Go Take a Hike!

Spring has reared its flower crowned head here in Michigan and we Michiganders are crawling out from our dens and wiping the sleep of hibernation from our eyes. Sunday was beautiful and I was determined not to waste it indoors. I called up my favorite gal pal, geared up and headed out.

A short while later and we were at the Nature Center at Stoney Creek Metro Park. Now, those of you that live in SE Lower Michigan know that we have some of the best state and county run parks around and Stoney Creek is no exception to this. After an obligatory walk-through of the nature center we headed out onto the trails. We took the habitat trail that has plenty of ups and downs and skirts along many vernal ponds where the wood frogs were meeting up for their springtime frolics.

Right at the start we ran into this guy, a run of the mill garter/gardner/racer (whatever you want to call it) snake. He was a pretty good size and crossed the path with what looked like more than a few frogs in his belly! 

We continued on down from the center and to the creek bank. The trail for the most part was dry with a few spots a little more water than mud. We began to move away from the creek and more into the surrounding woods climbing a good size rise. About mid way up the trail to the right was a little sign informing us to be aware of Michigans only poisonuos snake, the Massasauga Rattler. Now I’ve been stomping around the woods a long time, been to plenty of woodland lakes and ponds and I have only seen one of these creatures. Aggresive, feisty and endangered, for better or worse they are making a comeback in our state. 

The rise lead to a drop and took us right up alongside a beautiful pond. It was alive with frogs and the air electric with their calls! The weeds and grasses provided shelter for them and was broken here and there by fallen trees. What a great view.

Moving down the trail, we circled the pond and the cacaphony continued, the frogs obivious to the loss of their human audiance. The terrain got a little rougher here with more ups and downs, rocks and other debris. We came to another pond just as lively as the first. Standing at its side and resting on my walking stick I could feel the life energy all around me…from the frogs in the water, the rodents and reptiles hunting the froggs and the almost perceptable pulsations of the trees as sap rose up their trunks and out to their branches nourishing the naked limbs that provided a canopy to the goings on below. It felt as if God was standing there, next to me, shooting a sideways glance my way and saying “pretty neat huh?”

Spring is also a great time to glimps the world of fungus! The forest takes care of itself in so many ways. Fallen trees are broken down into soil by insects and fungus and those effected logs are then further processed down by the critters going after said insects, ripping the rotting wood apart!

Life is abundant in the park and makes it self known in many ways…But sometimes you need to know where to look! There is a healthy deer population and there presence was evident by munched on mushrooms on trees and their prints in the soft dirt of the trail.We avoided slopping through the muddy spots so as not to ruin and prints or tracks. Just wish the other hikers would have done the same. On the edge of a clearing with a good porus treeline on three sides we spotted this!

Fox? Coyote? Don’t know, but it was still neat to see! We kept moving and came out on this breath taking view!

I stood there just waiting for a deer to walk out into the open! More hills and dips and we decended into an old riverbed. We were nearing the end of the trail which was a good thing because we were hungry!

Discussing our meal otions it was decided we would consult google for suggestions instead of fishing and foraging! It was that conslutation that lead us to the Washington Grill! Great food, great service and a wonderful atmosphere! 

I opted for the “Porker” burger without a bun, its a 1/2lb angus patty topped with pulled pork, bbq sauce, bacon and cheese!! Delicious!!

Stoney Creek Metro Park is located at 26Mile Rd just west of Mound Rd. Day and annual passes are available. The Washington Grill is located on VanDyke Ave. just south of 30Mile Rd, on the east side. This was a day well spent and I cant wait to go back later this spring when the tress are leafed out!

For more information or to plan your trip, click the links below



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Getting Back to Nature at Rustic Rafters!

clip_image002Nestled away in the wilds of Northern Michigan is a pure jewel of a campground, Rustic Rafters!

With 5 cabins a whole mess of camp sights, pavilion and some of the nicest showers I’ve ever used while camping, Rustic Rafters gives you an excellent base camp for whatever adventures you are embarking on.

Just north of the campgrounds on the main road is a huge atv trailhead. To the east is Houghton Lake, a touristy town replete with gift shops, hotels and restaurants.

Going west you’ll run into the little town of Lake City, the seat of Missaukee County. Built around Lake Missaukee, or Muskrat Lake as it used to be known is my preferred location for resupply. Foster’s market…the burgers in the meat dept. are to die for!!

