Sunday, August 22, 2010

Update!

    I'm writing this on a Thursday night to give all of my faithful readers something to occupy them while I'm off adventuring for the next week. I leave Saturday to take a trip up to Black Iron Days in Grayling, MI , come visit me! Then for the next four days I will be traveling the state with only one other solid destination. My friend and I plan to revisit our ending destination for our spring-break backpacking trip in order to purchase a set of Magic The Gathering playing cards and bum around on the beach of Lake Huron for a day. I've never played the card game, but it looks neat. So here's to new adventures; CHEERS! Since I doubt you all want to read about what I plan to do, I'll save my words for later and write a few posts about the adventures that I experience after I get home. I hope you all have adventure planned for the weekend!

Seek Adventure,
Casey

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Adventure By Bicycle

    While this is definitely a small scale adventure, it works for me on a regular basis. Since I don't always have the time or motivation to get out and do a new adventure, I've found an old standby (one of many) that often works. This activity will always either satisfy my need for an adventure, or create new cravings, thoughts, or ideas. It's often good to help calm the mind and soul and just relax a little bit. Okay, so quite a long-winded buildup for this simple activity. A simple bicycle ride through the new subdivision across from my house in the country, the roads here wind lazily through happy new homes with active families just moving in around lake front property. I find the atmosphere somewhat enjoyable though also sometimes revolting when my mind wanders to the idea of urban sprawl and what the land here would've once looked like. Back on topic though! This next step is the most important. Just riding one's bike often isn't enough to stir the adventurous spirit, it is entirely necessary to listen to some of your favorite songs or bands while doing this as the music will help be a catalyst for the creation of ideas and the calming of the mind. Try riding your bicycle at a lazy pace down quiet streets while listening to inspiring music next time you're bored. I bet the adventure bug will bite!

Seek Adventure,
Casey.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Adventure

    Such a simple title, yes. I wasn't going to write tonight but I got out of the shower and began thinking of how to inspire myself to adventure. Then my mind fell back to the movie I watched this weekend: Into the Wild. If not for the beautiful inspiring photography, and the adventurous theme, then perhaps for the counter-culture, anarchist thinking this movie inspires it struck a chord with me. And I well expected it would, as I read the book some years ago and the book also took my heart.
    I've always found the subliminal mindset alluring, and Chris McCandless has become a bit of a figurehead to me. Yes, he was reckless and he's not the perfect golden statue of a counterculture revolution. However he certainly left behind a message as Alexander Supertramp, of honesty to self and man, of seeing the world around you, of being the real human. I find this beautiful in its own way, beautiful that, even though reckless, he left behind everything and sought the real adventure in life.
    I find that always my heart beats in time with these people, with these ideas, with these images. I can't help but see myself next to that teal bus on the Stampede Trail. I want to do what Chris did, I want to find a real existence in the solitude of nature. And while some people call him just another dumb youth seeking the meaning of life... I would've liked to be right there next to him. Right or wrong, reckless or not, I know that Chris and myself share more of the adventurer's spirit than most people even begin to understand. Yet the end humbles the spirit, one of the last things Chris ever wrote before starving to death alone in the wild.

"Happiness is only real when share." Scribbled into the margins of a book by the hand of a man humbled in the face of death, enlightened with the thoughts only experienced in the last hours of life. I doubt this world will ever see more beautiful words than those written by the hands of dying men.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Air of Adventure

    Summer time is beginning to end. I don't need a clock, a calendar, or a weatherman to tell me this. I can feel it in the wind, see it in woods, and smell it in the air. The night time temperatures are plummeting low enough for me to be excited to open my windows at night and, while this is most likely a temporary weather pattern, it is also the harbinger of autumn. Enjoy this change of weather, appreciate it, spend time in the wilderness with it and learn to love the Air of Autumn.
    Autumn is my personal favorite season. The mosquitoes are at a low, the woods is a pleasant cool temperature just right for a thin long sleeve camo. That's right, Squirrel Season begins on September 15th here in Michigan. You can bet that I will be heading into the woods with my loaded .17 HMR (or maybe the old 10/22). If shooting lead isn't your thing, then by all means use the changing of the seasons to shoot pictures. Fall is also primo time for backpacking, as the temperatures, bugs, and atmosphere are generally aligned so as to make a most impressive experience in the woods. This would also be a good time for me to bust out my (unfortunately) little used Kayak and go find an adventure on the water.
    I look forward to a road trip adventure into the northern Lower Peninsula this weekend and beginning of the upcoming week. Expect to hear advice and ideas generated from my adventure that I think will pertain to all of you out there. Most importantly, don't keep putting off that adventure. If you're looking to go and find an action experience in the woods, on the road, or just in the back yard now is the time to do it. Don't keep putting it off because a good adventure will give you a lift of spirit that just can't be matched any other way. Take the time now to seek adventure in the fall.

