Hammock Camping with my Dog – Seneca Creek Hiking & Backpacking Trip

Join my dog Denali and I for some Hiking, Backpacking, and Hammock Camping in the Seneca Creek Backcountry.

For this hiking adventure, my pup and I will be visiting the Spruce Knob-Seneca Creek National Recreation area, within West Virginia’s greater Monongahela National Forest. Our route will be a “lollipop”style hike – meaning we’ll use an “out and back” section of trail from the Spruce Knob trailhead parking area to connect with a series of other trails that form a loop. After completing the loop portion of the hike, we’ll backtrack out using the same section of trail from day one.

The Spruce Knob-Seneca Creek Backcountry offers around 60 miles of trails (marked with blue blazes) with an elevation range of 3,000 to 4,800 feet above sea level. The beginning of this particular loop is actually the highest point in all of West Virginia – Spruce Knob – standing at and elevation of 4,861 feet. Below is a list of trails for each day, along with stats for elevation gain and mileage.

Trailhead Parking: Spruce Knob Parking area (right by the observation tower).

Parking Notes:  No parking fees or overnight permits are required.  There are restrooms and bear-proof trash bins available for use.

Trails used, Day 1

  • Huckleberry Trail
  • Hornton Trail (just for a short bit)
  • Judy Springs Trail
  • Seneca Creek Trail
  • Hammock Camp along Seneca Creek.

Day 1 – Seneca Creek Loop elevation Profile – Sintax77

Day 1 Mileage: 6.5 miles
Day 1 Gross Elevation Gain:  221 feet (pretty much down hill all day)

Trails used, Day 2

  • Seneca Creek Trail
  • High Meadows Trail
  • Lumberjack Trail
  • Join back up with Huckleberry Trail
  • Arrive back at Spruce Knob Parking Lot

Day 2 – Seneca Creek Loop elevation Profile – Sintax77

Day 2 Mileage: 10 miles
Day 2 Gross Elevation Gain:  2,173 feet (pretty much up hill all day)

Notable Gear Seen in the Video

Denali’s Hammock – 2T’s Hammock Chair from Dutchware
Denali’s Dog Backpack – “One Tigris Cotton Canvas Dog Pack”
Dutchware Chameleon Hammock
Hammock Gear Burrow 40 Top Quilt

Hammock Gear Phoenix 30 Underquilt
Hammock Gear Cuben Hex Tarp
Katadyn BeFree Water Filter
Toaks 750ml Titanium Pot
Vargo Windscreen
Esbit Solid Fuel Cubes
ULA Ohm 2.0 Backpack

World’s Lightest Camping Lantern (and cheapest)

Discussing my Favorite (and cheapest) Ultralight Camping Lantern Option.

Just a quick backpacking tips video to highlight a technique that I actually showed briefly in a video years back. I recently read a list of “camping hacks” that mentioned a DIY way to turn your camping headlamp into a lantern. They used a 1 gallon water jug to diffuse the light. Clever, and it probably works well, but it reminded me of my preferred method – simply using a headlamp and a balloon to create a lantern effect.

Surprisingly, I haven’t really seen or heard of hikers doing this very often. Perhaps it’s because it’s just too obvious, but I figured it was worth sharing.

Sara Goes to Ireland Pt 4 – St Patrick’s Cathedral & Dublin Airport

Join Sara & I as we travel around Ireland.

For the fourth and final day of our travel adventure in Ireland, we have a handful of hours to explore before heading off to the Dublin airport, so we decide to check out two Dublin landmarks that we hadn’t seen yet – Dublin Castle.

Itinerary for Day 4

    • Check out of our room at the Clontarf Castle Hotel in Dublin, Ireland.
    • An early morning visit to Dublin Castle
    • A gander at Saint Patrick’s Cathedral
    • Head to the Dublin International Airport

Sara Goes to Ireland Pt 3 – Travel Tips, Castles & Temple Bar

Join Sara & I as we travel around Ireland.

For the third day of our travel adventure in Ireland, we share some Ireland travel  tips over breakfast, then head south from Dublin, towards the Wicklow Mountains and Lough Tay (Loch Té in Irish) for a day of exploration, followed by a night on the town in Dublin’s Temple Bar district.  Along the way, we discover some ancient castles, one in ruins, the other still standing (complete with a functioning moat).

Itinerary for Day 3

    • Have some coffee & porridge in our hotel room at the Clontarf Castle Hotel, Dublin.
    • Head south on the highway towards the Wicklow Mountains
    • Visit Lough Tay and the surrounding forests.
    • Picnic along the River Liffey near the Ballysmuttan Bridge.
    • Head further south towards the town of Wicklow to visit the ruins of Black Castle.
    • Head north back towards Dublin, visiting Drimnaugh Castle along the way.
    • Visit Dublin’s famed Temple for for some bangers and mash & and pint of Guinness.
    • Return to the Clontarf Castle Hotel for some drinks at the Knight’s Pub before heading of to bed upstairs.

Stay tuned for part four, where we head into Dublin one final time for an early morning visit to Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, followed by a hearty breakfast at the Dublin Airport, before heading back home to the states.

ULA Ohm 2.0 Review – My go-to Pack for Ultralight Backpacking

A Detailed Review of the ULA Ohm 2.0 Backpack.

Specs etc, as per ULA:

Volume Breakdown
Main Body: 2,100 cc
Front Mesh Pocket: 500 cc
Side Pocket: 400 cc each
Ext. Collar: 500 cc
Hipbelt Pockets: 100 cc

General Guidelines
Recommended Maximum Load: 30 lbs or less
Recommended Base Weight: 12 lbs or less

Pack Weight (Torso-M, Hipbelt-M)
32.5 oz (add about 2 oz for camo cordura version)
Weight includes all removable items, which is about 5 oz.

Total Volume
3,960 cu in (about 63 liters)

For more info visit ULA’s official website product page.

Link to my favorite pack cover, seen in the video: Dutchware Argon Pack Cover


Sara Goes to Ireland! – Pt 2 Cliffs of Moher & Castle Ruins

Join Sara & I as we travel around Ireland.

For the second day of our travel adventure in Ireland, we head west from Dublin, towards the western shoreline and the stunning Cliffs of Moher.

Itinerary for Day 2

  • Have a quick spot of coffee and some porridge in our hotel room at the Clontarf Castle Hotel, Dublin.
  • Head west on the highway towards Galway and ultimately, the Cliffs of Moher.
  • Exit the motorway near to town of Ennis to explore the ruins of Clare Abbey, an Augustinian monastery founded in 1195.
  • Continue on towards the west coast of Ireland, enjoying the sights.
  • Explore the Cliffs of Moher.  There is a path along the cliffs that runs from the village of Doolin all the way to  the village of Liscannor, with the Cliffs of Moher Visitor Center in between them (which is where we started from)
  • On the way home, stop in Limerick City, Ireland for some fish n’ chips and a pint at Dolans pub and live music spot.
  • Return to Clontarf Castle Hotel.

Stay tuned for part three, where we head south of Dublin to further explore the Wicklow Mountains followed by a night out in Dublin’s famed Temple Bar area.