And if your looking for fishing, your in the center of the action with several popular fishing lakes a short drive from camp.

clip_image004The camp sites are well spaced with plenty of green between you and your neighbor and each one has a fire ring, picnic table, water and electrical hook ups.





The showers are divine! Not only are they clean, but the interior decoration is nothing short of awesome and captures the feel of being “up north”! The camp ground is really family friendly with two play areas and plenty of open land to run around. By the pavilion are horse shoe pits for a casual game or a family tournament! Did I forget to mention the volley ball net? Don’t forget your bikes! The road that runs inside the property is great for kids to ride on and it makes a nice after dinner stroll for mom and dad!


clip_image008If you’re looking for wildlife, look no further. Deer routinely meander through the camp sites and can be found in the surrounding fields at dusk. If your lucky enough, you might catch a glimpse of a bear or track of a cougar on the back roads and two tracks where the more adventurous go!

clip_image010As the evening moves into night the howling of the coyotes, the crackling of the fire and the star filed sky make a perfect end to a day of exploring or site seeing!

Ray and Marjean are your hosts and their dog, Worthless, is the campground mascot! Ray regularly drives the property when he’s not building new cabins to check on his campers to see if they need anything. Oh! be sure to have dog treats for Worthless!

Click here for more information and to make your reservations!

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Go-n-Heavy with Ruger and CRKT…..


Here it is, July and already the camping season is in full swing. In fact, I’m writing this review from the road! I’m camping at my home away from home, Rustic Rafters. It’s an awesome private campground nestled way off the beaten path in Northern Michigan, AKA – God’s Country! Beautiful showers, water and electric hookups and more atv trails than you can shake a stick at. In fact, you can’t twirl a dead cat around here without smacking someone on a quad or side by side!

Now I have a plethora of gear that I somehow manage to squeeze into my pack…Flashlight, xtra boots, tent, clothes, food, backup flashlight….you get the idea…but the one thing I have found that I can’t camp or live without is a solid folding knife. Notice how I said folding and not pocket? You’ll understand why in a second…

It seems that Ruger and CRKT have joined forces and collaborated on a series of knives! I know, right?! Now, you would think that a pair of heavy hitters coming together on a project such as this would result in some fantastic knives…Well your right, it sure does!

Allow me to introduce the Go-n-Heavy! Sporting all the function and quality that CRKT is known for and the cutting edge designs of Ruger, the Go-n-Heavy is one awesome a knife!

The Basics…

clip_image004The construction is more than solid and when holding the knife it has the feel of a good quality tool. The handle is made of anodized aluminum and is milled & drilled to allow water and debris to pass right through while providing a secure grip under a variety of conditions.

Pressing the thumb stud through it’s arc of motion deploys a five inch stone washed drop point blade with the ever coveted Veff Serrations.(Yes, you read that right! Five inch blade!!) The lockup is tight with the liner lock engaging at the end of the blade’s travel and once out and locked, the blade and handle feel as one. Just one more thing on opening the Go-n-Heavy… it’s SMOOTH BABY! It’s so smooth it opens with a whisper!clip_image006

I love the fact that its so big that pocket carry is impractical! So much so, that Ruger has included a fantastic belt case for it that can be worn vertically or horizontally. Made from cordura, padded and secured with a hook loop flap, it really makes for a nice package.

The fit and finish is nothing short of impressive and really shows quality and attention to detail. Styling is unique and is rather progressive for a folding knife. I like the lines and finish of the blade. It has an aggressive look to it that screams “Let’s go cut something! “

That’s great, but how’s it work?

IT SLICES!! IT DICES!! IT MAKES JULIENNE FRIES!! Well, not that last part but it is a crazy useful knife. When it comes to some jobs, don’t be fooled, size does matter! From falling small trees to meal prep this knife does it all. You can use the Go-n-Heavy to drop saplings to make a fish trap and after catching fish in said trap this baby makes short work of cleaning them and prepping your other sides and ingredients.

Mmm! Fresh fish!! There’s nothing quite like a meal of fish that you’ve caught. The sense at accomplishment you feel is better than winning any game of candy crush or dice with buddies! Sorry, there I go, off topic!

Okay, so you’ve used your Go-n-Heavy in the bush, whipped up some open fire culinary delights and are completely enamored with the knife but lament the fact that it’s too large for EDC and when your weekend is over she’s going back in your pack till your next trip… Well lucky for you it comes in a more pocket friendly size!