Casey.

Other People's Funny Survivorman Spoofs

I'm not going to embed them all but here are links. They're not all clean, but they are all pretty funny.

Guy Plays Survivorman (Murder Plot)
Guy Plays Survivorman on Campus
Survivorman Vs Bear Grylls
Just Another Video
Younger Kids... Not Very Good

Monday, August 16, 2010

Spooferman Best Fire Starting Video Contest Entry

This is my submission for the 2010 Best Fire Starting video contest at Spooferman. Please watch and rate.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Beyond Survival: Les Stroud

    Friday, August 27th 2010 at 10pm marks the premier of Les Stroud's new Discovery channel TV series: Beyond Survival. Yes, you can bet I will be canceling all of my plans to catch the premier. Apparently this show has been created around the idea that the indigenous peoples of different cultures around the world are the last true masters of survival. I suppose this is most likely true, or at least pretty close to the truth. As long as they can show me how to survive better than Bear Grylls, I'll be satisfied.
    Hints of his new show have been leaking out since the end of Survivorman Season: 3 which, by the way, was his best season of all. It truly makes me sad that we won't be seeing any more Survivorman. Although imperfect, that show was engaging and educational. The first real survival show out there, and I respect Les all the more that he pioneered it into the mainstream. I have mixed feelings about watching the indigenous peoples and their cultures and rituals as Les has made it clear that the culture of these societies will be featured on the show. While I maintain a healthy respect for native culture, it's never been something that interests me to learn about on film. Hopefully the new show will preserve all the best of Survivorman and roll it into a new package. We will all find out in two weeks.
    Keep in touch with Les, yes I have a man-crush on Les more than most people. However, his stuff is quality and engaging. Here are a couple links:

Les's Video Blog
Les Stroud's Official Site
Dress up like Les
Spooferman: Pretending to be Les

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Making an Adventure

    I often find myself imagining or writing adventures from a fictional point of view. Because, let's face it, ridiculous amounts of either guns, swords, or magic always makes for a more engaging and exciting adventure than what happens to me on a daily basis. In order to let one's self drift away to that secret place where wizards cast spells, heroes battle with swords, and somehow someone incorporated guns (Final Fantasy, anyone?) it is necessary to have one's mind in the proper mood. Here is my list of top ten things to help get the figurative fictional adventure party started. In no particular order, or combined, any of the following will suffice.

  1. Visit a renaissance fair. (Visiting in costume with friends works best, take money to buy cool stuff.)
  2. Take the smell of that renaissance fair (Dragon's Blood incense) home with you and let it permeate the setting in which you will be doing the dreaming of adventures.
  3. Take a walk in the woods with your buddies, discussing exactly how cool you are for being there.
  4. Write with a dip, or fountain, pen by oil lamp light. A friend of mine also finds it satisfying to write letters with an antique typewriter, and seal the envelopes with wax. One may wish to try this.
  5. Dress in dark navy blue and gray with a bunch of friends and pretend that sneaking around in the dark actually has a purpose. Worthy purposes might be, but are not limited to: Eliminating a nazi cell, holding off a Russian invasion force, executing a pretend bank job, or perhaps stalking the neighbor's dog and scaring it with firecrackers.
  6. Make something particularly dangerous, I.E. a cannon.
  7. Watch a sunset or sunrise, preferably from an breathtaking view, however watching from one's porch if often a way to inspire an appreciation for the adventures that can be had close to home.
  8. Take a poorly planned road trip with a bunch of friends.
  9. Watch The Lord of the Rings, The Matrix, or The Last Samurai.
  10. Go into a town you don't (or think you do) know very well. Then spend some time trying to find cool shops and attractions that you've never noticed before. Particularly with the goal of finding an establishment which either sells good food, or good gear. Antiques districts often work exceptionally well to suit both purposes.
    Now you are armed with my top ten list of things that will help get the mind in an adventurous mood. Of course there are many other such activities, many of which I plan to post about later. For now:

