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Category: Hiking and Camping

Hiking and Camping

My Childhood Playground

When I was a kid growing up in Bridge City, Texas, my buddies and I would hang out in a section of woods that borders a marsh. We would build trails through the woods, tree houses, go camping, just do what kids did.

As my buddies and I got older, we stopped hanging out in the woods and started socializing more. After we stopped maintaining the trails, they were slowly reclaimed by nature. Within just a few years the trails were almost impassible.

Two decades later, Hurricane Rita pushed through the area and uprooted a lot of the old oak trees.

While visiting with my mom and dad for Thanksgiving, I took a camera and headed off into the old trails. Continue Reading….

Patrol Pack First Impressions

Patrol Pack

Overall, I found the patrol pack to be a well rounded and perfect addition to my backpack collection.

Call me old fashioned, if I like something, then I hang onto it. For the longest time ,one of my go-to packs for day hikes and even warm weather overnight trips was a Jansport black book bag. That pack was retired when I migrated to a Maxpedition.

For several years my go-to pack was a Maxpedition Condor II. The Condor II is a great pack that is perfect for day long excursions.

As with everything else, after using the Condor II for several years, I decided it was time to try something new. So where did I go to find a new pack? I went to Ebay and looked through various military surplus packs. Continue Reading….

ThruNite C2 Mini 3400 Charger Review

If there is one thing Thrunite does, they manufacturer a quality product. So far I have reviewed four Thrunite flashlights and all of them are top notch. Thrunite continues their reputation for quality with the ThruNite C2 mini-charger.

Full Disclosure: I received the charger at no cost to myself. This will not influence my opinion and hopefully will not influence your opinion either.

Continue Reading….

Dangers of hot weather hiking

On a hiking trip a couple of weeks ago I experienced some of the first signs of heat exhaustion, which were dry skin, rapid heartbeat, fatigue and muscle cramps. This was the same trip where I found the abandoned hunting camp. I knew that I was getting too hot, daytime highs were near 100 degrees in the shade. My heart was beating so hard I could hear the beats.  While walking up a hill my leg muscles started to cramp; I knew I was in trouble. There just happened to be a small tree that provided a nice shady spot. The backpack was dropped, I laid down, took my bandana off and laid it over my shirtless chest. My cell phone just happened to have Continue Reading….

Drawback to Remote Primitive Camping Sites

One of the major drawbacks to remote primitive camping sites, you never know what idiot you are going to end up next to.

November 24, 2012 a buddy of mine and I headed out to the Angelina river close to Jasper Texas to do some camping. These are primitive camping sites that are only available by boat.

We arrived at the camping site, set the tents up, then head out to the river to do some fishing. Just before the juglines were set out, I got a call on my phone saying my son-in-law and his hunting buddies caught a hog in the river bottom. The dogs had chased the hog a long way from the boat, and they needed some help. But that is another story.

After helping my son-in-law and his hunting party pack the hog back to the boat, my buddy and I headed back to our camping site.

By the time we got back to the camping site we only had about one hour of light left. We broke out the camp stoves, cooked a quick meal of Mountain House freeze dried foods, then started the camp fire.
Continue Reading….

My Drinking Problem

Middle age sucks. I can look back over my teenage years, my 20, 30s and now I am halfway through my 40s. In January of 2013 I will turn 45 years old.

Besides going into welding, my other major regret is when I started drinking.

Unlike a lot of people I did not drink in my teenage years. I tried a beer when I was around 15 or 16 years old, and the taste was disagreeable.

When I was around 23 years old I went by a corner store in Bridge City Texas, picked up a couple of bottles of Boone’s Farm wine, then went home to have a drink.

Why did I buy a bottle of Boone’s Farm wine? I do not know. Maybe I was bored and looking for something to do?

What I do know, drinking is one of the worst mistakes I have ever made. Drinking has had a negative affect on my health, its not cheap, and its addictive.

