Woof Trekking Dispatch #13: Outer Banks, North Carolina, January 2013

Woof Trekking Dispatch #13: Outer Banks, North Carolina, January 2013

posted in: Dispatches, On the Road, Woof Trekking | 0 | This post may contain referral links. See privacy policy for more.

We started going on road trips with our pets about four years ago and were total noobs at traveling with them. Our adventures have taken across the US and we have been sharing them with you in our Dispatch series. We have also published a book, Woof Trekking, about how you too can road trip with your pets.

Woof Trekking in North Carolina

In our last dispatch, we told you about our adventure around downtown Richmond, VA, and the history of the area. We made our way to the coast and travelled south. We entered North Carolina and decided to check out the Outer Banks area.

The Outer Banks is a string of peninsulas and small islands that cover about 200 miles along the northern part of the North Carolina coast. We were intrigued by this area because of its historical meaning and because of the lighthouses.


Our first stop was the Wright Brothers National Memorial, located in Kill Devil Hills, NC. Wilbur and Orville Wright tested their aircraft on this land from 1900 to 1903 and eventually had their first successful flight on December 17, 1903. At that time, the nearest town was Kitty Hawk, four miles to the north; Kill Devil Hills was not established until 1953.

The Wright Brothers chose this location because of its steady wind. When we visited in January 2013, the conditions were also windy and cold – a very authentic experience.
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The Wright Brothers Memorial Tower is 60 feet tall and sits atop the Kill Devil Hill, which is 90 feet tall. The Wright Brothers used the hill to perform many of their glider tests, including their most famous in December 1903. The dome on the top is marine beacon, like those seen in lighthouses.
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The inscription on the monument reads: “In commemoration of the conquest of the air by the brothers Wilbur and Orville Wright. Conceived by genius, achieved by dauntless resolution and unconquerable faith.” Another angle of the Memorial Tower is pictured below.

When we arrived, we were just in time for a Flight Room Talk given by the Park Rangers. We learned about how the Wright brothers developed their planes and saw a demonstration of how the plane for their first flight worked. It was very exciting.

After the talk, the dogs joined us (Dogs are permitted on the grounds if they are on a leash, but not in the buildings). We walked around in the cold, blustery wind. In the distance you can see the Kill Devil Hill and Memorial Tower.
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At the base of Kill Devil Hill there is a bronze sculpture garden that depicts Orville Wright on his first flight.
Orville Wright Statue at Kill Devil Hills
Once we were done investigating the Memorial, we decided to drive further along the Outer Banks and down to Cape Hatteras. We arrived at the Bodie Island Light Station, but it was closed for the season. It was still quite an impressive sight.
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We continued our trek along the ocean and it was slightly erie. There was no one around because it was freezing cold. It was peaceful, yet slightly spooky.
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Eventually, we arrived at the Cape Hatteras Light Station. This lighthouse was also closed, but we did get the chance to see it lit since we arrived at sunset. In 1999, the Cape Hatteras lighthouse and surrounding buildings were moved 2900 feet inland to protect it from destruction.
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When the buildings were placed in their new locations, they kept the same elevation and spatial relationships that they had when they were originally built.
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We hope you enjoyed this dispatch from the Outer Banks! Happy Thursday!

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Happy 100th Birthday National Park Service + Another “Woof Trekking” Excerpt

Happy 100th Birthday National Park Service + Another “Woof Trekking” Excerpt

posted in: On the Road, Travel, Woof Trekking | 0 | This post may contain referral links. See privacy policy for more.

Today marks 100 years since the National Park Service was established. On August 25, 1916, the National Park Service Organic Act was passed and signed into law by President Woodrow Wilson. As of right now, there are 59 National Parks, you can see the full list here.

National Parks Centennial Featured Image

The following is an adaptation from our book Woof Trekking: How to Road Trip with Your Pets.

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We love going on adventures to National Parks and exploring the amazing sights. They are spectacular locations to take in nature and most allow dogs in at least some areas of the parks. Some say that National Parks are not very dog friendly, however, we have always felt welcome, even if we didn’t get to explore the whole park. You can visit the National Park Service website before your trip to determine where your dog is allowed to visit. In all cases, dogs are required to be on a leash.