Seek Adventure,
Casey.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Finding Adventure Out Your Back Door

    There really are two sides to adventure now-a-days. One is finding adventure through climbing a mountain, buying a new pair of snowshoes for Alaska, or even flying to Patagonia on an expedition. The other flavor of adventure you might run across, the one I prefer, is found in taking a bike ride while listening to your favorite band in the setting sun, or hanging with your best friends playing "kick the flaming ball".
    "What's the difference?" you ask. Well let me tell you, one type of adventure is surrounded by corporate America, consumerism. You might not notice, but even putting on those running shoes, loading up the Camelbak, and taking your cardio run is filled with corporate webs. You might find your self equating adventure to several misleading terms such as:

  1. Expedition
  2. Travel
  3. Gear
  4. Rock Climbing
  5. Backpacking
The list truly goes on. Even Wikipedia has it wrong, listing skydiving and mountain climbing among "adventures".

Adventure - Wikipedia
"An adventure is an activity that is perceived to involve risk, danger or exciting experiences."


   WRONG! Adventure doesn't have to be risky, life-threatening, or even very remarkable. Adventure is a note on everyone's heartstrings, and only the individual can tell when the note is true. Adventure is a mindset, an ideal, it's something entirely irreplaceable.


    While all of these are adventures, they are always temporary and never satisfy the life of a true adventurer. Let me tell you about a pair of true adventurers: Calvin and Hobbes. These two silly comic book characters are true heroes of the adventure world but most of us are too caught up in the corporate industries that suck us in to believing adventure is about gear, and technology to see what's right in front of us. (I stand fully accused)
    Calvin and Hobbes show us (if you've ever looked through the comic) that adventure means only a few things. Having an imagination, a free spirit, a good buddy, and a little free time before supper. Just because we're all grown up now does not mean that all the adventure has evaporated from our backyards, or the small woodlot we used to frequent. Adventure is not at the top of Kilimanjaro, no let's leave that for the ambitious ones with too much money and a drive most of us will never understand.
    Let's grab a stick-rifle, put an old rusty pot on our heads, and run around the old junkyard playing war with our buddies. Because, in the end, it's about the times we had with the people we love and letting your spirit free to find adventure in every nook and cranny will leave you wanting for nothing. Suddenly the gear on the cover of Mountain Gear's new catalog won't really matter all that much. But that stick in the woodlot sure feels good shooting fake bullets, doesn't it.
   If we can't even find the adventure in our every day lives, what makes us think trips, gear, and expeditions will help? They will only serve to fill the gaps but it's a false sense of fulfillment if we can't keep it with us every day. So, take step out your back door and find that adventure.

A beginning and a disturbance.

I know this is not on the same lines as Kc's primitive firearms post, but i thought it was worth saying.
Over the past few days i have asked some friends what they liked more, a sunset or a sunrise. not surprisingly the most common reply was sunset. when asked why they would say something along the lines of "I don't like wakeing up early." understandable i think, but no reason to miss something as beautiful as a sunrise. for that reason i woke up at 6:15 this morning to watch the day start with the rising sun. a desision i did not regret.
sitting on the back porch in my bath robe with a cup of coffee watching the sunrise was something, i realized, that i have had the chance to do just about every day of my life, but failed to really do until now. of course i had seen a sunrise before, i have seen a sun rise in the mountains of North Carolina surrounded by some of my best friends. i have seen it rise over a lake with a friend i have made just recently. i have seen in float above the cars in the parking lot at Meijer, over the trees while camping in a forest. but there was a classic feeling this morning, a feeling that could have only been more complete if i had been wearing pink bunny slippers (something i unfortunately don't own).
as tiered as i was i sat there and watched the gray turn to blue, to pink, to orange, to red, then to the blinding gold of the sun its self. there, in the morning's presence i felt like i did not belong. as much as i wanted to walk towards the horizon and be part of the scenery, i would not fit in. no matter how i acted, no matter how i was dressed, i would never be a part of that beautiful sight, just an observer. something i must accept, i realized, as i rose to walk back inside for a second cup of joe and breakfast.
i had seen the beginning of the day, the birth of the sun. now if i could only live through the day and watch the sun go back down. then i could retire a content man, a happy man, a fulfilled man.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Scatter Gun



Since this file was too large for Blogger, I uploaded to YouTube and linked here. Hope you all enjoy!

