Sunday, March 16, 2014

Learnin' ...

The Wood Ape and the old "silver-back" in Fouke ...
... sights seen this weekend on a remote roadside.
     Hi, y’all … I just got back from campin’ with a new bunch of friends.  In the past, I was used to doin’ all the plannin’ sortin’, packin’, scoutin’ and campin’ by myself and goin’ it alone … so this was a quite a learnin’ experience.  The last time I camped with folks other than my own family was for bass fishin’ … and I kinda felt sorry for the guys in our camp site.  I snore like a boar; so bad, as a matter-of-fact, that I’ve been threatened with an ass-whippin’ a few times.  I was just lucky that none of my fishin’ buds were related to John Wesley Hardin!  I went and bought me some of them Breathe-Right Strips and they must’ve worked, ‘cause I made it home unscathed and was able to peck-out this blog ...
     On Friday mornin' I had picked up my buddy Andy in Porter and we had us a 'lil road trip out to Caddo Lake in Uncertain, Texas and had visited with some of my friends.  Afterwards, I drove Andy through Doddridge, Arkansas, and then out to Jonesville ... which was the area where the original "Jonesville Monster" sightings occurred.  After toolin' around on some back roads, we ended-up in Fouke, Arkansas.  We did the tourist-thing and hit the Monster Mart to see what-all they had to show.  Then, we headed to our next destination which was on private property ... a secluded tree farm back in Upshur County, Texas.
     The area of our little campin’ trip was located just outside of Gilmer.  If I'd have driven straight to the tree farm, it would've taken the same amount of time as it takes for me to get to Uncertain; however, this trip was a lot less stressful not haulin’ a boat, a kayak and a week’s worth of provisions and fishin’ gear.  Once there, Andy and I were now part of someone else’s game plan … part of a team of individuals who have gathered to both teach and hone this group’s outdoor skills for future, more remote off-trail campin’.  Most of these folks are hard-core outdoor enthusiasts and go places that take hours of hikin’ to get to.  Travelin’ light, quiet and ever observing, these folks truly know what it’s like to do their time in the grime!  Finally, I seem to have met some folks who are the real deal and take bein’ out in the wild seriously.

Just a few of the members of the North American Wood Ape Conservancy during the Training Camp held this weekend.
     What sets this group apart from most is that they are part of a serious effort to once and for all get definitive proof of what’s really roamin’ ‘round out there in them woods.  That’s right; definitive proof of what some folks have been callin’ “Bigfoot”, Booger, Caddo Critter, Fouke Monster, Sasquatch, Skunk Ape, Wildman or now … the North American Wood Ape actually exists.  Serious field researchers who want to prove that this is a real animal and not some myth, misidentification or fabrication of over-active imaginations.  These are folks like myself who know that what they have witnessed is a real living animal, but don’t fully understand exactly what this animal is.  So, this was the first time for me to interact out in the field with like-minded individuals who are genuinely serious about this subject.  And if I am to become further involved with this group and its efforts, it was time I did some learnin’ …

     I’m not one of them folks who cain’t follow instructions, nor am I one not to follow through with what is asked of in specific situations.  But I am one of them folks who's been used to doin’ stuff on his own and figurin’ out stuff for himself.  Now, I am part of a team at my profession and have co-workers who depend on me to get the job done.  But out in the field, it’s a whole different type of teamwork.  One small mistake can put yourself as well as your team in jeopardy; whether it’s somethin’ as innocent as givin’ up your location, or somethin’ as serious as gettin’ someone hurt.  So now it was time for me to learn how this particular team works.  In time, I hope to be able to contribute my skills and/or abilities for the benefit of this team and its efforts; but for now, it was time for me to observe the team and do some learnin’ …

       What I was most impressed with was, that in this particular organization … not only was each individual organized, they all worked very proficiently as a team.  As the sayin’ goes … there ain’t no “I” in the word, “team” … so not only were we all there to learn ... we actually had a bit of fun in the process.  I'd love to elaborate, but it's been a long trip and I’m kinda shy on sleep … so I’ll have to continue with this entry at another time.  I’ve also been experiencin’ some health issues over the last month, and have an appointment/examination tomorrow afternoon.  And who knows what fresh Hell I’ll walk into back at the office?  I guess that’s why they call ‘em Mondays.  But I've learned that most Mondays aren't bad ... they're just challengin'!  Think about it.  So until next time, take care … and y’all come back now, you hear?

