May 31, 2012

Vans and Hammocks

I snagged a few more photos before leaving New Hampshire on my latest camping trip. From spotting VW vans to hammock napping, I took in the beauty of the outdoor lifestyle.

One stop shop. This guy, Dan, had everything he needed in this roving exploration machine. It reminds me of Foster from A Restless Transplant - one of my favorite blogs.

Blue skies in the country. Quiet.

An original covered bridge that served for transporting goods. The roof kept elements from rotting the wooden base. These are true gems of New England history.

Campground and clouds.

Ripples over rocks create the ultimate in white noise.

An ENO Hamock is the most comfortable seat I've found in the outdoors.

Bark and branches.

A good read.

Afternoon napping in what feels like a parachute. 

Fireside warmth and comfort.

May 29, 2012


A promotion at work last month surely has taken up free time that would otherwise be spent taking photos and writing of adventures. Couple the busier work schedule with a motorcycle course and ambitions to purchase a Harley in July - I've been scattered. I'm preparing for a late summer of packing a two-man tent and a down sleeping bag into a saddle bag and seeing how far I can drive before the sun sets.

I was, however, able to escape recently over the border to New Hampshire and seek out a multi-day trip in the mountains. N.H. is quickly becoming a favorite get-a-way. Camping is cheap ($20/night, if not free) and they allow my chocolate lab to stay in the parks. Pets aren't allowed in my favorite parks in Maine - truly a hassle. 

I can be myself and enjoy life to it's fullest when I am relaxed, the way we are suppose to live, among the trees, wildness and solitude of Mother Nature. Cheers, all!

Home in a box for the next five days.

 A roomy interior houses comfy sleeping quarters compliments of Big Agnes.  
A bit of starter fuel for this evening's fire.  

Ole faithful goes where I go.

Practicing caution to not swing a perfectly good axe into the ground and damage my freshly sharpened bit.

Creating the perfect firewood tee-pee in the pit.

My trusty Woolrich shirt and Snow & Nealley Axe.

Refuge from possible rain clouds.

My sturdy and waterproof 6.5" foot L.L. Bean King Pine Dome #6.

  Adult activities taking place after the sun sets beyond New England's horizon line.

Similar Recent Adventures

May 22, 2012

The Dam

It's places like this that make weekend road trips worth all the while. We discovered this location on a whim after crossing a bridge and turning off to find a road that followed the waterway. After a short distance and a few turns, we parked on the edge of a country road and ventured through an overgrown forest floor. The splashing of water drew closer with every step we took. Water gushed over the old stone dam creating a tranquil white noise that surrounded us. Sitting back on the bank, sandwich in hand, we watched as white foam built up near the rocks at the base of the falls before being swept down river. 

After taking our last bites of lunch, we continued on the journey - pausing occasionally to take photos. The weather was warm and we soon spotted a lake through thick brush on a dirt road. Pulling into a nearby turn-off, we ventured towards the beach, took our boots off and waded into the crystal clear water. Rivers, lakes, and oceans seem to bring me a sense of relaxation. They are loud yet say nothing. They can help foster thoughts or completely help avoid them. They bring us closer to nature; something we can all appreciate.

May 17, 2012

Axe Project: Part 2 of 2

The poly urethane is dry and the axe now shines. Peeling the remaining pieces of 3M tape from the handle, I worried the colors to appear differently than I imagined, but I'm satisfied with the results. It's plaid. It's red, white, and blue; American. I put a fresh edge on the blade with my leather strop then took to the woods for a weekend to put her to the test.  I can report no problems while splitting camp firewood for an afternoon. The Snow & Nealley axe itself is strong, sturdy and straight. The paint blends into the wooden handle quite finely for a smooth swinging motion. I'm proud to have a new American-made axe that I had a hand in the final outcome. Total cost of the project: $66.

  • $40 - Brand new Snow & Nealley axe (six years old and retails for ~$90)
  • $16 - 4 Sprays (3 colors and a primer) 
  • $5   - Stain
  • $5   - Poly urethane

May 15, 2012

Axe Project: Part 1 of 2

I think it's important to stay connected to the outdoors. Even if your schedule doesn't allow time to hang in a hammock on the bank of a bustling river a few times a month or hike a new mountain every other weekend, you can always find ways to bring this passion to your home. My first project of summer was to style a custom axe design (inspiration came from Best Made Co.'s axes).