It’s little brother, the Go-n-Heavy Compact looks and opens identical to the larger version but is scaled down to fit your pocket with a three and a half inch drop point blade in the same stone washed finish with Veff Serrations!

Don’t let it’s size fool you, the Compact is just as rugged as the big guy. The no slip grip keeps the knife in your hand while giving you precise control for fine work such as making fish hooks, snare and deadfall trap components and removing slivers!


As with the full size, the majority of jobs tackled were a breeze and the not so little – little knife took all that was thrown at it and functioned flawlessly! In fact, it has been my EDC pocket knife for several weeks now and I couldn’t imagine exploring the urban wilderness without it! It opens quick, is sharp and very capable of any task or challenge you may face!Click here for more information or to get yours!

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Poseidon had his Trident and I have mine!


Right away I knew the Trident by SOG was going to be a winner. I opened the package with all the care and reverence of a child on Christmas Day! The plastic packaging fell to the floor. I’m sure it made a sound but didn’t hear it. I was transfixed on the beautiful combination of premium steel and polymer now nestled in my hand.


It was truly nestled. The shape of the handle, the feel of the textured grips, all a good match to me and how I hold knife. I released the safety and gently nudged the thumb stud….POW! The blade leapt from the handle exposing itself to the world in all its shimmery stainless steel glory!

This is one sharp knife! No pun intended…it has a hefty pocket clip situated next to, but not blocking the line cutting notch. The clip is solid with little to no play and keep the Trident firmly seated in your pocket.


The line cutter is a nice touch. I’ve used it a lot while fishing. Not having to open the knife to trim a bit of monofilament is really convenient.

The blade is rugged and razor sharp right out of the box and it’s held its edge nicely. I’ve been using it as my EDC for several months now and only once or twice have I had to touch up the edge.


The nonslip grip is comfortable and secure even when wet not to mention stylish! This knife was a design well thought out and executed. The extended grooving of the backstrap provides excellent control of the blade when doing fine work such as fileting fish!! That’s where I learned to appreciate the nonslip features!!

The fit and finish is spot on and everything I’ve come to expect from SOG. The quality and craftsmanship that went into the Trident guarantee many years of solid use.

This knife is an excellent choice for EDC and will not let you down!

Click here for more information and to get yours!

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Snug as a Bug!

Here I sit, outside in below zero temps writing this article. Am I crazy? Well, that depends on who you ask, but I can tell you that I’m warm and comfortable thanks to my new heated jacket! You read that right, a heated jacket!!


The parka,  made by My Core Control, utilizes a breakthrough idea in warming technology. Instead of wires running throughout the garment and sucking huge amounts of power, the jacket has two heating elements strategically placed over the wrists. Why there? Well that’s where your blood vessels are closest to the surface of your skin. This allows the elements to warm your blood which is then pumped throughout your body by your heart warming not just your core, both but your extremities too! 

This thing really works! It has three settings…high…medium….low…and is very effective at keeping the wearer warm. How do I know? Well we just came out of a cold snap here in SE Michigan and this coat kept me nice and cozy! Taking the kiddos sledding was a breeze. The jacket stayed warm for the hours we were out there. This would work great on the ice for fishing, in a tree stand for hunting and on a snow machine or atv running trails. Of course, my thoughts drifted to survival…..In my opinion this jacket is a must have for anyone doing outdoor low temp jobs or adventures. Quite literally, this jacket could save your life!


On the everyday side of it, taking and getting the kids to and from school was a pleasant experience even down to 23degF and I expect it could go lower. Wearing only jeans and a t-shirt, the electronics worked as promised and kept me warm and toasty.


I love being outdoors year round and this coat really makes it possible. Our windchills were in the negative double digits and this parka didn’t yield. The soft and quiet shell kept the wind at bay while the more than adequate fleece lining and insulation thightly held onto the heat from my body and that generated by the warmers. The construction and attention to detail is spot on though chest pockets would be nice. But their absence is predicated by the need for battery placement and the user interface. Which leads into how the jacket operates….

The wearer is presented with a ingenuous single button control….one push for high, another for medium and a third for low…all indicated by a steady, blinking or slow blinking LED. To turn the system off all that is needed is to press and hold the button till it blinks and dims. It’s that easy!! Good job on that one guys!!!

Charging is a snap, unzip the right front zipper… Pull out the plug….plug it in! That’s it. The power button blinks green until a full charged state is reached and then it’s solid. The whole process takes about 6 hrs to reach full charge.