At this point in my life I am probably somewhere about 30 – 40 pounds overweight. Lets say I drink 3 or 4 beers, at 100 – 150 calories each, you are talking an easy 300 – 500 extra calories a day. Then when you start adding mixed drinks, the calories really pile on.

When I started drinking around the time I was 23 years old, that is the same time I started having issues with my weight. I put on weight easier then I did before I started drinking.

I wonder how much money I have spent on beer, wine and whiskey over the past 22 – 23 years. I wish I would have never spent a single penny on booze. That money would have been better spent on my kids, or a vacation for the family.

There are so much better things to spend money on besides alcohol. For the price of a 12 pack, I could buy 2 boxes of American Eagle 223 Remington, or 2 boxes of Tula 7.62×39, and have some change left over.

Every time I buy something to drink, I am taking money away from my family and from my prepping resources. And I am ashamed because of that.

Why don’t I just stop drinking? Because I like it too much.

Lets be honest, I have a problem with drinking. I can go a month without having a drink, but when I do drink, I drink until the last drop is gone.

Admitting that there is the problem is the first step to recovery.

This post is my first step to being alcohol free. Continue Reading….

Keeping a wild boar hog in a pen

Its post SHTF, you and your family need something to eat, so the yall head out to a local river. The dogs are let loose, a few minutes later the dogs corner up a 200 pound boar hog.

The boar hog is loaded in the boat and brought back home.

A pen is hastily assembled out of whatever materials you can find.

The boar hog is put in the hen, and the leg ties taken off. Since the pen is made out of fence, the boar hog rams the fence, breaks the wire loose, then the hog runs off.

Sounds unlikely? Well, that is what happened when my son-in-law boought a boar hog home.

In this case the dogs were waiting outside the pen in case the hog got out.

Keep in mind this is not a friendly domesticated hog, this is a wild boar hog that will use its tusk to tear flesh off the bone. Continue Reading….

Random Thoughts November 16 2012

Time for another random thoughts post.

The Amazing Spider-man

Bought The Amazing Spider-man for the grandkids to watch. The grandkids are between the ages of 3 and 5 and were not interested in Spider-man. But they can watch The Avengers all day long.

Why did Sony have to go back to Spider-man having an artificial web?

I thought The Amazing Spider-man was a rather bland. I like how they got away from the Green Goblin and introduced The Lizard. The original Spider-man movies seem to stuck on the Green Goblin.

Wages Today

A few days ago I was thinking about how much money I was making in the welding shops. In 1987 the top pay of the welding shop I was working at was $11.13 an hour. Minimum wage was $3.35 an hour.

11.13 divided by 3.35 = 3.3223.

In other words, top pay in the welding shop was 3.3223 times minimum wage in 1987.

In 2004 I checked back at that same welding shop, top pay was only around $14 an hour, which was less then 3X minimum wage at the time of $5.15. In other words, wages have not kept up with inflation or minimum wage.

In 1990 I made around $35,000 with overtime. I thought that was pretty good for 22 years old. Minimum wage in 1990 was $3.80 an hour. Other words, I made 9,210 times minimum wage in a single year. But then again, I worked a lot of overtime to reach that $35,000 dollar mark.

To keep up with the standard of living I had in 1990, I would have to be making $66,772 a year. Take my word for it, I make a lot less then $66,772 a year.

How much money are you making today as compared to minimum wage? Have your wages kept up with inflation and minimum wage?

For those of you over 40 years old, how much where you making 20 years ago as compared to today? Continue Reading….

Victorinox Swiss Army Climber II Pocket Knife

I have been carrying a Victorinox Swiss Army knife on and off for close to 20 years. What can you say about a quality product that preforms just as it should? Besides my Gerber multi-tool, my Swiss Army knife is my go-to knife for hiking, camping or backpacking.

Two of these Swiss Army Climber II knives were purchased – 1 for my 14 year old daughter and 1 for my 16 year old son. We go camping, hiking, fishing, backpacking and hunting, and I wanted my kids to have a reliable pocket knife to take with them.