I embarked, several months ago now, on a mission to buy an American made axe. Many Nearly all manufacturers now outsource multiple production steps/processes to China. I found only two companies based in the U.S.A. that still completely rely on American labor and materials for their axe builds. The first is Council Tool out of North Carolina. The other is Snow & Nealley out of Maine. Sadly, Snow & Nealley began outsourcing the forging of their axe head to China 5 years ago. With research, I was able to find a 6 year old S&N axe (never used) on Craigslist, from a relocating homeowner, for a fraction of the retail price.

Let's begin!

I draw up a design for what I intend my plaid-handled axe to look like.

My brand new (six-year old) axe that had never been swung over a man's shoulder.

Sanding, priming, taping, painting, staining, and finish by applying coats of poly urethane.

After sanding the area which would receive paint, I covered the handle in multiple coats of primer. Next was to tape out my custom design and paint each section (as you see above).

Check back in later this week for the final outcome. I'm quite pleased.

May 10, 2012

Woolrich History

"A Purposeful Originator" is the conotation I received about Woolrich while talking with Brent, Vice President of Marketing. He descriptively led me through company history. Like most businesses - the timeline is fantastically interesting and original products stemmed from customer suggestions.

Woolrich is the original equipper of adventurers, miners, loggers and those whose explorative nature built our great country. In 1830, John Woolrich began selling threads to outdoorsmen on the back of his cart. These men soon requested that Mr. Woolrich sew the shirts to spare their wives the work. Requests followed to include a game pocket in the rear of shirts to hold small game they might kill during the workday. Upgrades soon included rubberizing the game pocket for obvious reasons, and camo patterns to conceal themselves along the trails. The end product was dubbed the "Pennsylvania Tuxedo".

Since inception, they've remained focused on creating useful, purposeful outdoor products. The only company still in existence that supplied wool blankets to civil war soldiers, Woolrich is steeped in history, ruggedness, and Americana.

While on the phone, I asked the V.P. what his favorite Woolrich item was. He offered up two new favorites. Both the Declination Hoodie and the Cross Country Shirt. Both excellent items that I've taken his advice and tried out.

Read more on Woolrich history in your spare time with this book - enjoyed ideally fireside.

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May 8, 2012


Farming is a fundamental part of American life. The act can be as dated and primitive or technologically advanced as you wish it. Nonetheless, without it we wouldn't be here today. I'm always fascinated when I come across something historically significant to New England and such was the case today. I found the below farm that still stands after 228 years of operation. Built in 1778, this farm still provides crops to local towns. A rustic barn-front caught my eye on a Sunday drive. Goats that roam the pasture add to it's character. The misaligned barn windows increase the allure. The character of the property make you envision how life may have looked 200 years ago - the narrow dirt roads lined with ruts from horse carriages, the expansive forests and underdeveloped towns, and the peace and quiet that came along with it. 

One thing is for sure - tonight's dinner will consist of fresh farm potatoes, beets, and carrots. The conversation around the table will more than likely venture to topics of free-range chickens and a large vegetable garden on our own property in the very near future. Nobody can ever fault you for being self-sufficient and in touch with mother nature - after all it's Maine, "The Way Life Should Be".

May 3, 2012

Making Coffee

There are two things I really love - a good cup of coffee and things made in America. When an item I want is made in a different country - I at least require an interesting story behind it. Enter the Best Made Co.'s Seamless & Steadfast Enamel Steel Cups. They are made from steel in a 100 year old enamel factory in Poland with a celebrated history. The company logo is baked into the front and the handle and rim receive a double dipping of enamel, hence the term "steadfast". A true trail-worthy item to throw into your pack for future adventures. 

Per the company website, "First featured in the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition of 1876, enamelware was touted to combine "all the advantages of glass with the strength of metal". Since then enamel tin and steel have long been favored by outdoorsmen and cowboys because it is light, durable and easy to clean."

Necessary items to create my morning coffee.

  Heating water over the blue flame of my MSR Pocket Rocket.


Sitting back, enjoying life and waiting.

Kind company.

A rolling boil.

  Lone leaf.

  Dipping the MSR Mugmate (1/4 full of coffee grounds) into the cup and allowing it to sit.

  Morning sunlight and shadows.

  5 Minutes and remove.

  A damn good cup of coffee and a pleasant river to sit beside.