Sequoia and Yosemite National Parks

We have visited two National Parks in California, Sequoia National Park and Yosemite National Park. We visited both during one Woof Trek since their location is quite off the beaten track. We mostly drove around Sequoia National Park to see the towering sequoias. Dogs are not allowed on the trails but are allowed on leashes in the camping areas.

Sequoia National Park
General Sherman

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Yosemite National Park is much more dog friendly. The park has lots of paved trails and dogs are welcome on these paths. We enjoyed exploring both of these Parks in the cool mountain air.

Yosemite Falls
Yosemite Falls
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The Pika is arguably the cutest rodent in the world and is a resident of Yosemite.

Zion National Park

Zion National Park is located in southwestern Utah and is one of five National Parks in Utah. It is a bit of a drive off the interstate, but totally worth it. This National Park is unique because most of scenic views of the Park can only be visited by shuttle bus. Since we Woof Trek with our dogs, we didn’t go on the shuttle.

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We did take a driving tour of a portion of the Park through the amazingly colorful canyons. One of the coolest parts of the drive in Zion National Park is when you go through the Zion-Mount Carmel Tunnel. This tunnel has cutouts where you take a quick peek out into the canyons as you drive through. Dogs are only allowed on one trail at Zion, called the Pa’rus trail.

Grand Canyon and Horseshoe Bend

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Izzy enjoying the South Rim of the Grand Canyon after a cloudburst.

We have visited the Grand Canyon, both the South and North Rims, with our dogs. They loved exploring the trails as much as we did. Lots of people from all over the world visit the Grand Canyon; we were surprised by how many different languages we could hear. Then again, it is one of the Seven Wonders of the Natural World.

If you make the journey to the Grand Canyon, you may also want to visit Horseshoe Bend while you are there. Horseshoe Bend is a large curve in the Colorado River that is about 5 miles from the Glen Canyon Dam and about 140 miles from the South Rim. It is a breathtaking view and we highly recommend it.

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Nana the Brave enjoying the view of Horseshoe Bend.

There are no Park Rangers or facilities (restrooms, water, etc.) at Horseshoe Bend. Dogs are welcome on the trail on a leash. It is a bit of a hike, up and down a hill, which takes about 45 minutes round-trip. Once you get to the Bend, you can look straight down into the canyon. The view is excellent, but there is no guardrail or any sort of protection from falling. This location is not for the faint of heart nor the weak of stomach; skip it if you are afraid of heights.

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Tucson Festival of Books 2016: First Look

Tucson Festival of Books 2016: First Look

posted in: Entertainment, Nonfiction, Our Work, Photography | 1 | This post may contain referral links. See privacy policy for more.

Last Saturday at this time, I was packing up to take another trip to the University of Arizona. 2016 was my fifth year attending the Tucson Festival of Books.

Check out my posts from TFOB 2015 here and here.

This week, I will be blogging about the panels I attended this year and sharing photographs from the sessions. Today, I am giving you a first look.

Here is Sunny the Saguaro, the Saguaro National Park mascot, giving a high-five outside the National Parks Tent.

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We spotted local meterologist, Erin Christiansen, at the KGUN 9 tent.

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The next few images are from the Science Stage. Here is the Speckled Rattlesnake from the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum.

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View my previous Desert Museum post about Big Horn Sheep here.

A Great Horned Owl named Lute from the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum.

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A North American Porcupine named Rue from the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum.

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A Mexican Military Macaw from the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum.

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Panelists from “Understanding our Nearest Neighbors in the Solar System” at the Science Stage.

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A rock sample of Azurite and Malachite at the University of Arizona Mineral Museum located on the lower level of the Flandrau Science Center.

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Diana Gabaldon at the panel: “Diana Gabaldon and Outlander.”

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I hope these photos of TFOB 2016 whetted your appetite for more posts! I’ll be back soon.

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