Comments.

Comments have now been enabled for this blog since there is enough visitors to actually participate in commenting now, hopefully. To get the ball rolling, and to let me know you've visted, leave a comment on your favorite post, or more than one post, and your name so I know you were here! Also, please leave me a comment on this post and suggest topics of adventure you would like to see posted and any ideas you might have.

Thanks,
Casey.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

The Blundershot

video

Neal and I experiment with a copper pipe version of a primitive firearm dubbed The Blundershot. This was my inspiration to experiment with the glass marble cannon.

Cannon Test #3

video
Half inch glass marble VS 2"x12" lumber.

Cannon Test #2

video

This time we packed a box 3/4 full of cardboard sheets, and then put a brick behind it all to hold it down.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Always Use Without Propper Adult Supervision.

video

This is the first post in a series of videos testing a homemade "cannon". The cannon is made of galvanized steel, 1/2 inch I.D. the end of the tube is rolled over like one might roll up a tube of toothpaste. A small hole is drilled near the end for a bit of cannon fuse to be inserted. A little gunpowder, measured by the seat of our pants, is added then packed in with a piece of paper wadding. This is followed by a 1/2" glass marble, then aimed at a point blank target. Light fuse and get away.

To Accompany the Frieght Hopping Post

The Modern Occupation of Freight Hopping

    Let me introduce to you freight hopping, a once common and necessary method of travel used by those who life had left far behind. Now days freight hopping is highly illegal, and possibly more dangerous than ever before. I stumbled across this method of adventurous transportation several months ago. You say, "everybody knows you can hop a train". Yes, this is true, however, what I mean to say is that I recently discovered that freight hopping is alive and well as a method of "hobo" travel. Hobo in the sense I am using refers to people who choose to live a destitute life of travel.
    I discovered Wes Modes' "How to Hop a Frieght Train" and began reading up. It's funny because the more I read about it, the more my mind was itching to go and jump on a train and ride it across America. (Yes, I know most trains don't go all the way across the nation, but I am a hopeless romantic). I will save you some conusion and clarify a couple of frieght hopping terms.
  • Bulls - Railroad Police.
  • Catching Out - The act of getting on the train.
    If you bother to read through Wes's article, you will discover that apparently most railroad employees, with the exception of the Bulls, are willing to help out travelers (hobos). There are stories of many people traveling across the country by freight hopping, and Wes is only one of them. My Wilderness Survival instructor and recent Wild Edibles instructor introduced me to his old friend by the name of Bo Keely. In short this man, Bo, has spent the vast majority of his life traveling the world and creating adventure where there is none. He now guides "executive adventures", offering big shot CEO's (for the right price) the chance to get a real thrill and travel the rails, even chancing illegal border crossings into Mexico. Apparently the border police only shoot at people coming north.
    There is alot more content on the web about frieght hopping, and both Wes and Bo's websites offer alot of good information. Bo has a list of stories of his adventures, so go read up if you'd like. It's always grand to read about adventure on the web, but sometimes it might just be better to go grab that back rail of a frieght car, and hang on for the ride. Learn by the seat of your pants, get your hands dirty kind of thing.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Day 1: The Trailhead (Or Lack Thereof)

