Thursday, January 26, 2012

Bushcraft USA Review

This is a first for the Ranger's Adventures Project, a web site review.  I found this site a while back called Bushcraft USA and and have enjoyed the information that is available. The members of the forum are generally friendly and open to other forms of outdoor adventure.  They even have a class called Bush Class USA that is taught by actual bushcraft teachers from across the country and around the web.  I am currently taking the class and am about halfway though the basic portion. 

If you don't know about bushcraft, it is a style of outdoorsmanship that focuses on minimum gear, maximum knowledge.  Practitioners learn skills and build the majority of their gear in the field.  Hardcore bushcrafters, bushcraftmen? People that do bushcraft that are more into it even carve their own dishes and silverware.  Many will take the minimum amount of food, and hunt, trap and gather a good amount of their food in the wild.  Basically it is voluntary wilderness survival, but definitely an adventure.   If this peaks your interest, swing by

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Memories of My Grandfather

I got a call today that I have been expecting for a while, but wasn't looking forward to.  I learned that my Grandfather, Lee M. 'Ranger' had passed away.  Looking back at the memories that I had of him, I thought I'd share some of them, as well as have them recorded for my own children one day.  Thinking about the times that we had together, I can certainly say that we had adventures, and I believe that I learned much of my adventure spirit from him. 

One of my earliest memories of him is going fishing with him and my father when I was just a little guy when we journeyed to Utah for a visit.  Latter, I remember him taking my father and I with him and my great grandfather to the same lake.  In retrospect, I wish I knew what an opportunity that was as a boy, to be able to enjoy four generations of my family together, doing something that we enjoyed together.  He always took care of his garden and put away food into storage, filling a basement room with jars of food.  He put away extra fish and deer meat from the hunt into freezer storage.  I believe that I learned my preparedness mentality from his example.

He worked hard, and was one of the strongest people I know.  As I grew, I had the opportunity to work beside him as my family built our house, and latter as we worked on an addition to his.  I gained a lot of work skills from him, and I am not sure I thanked him properly.

One of my favorite memories of him was how he was one tough SOB.  On a country drive, my cousin and I were with him, he saw the train tracks ahead and instead of slowing down, he floored it.  The car caught air and I hit my head on the roof of the car.  Nice moxie for a gent in his 60's at the time.  While working on his house, we were taking a break and turned on the TV to end up watching a WWII movie.  Some Japanese officers were drinking Sake, he leaned back in his chair and said, "Ahh, Sake, good stuff."   I asked him, "You're not speaking from experience, are you?" in a lighthearted tone.  He replyed, "Shut up."

He could cuss like a sailor, and I knew every colorful word in the book by the time I was 10, mostly thanks to him.  My younger brother has always been a clean living kind of guy, and was shocked when he heard my grandpa cuss when a driver cut us off on the freeway.  In response to my brothers shocked expression, he looked at me in the passenger seat, "Dammit 'Ranger', why didn't you tell your brother I swear?" 

I know that my grandfather is in a better place and that I will see him again, because families on earth can be together forever.  Despite my grandfathers colorful language, he is a good man, and God needs colorful people.  He was too ornery to go willingly, so he needed to be put under for a surgery and have things happen the way they did. 

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Shooting with Friends and Wife

Last Saturday I had the chance to go shooting on the west side of Utah Lake with some of my friends and my wonderful wife, the Hobbit.  After setting up the shoot while enjoying some wings earlier in the week, we headed out Saturday afternoon to enjoy some high powered firearms action.  My wife has been interested in learning how to shoot the rifle that we have, so I brought her along.  We had a wonderful time, despite some other shooters who were not being safe in their gun handling.  Toward the end of our time as the weather turned cold, the unsafe shooters, lets call them morons, were approached by a BLM ranger and ID-ed.  He was joined by many local county sheriff deputies.  Many of the shooters there, along with ourselves were glad to see them busted.  It was a great experience to work with the Hobbit, teaching her to shoot my little .22 caliber rifle.  It also was entertaining the see her try to shoot a 12 Gauge pump action shotgun and a .45 handgun.  One of my friends, Blackhawk, let me shoot his 12 gauge that was loaded with a Magnum Slug, and it gave me a dead arm and left me with a stiff shoulder for the rest of the day.  I will include pictures when I get them uploaded.  Keep having adventures.

Monday, January 9, 2012

New Job, New Adventure

My posting lately has been thrown off because I started a new job, which has lead to many adventures.  I am one of the night clerks at a local gas station convenience store, and it has certainly been an adventure of a different sort.  Because it is winter, and I am awake mostly at night, my outdoor adventures have been few and far between.  I have plenty of adventures in my duties at night, cleaning the gas station, dealing with people who want to buy beer when it is not legal, others who want to buy cigarettes without ID.  Things really get fun when stoned or drunk people come in and change things up.  I will be working to get out more, as a bit of a gut is forming on me. (If you ask the Hobbit, it was always there)  More adventures will be held shortly as I get out more.  Stay tuned.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Kelty Redtail 1600 Daypack Review

This is the review that has been years in the making.  I bought my rugged and reliable Kelty Redtail Daypack because I needed a hydration capable daypack for a summer camp that I worked at in 2005.  The same year I left on a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and I took my trusty bag with me.  That bag went from Ft. Lauderdale to the Florida Keys, and all over Miami with me.  It survived rain, sun, sweat and all sorts of conditions, including some great mountain biking. (Yes, it does exist in Florida).  Coming back to my wonderful mountains, it went with me for three more summers of Boy Scout Camp, a year as my school bag, mountain biking in Utah and Colorado, and is still my go to daypack for local day hikes.  Many of my adventures, it has been there with me.

It has a decent sternum strap that does the job without any bells and whistles, and just enough pockets to hold what you need.  It is hydration capable and has two water bottle pockets that are handy for your bottle or any sort of quick stash of small parts.  Two straps on the side aid in compressing the pack to a nice small size when needed, or for lashing a jacket, or other things, to the outside of your pack.  A handy daisy chain is sturdy sewn on, as are two lash points on the bottom.  I havn't had a problem with the stitching anywhere on the pack.

After almost eight years of use, you can expect some wear and tear in a pack, and my pack is showing some, but is still good to go.  One of the shoulder straps was beginning to frey, but a quick hit with a lighter fixed that.  The elastic on the water bottle pockets gave up the ghost about two years ago, but are still very sturdy, just stuff won't stay in them.

Overall, I love this tough little pack and recommend it to anyone needing a good daypack for school, work, a get home bag for your car or any sort of adventure needs.

Pictures to follow.