Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Hang em High

Ya know the rig is broken in when you start putting screws in the ceiling ;)

Got a few more to go...let me tell it's like a sauna in there, almost ready to fire the A/C up. So far I like the concept, beats fishing rods (and hooks) all over the trailer. Rod, I mean road testing them in T-Minus 2.5 days...gear report *(I mean review, duuh ;) to follow.

Hope you're staying cool....or warm if you're like Mark and in a "Kool" part of the country.

* 9pm update...yea that's a bobber..."pros" with kids use bobbers at times ;)

Friday, August 27, 2010

Scratch and Sniff

I'm going to be blowing the dust off my game cameras...my kids can't wait...because they'll be in on a lot of the scout and set up. It's a lot of fun, you just never know what may end up on the camera card. Do your homework and get a little lucky...it could be something pretty cool.

To kick this series off:

I hiked this camera out to a spot I found the weekend before. I had been using rubber gloves when setting up the cameras but forgot to put a new pair in my pack that morning. I keep a box in my truck, but decided not to hike back out for them. The trail was ice covered the day of the set, it was January of 08, and making two trips in those conditions wasn't going to happen in one day.

Momma Bear smelled my scent on the camera, the camera itself (sound/scent), or both...they ain't no fools...I was happy she didn't tear up the camera when I saw this video:

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Hit'n the Trail

We put in some time (a solid Hr and 45 min of movement) on the trail yesterday...felt great...some pretty good climbs that have no doubt helped me "Burn Blubber" and helped my kids build their soccer legs and lungs. Add in a good dose of fresh air, temps that help the sweat flow without too much heat, and it made for a really nice family afternoon (my wife was there, but she avoids the camera).

Leaves on the ground, and a lot of them for August 21st:

Go'n Up:

Some kool stone ruins:


Admiring the construction:

It's very hard to see because it was a hazy day...but that is the NYC skyline way in the distance (click the pic to enlarge it, and squint a little :)

Go'n Down:

A week and a half left of Summer vacation, and we're trying hard to make the most of it. The bright side to the end of Summer is that Fall is coming, and that has always been our time to shine when it comes to fishing and camping. In fact we have a trip to the sand planned for Labor Day weekend...any luck there will be some pics of fish along with the tales from the beach after that trip :)

Thanks for reading, and here's to You... raising my coffee


Friday, August 20, 2010

"Pinty's Pretty Perch"

My four year old caught her first perch this week. Not a monster by any stretch, but firsts are firsts and the event needs to be on record here :)

The proud fishergirl:

One last look before the release:

She's been into the Bluegills, some nice ones too as can be seen here...but perch have evaded her until this past Wednesday afternoon.

We got into a passing school, and then there were the sunnies hanging about so she caught a bunch more fish in addition to the little guy above...out fishing my son and oldest by three to one....again. Man that really burns my son's butt, LOL.

At times I almost can't believe how much they all love fishing. I have extended family that I don't see very often...they aren't the least interested in fishing...imo, their kids are missing out.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Cleansing the Spirit...

I love doing a lot of different things in the outdoors, but there is really something special about huffing and puffing along a trail for a couple hours...I really feel revived after my lungs have been worked over with some fresh air...and no doubt it's good for my kids to be out there, in many ways.

A few pics from one of our recent hikes at a long time favorite place of mine:

My Team:

Drink Break:

"Kids...When Dad was a kid these hikes were uphill both ways":

I love views that open up like this when pull'n a hill:


I'm not tired Son (heavy breathing), just stopping for another pic:

Some folks think this is a Spiritual place...I think some of them are correct:

Yep, I still have a spare tire...but rep by rep, meal by meal, I'm dig'n my way outta the post injury hole...and turning the bad stuff I gained back into the good stuff:

Pretty kool isn't it?

Until next time...thanks for stopping by..."Peace Out" :)

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Way of The...Anaconda

This is the first installment of my review of the Tops Anaconda. This is also my first formal gear review for this blog. Though in all honesty at this point in my life (45), like a lot of us I've "tested" enough gear to supply a small army, both on the job as a police officer, and in the field for recreational use.

One of the first official acts of my Anaconda was helping provide food for my family:

The take down...

Cleaning the beast...

Mission Status: Accomplished

Stats on this knife:

Blade Length: 9 1/2"
O/A Length: 15 1/4"
Cutting Edge: 9"
Thickness: 1/4"
Weight: 26 oz
Blade Color: Black Traction Coating
Blade Steel: 1095 High Carbon Alloy RC-58
Tanto Point Design
Handle Material: Black Linen Micarta®
Sheath: Combat Ballistic Nylon
Designed by Ron Hood
Handcrafted in the USA

First impressions:

A few words come immediately to mind regarding the Tops Anaconda...Serious, Reliable, and Deadly.

If kept within reach and used properly this knife is a stout defender of personal safety (think predator attack, wildlife and/or psychopath), no doubt in my mind. The knife is very comfortable in my hands, feels well balanced, and the grip is solid, even when soaking wet.