    We planned well, I must say. It's that instinct before the trip to overplan, and overpack. I swear I've yet to go on a trip that I haven't grossly overpacked for. We had a full 5 days and, depending on the weather, anywhere from 40-80 miles of trail to hike. Being March the sixth, in the northern half of lower Michigan, snow was a variability of weather we were trying to plan for. I decided to call the McDonalds in Oscoda and ask the person who picked up how much snow was on the ground. The phone rang twice and a lifeless voice told me I was talking to McDonalds and asked "How can I help you?". I asked them how much snow was on the ground, they replied without missing a beat that there were spots of snow but 90% was melted off. I thanked them and curtly ended the phone call. I told my friend that snow would not be a problem for us, since there was little on the ground and then extended forecast showed 40º and sunny all week.
Co. Hwy 602, Shore to Shore Trail intersection.
    We planned to drop off in a town called McKinley. Why McKinley? Because it was the closest distinguishable habitation to an intersection of Forest Service roads and the S2S trail. Luckily there was a landmark in town which the GPS had programmed in. Our GPS drove us straight to the Scenic Riverwood Bar, on the corner of McKinley Rd and Co. Hwy 602. The Scenic Riverwood Bar was actually the remains of a stick frame building encased in sheets of corrugated steel since the owner must have been too lazy to maintain the preexisting structure.  Turning on to Hwy 602 immediately dropped us onto a dirt road and a quarter mile later we found the trail. Blue diamond blazes on either side of the road and a respectfully well maintained wide trail to accompany the blazes.
    There is an approximately equal chance that the McDonalds' employee was so unobservant that they failed to notice the snow around them, or that I failed to take into account the fact that black asphalt parking lots like those found at McDonalds tend to melt snow much faster than shaded forest trails. Regardless, there was a significant ammount of snow left on the trails when we arrived. The weather, however, held out to be even better than we had dared to hope for. It was brilliantly warm! Alright, it was probably only 40º all week but it was the first spring weather break and we were backpacking, it was spring time, and the weather seemed perfect.
    The first day we alloted plenty of margin for error since we had read all the horror stories about working into backpacking. How it takes a few weeks to get used to putting in long days with the pack, and how people often are overconfident in their abilities to hike. So we decided to shoot for eight miles the first days out, and if we got more done (which we were sure we would), then the rest of the trip would be easier for it.
    Let me tell you, snow is a real bitch on a horse trail. You see the number of horses that travel the trail each year GREATLY outweighs the number of backpackers, and thus the footing for most of the trail is in the form of a well worn, six inch wide, hoof groove. A cross section of the trail would appropriately be reminiscent of a V shape. Put two inches of wet, melting, slushy snow on muddy V shaped trails and you have a virtual recipe for backpacking disaster. Every step we took would skew our ankles and force the inside of the foot to slide down into the sloppy, muddy groove. This was painful, slow going, and demoralizing.
Overlooking the AuSable 4:22pm, 3/7/2010
    We started optimistically, ate a mid afternoon snack on an overlook of the AuSable river, and enjoyed the scenery. Until about five o'clock that is. That's when the rush of starting out on the trip began to abate and our senses became quite keen on the fact that the trails were not treating our feet well. The snow began to get thicker as we entered thick cedar stands where little sunlight was able to penetrate. The temperature began to quickly plunge and my friend's boots, which had become wet, froze into blocks. We cursed the snow, and complained about our pains. It was about then that I relaized I had left my Columbia fleece in the car. What is it they say? Misery loves company?
    The sun was setting quickly on us, so we chose a clearing and dropped our packs. The tent, owned by my friend, was set up by him. I gathered old White Cedar branches, obviously dead and drying for years, for a fire. The oily cedar wood took a flame perfectly, without even any kindling (using toothpick sized sticks). We layered up with our insulation, and I realized that it was going to be a cold night without my fleece. I did, however, bring my Mountain Hardware down vest which saved my hide (literally). We made dinner of a single packet of quick pasta dinner, some naturally refidgerated cheesewheels, a quarter of a large sausage, and whatever else we had rationed out.
Camp, night one. Frozen boots clearly visible.
    Crawling into our bags we conversed back and forth about whether or not we would be able to endure the trail. First day optimism overcame the aches and pains and we decided we were well on our way to Oscoda. This idea would change quickly with the first painful steps of morning. Sleep overtook us and the night passed quickly.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Shore-to-Shore Trail

Oscoda, MI. The shores of Lake Huron.
    The Shore-to-Shore trail is a Michigan multi-use trail. It is mostly maintained by the Michigan Trail Riders Association and travels more than 220 miles East-West. Starting in Empire, on the west (Lake Michigan) and cutting through Grayling on its way to the Huron National Forest. There it travels the length of the Ausable River, one of Michigan's largest and most pristine rivers ending in the beautiful, little known town, of Oscoda. The MTRA maps are rather lacking in accuracy and quality, but they're the only production maps of the trail unfortunately. I believe they cost me $10 by mail order from the MTRA.
   Having been ditched by my girlfriend at the time, I was looking for other plans to occupy my spring break of Freshman year. I nagged a buddy into going with me over 50 miles of the S2S trail (that's all we had time for). It took us 3.5 days to do the trip, which was significantly shorter than we had anticipated, but that's a long story. Fortunately it's a story I plan to tell as I will be blogging a post for each sequential day in our journey complete with pictures to fill in the blanks. :)