During the spring and summer we go out on the river fishing and camping, during the winter we are hunting. Regardless of what we were doing, or where we were at, I wanted my kids to have a reliable knife that they could use.

The knife had to be compact, good quality and from a reputable brand name. The Climber II fits that bill perfectly. Its small enough to fit in a pants pocket, and the blades are long enough for everyday use.

The Climber II is just what you might expect from Victorinox, you get a quality product and at a price that will not break the bank.

Do you own a Victorinox Swiss Army knife? If so, what do you think about it?

Would you recommend a Victorinox to your friends and family?
Continue Reading….

We Are a Nation Divided

The shooting in Aurora Colorado and the following anti-gun feeding frenzy, has made it clear we are a divided nation. We are not only divided on gun ownership, we are also divided racially, demographically, financially, and through ideology.

When the blacks were freed, instead of treating them as people with rights, the whites continued to look for ways to oppress blacks. Even though slavery was abolished in the 1860s, their rights were not affirmed until the 1960s with the civil rights movement.

“Why” were we, and still are, divided on race? Why cant we as humans and as Americans put racial tensions aside and just get along?

Then we have the illegal immigrant population.

Then we have groups who refuse to incorporate into society, such as the amish and ultra-orthodox jews.

Then we have the inner city gangs, poverty and drug users.

What would someone from inner city New York know about a coyote raiding a farmers chicken coop in a rural area?

We are divided demographically, financially, racially, and through ideology Continue Reading….

98.6 Degrees: The Art of Keeping Your Ass Alive

Cody Lundin, director of the Aboriginal Living Skills School in Prescott, Arizona, shares his own brand of wilderness wisdom in this highly anticipated new book on commonsense, modern survival skills for the backcountry, the backyard, or the highway. This is the ultimate book on how to stay alive-based on the principal of keeping the body’s core temperature at a lively 98.6 degrees.

In his entertaining and informative style, Cody stresses that a human can live without food for weeks and without water for about three days or so. But if the body’s core temperature dips much below or above the 98.6 degree mark, a person can literally die within hours. It is a concept that many don’t take seriously or even consider, but knowing what to do to maintain a safe core temperature when lost in a blizzard or in the desert could save your life. Lundin delivers the message with wit, rebellious humor, and plenty of backcountry expertise.

Publication Date: June 23, 2003

Product Details

Paperback: 240 pages
Publisher: Gibbs Smith; Reprint edition (June 23, 2003)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1586852345
ISBN-13: 978-1586852344
Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 9 inches

Continue Reading….

Loadout for river camping trip

As the river trip inches closer, its time to start thinking about the loadout I want to bring. There are going to be 4 people spread out over 2 boats. Due to the distance we are traveling, over 10 miles, weight is going to be a factor. The heavier the boats are loaded down, the worse the gas mileage.

This is going to be a warm weather trip, so the heavy sleeping bag can be left at home. There will be no need for coats, gloves, cold weather head gear, cold weather boots,,, nothing like that.

For this river camping trip I am going to try to keep the gear down to a minimum. Not a “bare” minimum, just not carry a lot of excess gear. Continue Reading….

Maxpedition Condor-II Backpack

Product Features Dramatically improved second generation of our military-style daypack Y-shaped top compression strap and 4 lateral compression straps Upper front pocket approx. 9 x 5.5 x 2 Lower front pocket approx. 9 x 8 x 2 with pen organizer Breathable ergonomic shoulder straps From my review at Amazon As with all Maxpedition packs, the Condor II offers top notch quality, expandability and quality workmanship. The pack is a top loader, so you can cram in your gear until its full, stomp on the top, then cram some more. The bottom of the pack has lash points so you can attach a bed roll or sleeping bag. I used a couple of nylon straps and attached a 32 degree sleeping bag to the bottom. The Continue Reading….

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