a belt. Another thing I noticed was that the LED coverage was only long enough to cross your front or back region while used as a belt. When running, you want visibility in both directions so I saw this as a negative. To be fair, the portion of the belt that doesn’t have LEDs does have a reflector screening on it.

Functionally, the belts were bright. They had two settings, one which was constant illumination and one where the illumination turned off and on causing a blinking affect. I used this setting as I figured it would be more effective for drivers to notice. The belt was light in weight and at its loosest setting, it fit around my waste. I can imagine this belt would be tight if you have a larger midsection.

The unit worked well for what it’s intended to do. I wore it so the LED’s were facing to the rear of me and I didn’t get hit, so I assume the belt helped create awareness to passing motorists. I was hoping the unit would be more versatile, having a longer reach and a longer LED section so that it could be worn in a different way than a belt, comfortably. Because it was missing this versatility, other products need to compliment the function to make sure you’re visible from all directions. But, all in all, it’s a good product and does the job! 

Note: Halo Belt sent me samples for an unbiased review. All views in this post are the unbiased opinion of myself. 


Thursday, June 12, 2014

Gear Review: Dorcy Headlamp

Dorcy gave me the opportunity to review two of their headlamps on this blog. They sent me an LED headlamp with a 48m distance broad beam which was 120 lumens and one that was 118m distance spot beam which was 134 lumens. Both came with three triple A batteries and stated a 12 hour life. Both headlamps had the same housing, which was very light weight and was held on your head by and adjustable head band. Both also claimed to have a 50 degree swivel for the light beam, however, it seemed to be more than this. I would say the adjustability was almost 90 degrees. Both also claimed water resistance but I did not test this feature to date.

A rubber button at the top of the light allows you to toggle through different light settings. It started with a fully bright beam, then down to a less intense beam and then to a flicker or blinking setting. After adjusting the elastic head band, I placed it on my head and was pleasantly surprised at how comfortable it was. My standard headlamp I typically run with gives me a headache after a while and if I loosen it anymore, it won’t stay in place.

Showing the max adjustment of the beam. I would say it's more than 50 degrees.

I brought the Dorcy headlamp for a 3 mile run in the evening after sunset and found it to be a great headlamp. The beam lit up the road well and made me confident that oncoming cars noticed me from a distance. It also allowed me to dodge any rocks or potholes in the dark. It didn’t give me a headache like my current headlamp either.

These headlamps retail for about $25 on Dorcy’s website which I think is a great deal. You can also purchase from the larger retailers like Amazon for a discounted prices as well. I would highly recommend this headlamp for hiking or running. It’s pretty lightweight so it would be a great survival kit lamp.

Note: Dorcy sent me samples for an unbiased review. All views in this post are the unbiased opinion of myself.


Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Where Was It Wednesday!

Okay, here's a tough one. Where was this photo taken from. Hint: What you're looking at is the "South Cliffs" of a New Hampshire mountain with a lot of history!


Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The Turtle Highway Is Out Of Control!!!

The Turtle Highway in my backyard is out of control!!! We saw a turtle one afternoon last week and then we saw THREE turtles on Saturday alone! Below are some shots of them. I'll keep you posted if we see anymore.

This Painted Turtle was from one evening last week.

 This is one from earlier on Saturday.
This one I spotted out the window of my second floor making a run across my neighbors yard.

Finally, we saw this one out the window of my truck as we were driving out of the driveway.