*At 1/4 inch thick and full tang (real full, not a puny strip of steel through a cheap handle) this knife speaks and means business

*Custom type feel and construction

*Can be lashed as one hell of a spear point on a heavy duty staff (I'm not saying this is the ideal use for the knife, but it is an option if you're in some deep doody and a spear will gain ya some distance on the wildlife at hand)

*Virtually indestructible

*Designed by Ron Hood (This fella knows his stuff. I have a vast collection of survival books and DVDs. Part of that collection consists of about 30 DVDs done by Ron and his wife Karen. I'm familiar with their work, and it is First Class)

*Handcrafted in The United States of America

*Sheath has a pocket for a mini survival kit and/or sharpener. That is big because if you put your knife down while using it and leave it behind (hey it can happen, don't roll your eyes...remember that word karma) while not thinking straight (survival situation) you will still have your mini kit

*Sheath designed to be lashed to your thigh if desired


*It is an attention getter, but I have a plan to help conceal it while still keeping it "On Location."

Trade offs:

*Weight - For some this will be a turn off, but when on the Special Operations Unit I carried pounds and pounds of gear for hours and hours at a time when on call out, and during training. This was for a reason, the right gear is worth it's weight in gold and can save your life, so don't whine about a few extra ounces ;)

*Price - Trust me with three kids to feed it took some deep thinking before I pulled the trigger on this knife. That is also why I decided to make this my first gear review. It is a rather pricey purchase and there isn't a ton of info out there from everyday folks like us regarding this exact knife. Like the saying goes, you get what you pay for, and in complete honesty this knife is worth the price tag

Bottom line:

This ain't your typical MommazBoy's hollow handle "Survival Knife." The Tops Anaconda is the real deal when it comes to survival. But...like any knife it can't do it all easily. So I also carry a quality neck knife for detail work. Saying that, if I had to choose between the two, the Anaconda wouldn't be left behind.

I am in Love. Not since I carried a H&K P7M8 have I enjoyed holding such a fine hunk of steel...and yes, in complete honesty I have slept with this knife at my side on multiple occasions. I have a feeling that this is going to be a long term relationship :)

This will be a multi-part and serious examination of the Anaconda's performance in the field...but I wanted to start things off on the lighter side, while giving you my honest first impressions of the knife. Future entries will be linked to this one.

Related Links:

Tops Knives home page

Link directly to the knife in this review

Link directly to the model with a Hunters Point

Link directly to the model with a 7.5 inch blade

I hope you enjoyed this entry while learning a little about the Tops Anaconda.


None. I have no affliation with Tops Knives. This item was bought and paid for by me, with American dollars.

*Got Gear for me to Review?


Friday, August 13, 2010

Bass River State Forest, as written by my 8 year-old son :)

"Our Weekend at Bass River State Forest, August 7th and 8th 2010"

There was a lot of traffic on the way down, it took us over four hours to get there. When we went to bed it was very hot and sticky inside the camper. My Mom was in the top bed with us kids, Taylor kicked her in the face with her dirty, sweaty, stinky foot. Sunday we went swimming, and then we roasted hot dogs over the campfire. We then roasted marshmallows and made smores. We drove home in the night time, it was a really great camping trip!!!!!!!!

Pics to go with D's story:

Monday, August 9, 2010

The future is looking great for my boys in the outdoors...by Ben Gustafson

Sometimes I get frustrated because I can’t do as much fishing and hunting as I have done in the past. With two young boys I really don’t have much time for any outdoor activity other than my late night walks with the dog and mowing the lawn.

Now not a day goes by when I don’t think about teaching my boys about the outdoors. I know I have a few years until they are old enough to understand and participate. However I am constantly running plans through my head on how to introduce them to the outdoors. My wife and I even talk about it at least once a week. We have both come to the conclusion that introducing my boys to fishing first is by far the best option.

I often look back to my own childhood for inspiration on how to show my boys the ropes when it comes to fishing. I have two uncles that helped mentor me along the way and I learned a lot from them. So my scenario plays out like this.

I think preparing for our first fishing outing will be almost as exciting as going out and catching the fish. I will need to purchase rods for the boy’s or should I say Santa will get them at Christmas time. This way they will have the rest of the winter to practice casting. (My uncle always had a rod set up with a block of wood tied to the line. I spent hours casting it down the steps).

A few weeks before hand I’ll take them to the local bait shop and I’ll get them each a few new jig’s. Then the morning of our big fishing adventure we will be stopping by the bait shop again for some night crawlers and wax worms. I can’t forget the candy bar for each of the boys. Shh we won’t tell mom about this one.

Being that I don’t have a boat I picture Wyatt, Nolan, and myself either going to a county park and fishing off of a dock, or maybe going to one of the old spots and trying our luck. Of course we will be fishing for Pan fish and hopefully we can get into a good mess of them. I for some reason don’t really see myself with a rod, but I won’t be able to resist bringing it a long just encase.

After baiting their hooks and showing them where to cast, the boys will be in the middle of the first of our many great fishing adventures. I really don’t care if we catch a single fish, but I’m hoping, for the boys’ sake we catch a whole heap of them.

I’m guessing won’t be fishing much more than an hour or until they get bored, and want to leave. I won’t really care though because it will have been the best fishing trip I have and will ever take in my life.

I hope you all enjoyed my daydreaming !

The Ben G Boys...Cute Kids Ben!!

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Thanks very much for being my first guest blogger Ben. I love the entry, and from one Dad to another I'm honored to have it posted here. Dennis