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Bringing Back the Classics

Climbing the Courthouse
    This evening, I spent a lazy hour strolling around downtown with a friend. I climbed up to the second story of the county seat/courthouse, risking the smalltown billies. We got some ice cream and sat on the steps of the closed post office as the county fair traffic rolled past. I had no desire to visit the polluted, alcohol-smelling, over populated cage of humanity (the fair) so watching the traffic sufficed to fill my head with dreams. I like to imagine that sitting on the post office steps is a move right out of the 50's. There's a spirit of adventure that died with the classic America, a kind of spirit we can now only experience vicariously through the cast of Happy Days. There's certainly nothing wrong with trying to get some of that greased hair and leather jacket style back, though. And no, I don't mean literally buying a leather jacket and greasing your hair.
    It's all about the mood, the feel, the moment. Finding adventure is what happens in real life that inspire the kind of scenes movie directors die for. Think of some impressionable movie scenes, or your favorite TV show. Those are what I'm shooting for here. No, you're not a poser for living from movie scenes. There's an adventure tied into the local baseball diamond for all of us (The Sandlot). Don't tell me you didn't go practice with a wodden Samurai sword (bokken) on a hill in the setting sun after watching The Last Samurai. There's certainly something about walking train tracks that livens up the restless spirit in all of us (Stand By Me). Besides, who doesn't connect to the vibe in That 70's Show, or Happy Days. While we're kicking it old-school why not kick around a Breakfest Club referance? All of these, and countless more, inspire the adventure that comes with just shootin' the breeze in every day life. And there's a romantic ideal hiding somewhere behind eating ice cream on the steps of the abandoned post office as the last rays of the setting sun bathe you in warmth.

Punk Rafting

    I can take no credit for the originality of these ideas. While perusing Wes Modes' adventure website (one of the few I've been able to find) I stumbled across the idea of "Punk Rafting". Basically it goes like this: a group of friends takes a rickety old pick up truck to a river destination of their choice. They arrive, scout out a landing, and spend a few days gathering junk that will, when put together, float them down the river. They then assemble a raft and Huckleberry Fin their way down the river.
    Sounds like one hell of an idea to me! So two of my friends and I will set out this fall to attempt our own Punk Rafting adventure!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Everyone Needs a Good Pocket Knife