I really like this jacket and suggest you run out and get yours!

Click here for more information information…. http://mycorecontrol.com/

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Have your cake and eat it too!!!


logoWhats black and green and feels like it would be at home on an M4 in the hot zone? Why Laser Lyte’s newest addition to its already impressive product line. Never one to rest on their laurels, Laser Lyte has taken their original Center Mass laser and did the unthinkable…they made it better! Its now known as the Center Mass DL!!

If you’ve been around black guns for any amount of time you have become a custom to seeing various iteration’s of sighting lasers mounted on theDSC_2117 fore ends in various configurations. Some good, some bad and most just mediocre.  What they are all lacking are options…Options are every where and on almost everything. Just walk into a McDonalds and you’ll see what I mean! But not when it comes to lasers. The only options available have been black or tan casing with a red or green light, until now.

The Center Mass laser was not only a great idea on paper but in the real world too. The projected rings show where your buck shot is going to hit and the expected spread when used with a shotgun and the rings also help in the tracking of moving targets on both rifle and shotgun platforms. It worked well and was a really cool idea and I liked it. But….


Sometimes you feel like a nut….

DSC_2120There’s always room for improvement and the gang at Laser Lyte hit this one out of the park with one littleDSC_2201 adaptation. The ring is great for targeting but sometimes a dot would be better. Kinda like that old candy bar ad…sometimes you feel like a nut and sometimes you don’t!! To address this issue and make one of the most versatile lasers on the market the Center Mass DL went outside the box with an external ring diffuser lens on a though rubber strap allowing you to project the “Ring of Death” or just one bright green dot! Why yes, you can have your cake and eat it too!!! When not in use the lens assembly resides on the post seen at left and is easy to move to and from the beam aperture. Nice job guys!!  

The unit operates very easy. Hold the switch down and the laser shoots out till you take off the pressure, two presses in quick order and the laser stays on. How easy is that? Did I mention it uses a remote tape switch too?

Zeroing is a piece of cake with the windage and elevation screws adequately protected, yet easy to get to. Little turn here and a little turn there and your good to go. Round DSC_2200after round the laser kept me on target and provided excellent feedback as to where my shots were going to impact every time.

The little unit is rugged and the glass filled nylon case has a beautiful fit and finish and really emphasizes the less is more concept in design. The whole thing took as much abuse as I could dish and kept coming back for more. The recoil from my SKS had no effect on it and the laser maintained its zero. The same could be said for the shotgun.

If you’re a CQB professional looking for an adaptable system to go between platforms or just the average Joe looking to defend his home, you wouldn’t go wrong with this laser. Its rugged, reliable and easy to use and certainly makes a great addition to my home defense rifle.

As with all Laser Lyte products this one is American made! To get yours or for more information, click here!


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Give Me Liberty or Give Me….

ammoAs far as I’m concerned when it comes to ammo there are only two varieties…Target practice and social work! Up until now I have been using JSP’s as my carry ammo. They fed well, shot well and exhibited some properties that make them a viable option for carry. That was until I found Liberty Ammunition’s Civil Defense ammo.

These are some crazy cool rounds! Each bullet sports a nickel plated copper hollow point sitting atop a +P load with one of the largest cavities I’ve ever seen in a bullet!

So why the change? Well if the above description isn’t enough then consider this…With the Civil Defense rounds being lead free it cuts down on the carry weight of the weapon and spare mags. This also equates to less adjusting and pulling up of your pants because there’s not a ton of lead pulling your pants down!

Now performance wise…I loaded up and went to the range…OH MY GOD!  One pull of the trigger and my p95 leapt to life like a miniature artillery piece!! I perceived a noticeable increase in felt recoil and audible report. It was as if I had unleashed the power of the gods’ and turned my pistol into a hand cannon! The action cycled crisply and the rounds fed smoothly with no issues or problems.

Looking at the size of the expansion cavity and knowing how hot these rounds leave the barrel, I have no doubts to the terminal performance of this ammunition. I would expect nothing less than maximum penetration with maximum expansion up to and including fragmentation of the bullet! If your looking for the best possible odds of incapacitation, this is the round for you.

High power, maximum expansion and clean burning, the Civil Defense loads are  my choice for everyday carry. They have lightened my load making my carry experience more enjoyable. I trust my life and those of my loved ones to these rounds and wont leave home without them.

For more information on other calibers and to order yours, click here

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