Saturday, March 1, 2014

The gadgets & gizmo series ... Swiss+Tech & REDLINE® Select

     Howdy-do!  Like most folks, I am fascinated by gadgets & gizmos.  Anything I find that can help me through my simple(ton) existence is always a good thing.  If you've read about all the Baggage I carry ‘round out there in them woods, you’d understand that any time I can streamline my load, I’ll do it.  So when I come across stuff that makes my life easier, I feel compelled to share; and when I find stuff that pertains to sloughstalkin' ... I’ll share it right here! 
Simple things incite simple minds, like mine!
Always go prepared, always plan ahead
and always carry the right tools ...
     I'm a sucker for gadgets and gizmos ... as long as they're functional.  I was wanderin' 'round my local "Y'all-Mart" last year and come across the Swiss+Tech Micro-Plus® EX 9-in-1 pocket tool.  This 'lil jewel of a tool fits in the watch-pocket of most jeans, and has saved my hapless-ass on numerous occasions!  Constructed of solid stainless-steel, folded … it measures 2” x 2½” and weighs less than 3 oz.  Unfolded, it’s a 3½” pair of pliers, or a wire crimper, cutter and stripper … and has both #1 & #2 flat screwdrivers that unfold from one handle, and #1 & #2 Phillips-head screwdrivers that unfold from the other handle.  And as an added bonus, it’s also a bottle opener!  Folded, it doubles as a key-chain, or can be worn on a belt-loop.  For less than $10.00, this tool will not disappoint!  Get yours at
     Second-up is somethin’ my beautiful bride found and had bought me as a Christmas gift.  Well, I wasn’t wearin’ my glasses when I unwrapped it, so at first glance I thought it was some-sort of fancy water purifier.  Then, it looked like one-of them-there light-sabers from a George Lucas film.  But when I finally commenced to readin’ the fancy display package, I found out that it was the NEBO® Tools REDLINE® SelectTM Titanium flashlight.  Now, I cain’t begin to tell y’all how many different flashlights I own, but this one just shelved the rest!  It boasts 310 lumens and can shine over 200 yards; it’s got 5 settings, and the last two are an S.O.S. beacon and a tactical strobe.  Made of anodized aircraft grade aluminum, it’s only 5” long and 1½” in diameter, weighs just over a half-pound and its ergonomic body fits nicely in your hand.  And in a clinched fist, its aggressive self-defense face will definitely enhance your punch, but still keeps its grip whether your hand is wet or dry!
     This thing has so many features that most mini-flashlights don’t.  It’s both shock resistant if you drop it, as well as weather resistant to the point of almost bein’ waterproof!  The on/off glow-in-the-dark button glows green when on, and turns red to indicate that the batteries are gettin’ low.  It’s powered by 3 AAA batteries, and the bulb is rated for 110,000+ hours of life.  It has a 4x adjustable zoom that changes the light from spot to flood.  The Smart Select Dial changes lightin’ modes between 100% - 2 Hrs. runtime at 216 yds., 50% - 5 Hrs. runtime at 105 yds., 10% - 12 Hrs. runtime at 41 yds., S.O.S. Beacon - 60 Hrs. runtime at 216 yds., Tactical Strobe - 60 Hrs. runtime at 216 yds. and its Stealth Ring gives the option to block light from shinin’ through the signature Red Ring.

     The REDLINE® has a magnetic base for hands-free lightin’ if you need it, a steel spring belt clip and also includes a lanyard.  And the folks at NEBO not only packaged this with three AAA batteries ... but an extra set of batteries as well!  Check-out for more details.  Now, I ain't personally hawkin' any of this stuff, but when I come across gadgets & gizmos that I think are field-worthy, I'll be sharin' it with y'all right here.  I don't wanna clutter-up this blog with any advertisin' that don't pertain to sloughstalkin' ...  but if anyone out there that has a product that they think will fit this criteria, gimme a shout!  If it's outdoor gear that y'all need field-tested or abused ... I'm your huckleberry; however, manufacturers of "waterproof" trailer lights need not apply!   Until next time, y'all come back now, ya hear?