    I have my suspicions that my trusty pocket knife of two years was stolen from me. That's right, stolen from my pants pocket while I was swimming. What kind of low-life would steal something as precious as another man's pocket knife? That tool was invaluable to me for two years. The knife, a Gerber Armor, serviced me through Red River Gorge in KY, the Blue Mountains in NC, a summer as a Nature Camp councilor, and countless close to home and Norther Michigan trips. It was my primary blade I carried into the woods for my three day survival test. It cut and prepared for me countless wild edible plants, and cleaned it's fair share of dead squirrels. I must admit... the loss has been hard for me. I own more knives than I can count, and have blades coming out my ears in my workshop. I'm even an amateur blacksmith and have dabbled with knife making. I think it's safe to say I've been around a block or two when it comes to being familiar with blades.
    This knife, however, ingrained in me brand loyalty to Gerber knives. Brand loyalty is something I advise to avoid and try my best to avoid myself. The Gerber Armor just cut the cake for me though (pun!). It's a beefy beauty, the handle is made out of resin saturated fabric, pressure fused together. It had a nice, thick blade, solid locking mechanism, and rough texture to keep a solid grip. So when it came up missing my first instinct was to buy another one, even though it's not part of their 2010 lineup of production knives plenty of stores still carry the Armor stock. However my travels took me to the local Dick's Sporting Goods Store, where I reluctantly perused the glass panes for new models of Gerber knives. I tried the Paraframe I, just not my style, too small of a handle, didn't feel right. A few more went through my hands until I spotted the Evo.
    Several years back, when I bought my Armor my friend picked up the Evo Jr. I really liked the knife but it's a tiny little tool and poorly suited to the stresses of a woodsman's daily abuses. The Evo, however, is the "full-size" version of the Evo Jr. (get it?). It had the features I was looking for, the big handle that won't slip. The conventional locking mechanism that snaps into place behind the blade when you fold it out (thumb operated inside the handle). As well as a feature I had grown to love on my Armor; a knob that assists in the opening of the blade. Fast opening of a woods knife is not necessary (this would be useful for a "fighting knife"), but I still grew fond of the feature and perhaps the simple familiarity of the feature drew me in to this knife. My old trusty Armor also managed to hold a true edge for several months without needing a sharpening (granted I was using the knife well and not on anything that would dull it). The Evo lacks the style of the tanto tip that originally attracted me to the Gerber Armor, however the Evo does have a slightly longer useful cutting edge. After careful consideration I decided the tanto tip had never served me any real benefits so I picked up the Evo.
     I should clarify that I never even consider a knife with a serrated edge for purchase. All of my knives I own or consider owning are fine edged knives (lacking serrations). The reason this is so is that the serrations simply hinder my use of the blade. Serrations make it nearly impossible to get a nice, smooth shave on a piece of wood. Serrations also effectively cut your working surface on the blade in half. I have seen people use serrations for cutting through animal bones and the like. So sure it that's your thing then more power to you. However I implore you to try putting that animal bone on a hard surface, lay the blade of your knife across it, and drive the knife through the bone with the palm of your hand. It works better, cleaner, and easier for me every time. Sure this won't work for large game bones, but what are you doing trying to cut through big game bones with a knife? Don't they make saws and hatchets for things like that? Each tool has one job to do, a knife is a knife and a saw is a saw. Serrations belong on a saw.
    Take a look through Gerber's website. They have some pretty innovative tools on there. They are also much more reasonably priced than, say, Leatherman or ColdSteel. Gerber is my favorite brand at this time, however things change. I'm not saying no other company makes quality things. I am saying, however, that in general Gerber produces consistently better quality for a more reasonable price than the competition.

Adventure Today

Let's start off slow and simple. My name is Casey and, just like you, I'm living my life. However I believe I have something unique to offer: ideas. If there's one thing that has always driven me it is certainly hope; hope of a better tomorrow, of chasing the sunset, of finding freedom and the meaning of life. Yes, all vainly romantic ideals. However, I find that it's increasingly difficult to make it through the days, with college now and the 9-5 of working at a summer camp. This isn't how I was meant to live; this isn't how humans were meant to live.
    Our ancestors spent the vast majority of their days outrunning carnivorous quadrupeds with razor sharp claws, and searching for clans with whom they could "barter" for fire. (Entire families of primitive peoples would make their prosperity by being "fire keepers" in the days before fire was something man could make at a whim). Although this is, perhaps, not the best course of life for all of us as it certainly brings a great risk of death, and disease and of course the possibility of being ripped apart by ravenous beasts, it certainly has a few essential things modern life lacks.
    First and foremost, adventure. There is nothing adventurous about waking up, brushing your teeth, driving your car to a square building full of square cubicles, punching in and out, coming home to cook dinner, and then repeating. Some people might find adventure in driving their cars, perhaps you have a particularly fast sports car. First off you're most likely a stuck up hypocritical executive who is overpaid and underworked, but I digress. What I meant to say was that even today's views of an adventure (fast cars) are really not all that adventurous. Purchasing vehicles is a staple of consumerism, and a focus on a material life (I stand accused, I love my motorcycle!) but alas it is ingrained in us with the society in which we all exist to be consumers.
    A real adventure is something more, something life changing, something that makes your heart beat out of time with society and in time with the world around you. I am talking adventure on the extreme scale, a lifestyle of adventure. Quit that day job, invest all of your money in "green" technologies, build a home off-the-grid, gather your own food, learn how to build a stone mill to grind your own flour. Or maybe you're more of the traveling adventurer. Try to live off of websites like Couchsurfing, or Workaway. See how long you can make it for in China with $5,000.
    I know a guy who moved to China from Holland when he was 18. "I landed with $500 and it got me through two months in China," he would tell me, quite proudly. He moved there because he wanted to study Kung-Fu. That's right he followed his adventure to China at age 18 never having been there before. He now speaks fluent Mandarin that most natives would be jealous of and is married to a Chinese woman from a Hill Tribe. Oh yeah, he teaches Kung-Fu in the states, it pays well. ;)