Last Friday night I had the pleasure of having dinner with two pretty women: Miss New Jersey (Lindsey Petrosh) and my wife Barbara. This took place at the Brigantine Jefferson Jackson dinner where Miss New Jersey sang the national anthem and also favored us with another song. What a fabulous voice! Lindsey sat at our table and she is a most charming representative of the Garden State.
For several years I’ve trained in a fighting system used by the Israeli army: Krav Maga. International military, security, and law enforcement agencies employ krav maga. This past Saturday I spent a tough 5 1/2 hours being tested in this street fighting defense method, including being assaulted by several attackers at once, and I thought you might be interested in what one person put out on the internet:
Frank Colucci: I would like you to meet Mr. Al Dragon (in yellow). Al was one of the students who took the 6 hour orange belt test yesterday…a grueling test by even the most conditioned person’s standards. Al didn’t skip a beat despite multiple rounds of full contact one-on-one sparring; two-on-one sparring and four-on-one sparring starting from his back on the ground. And now for the inspirational part….Al is 75 years old….That is correct, 75. So the next time that you are telling yourself that you can’t do this or you’re too old for that, remember this story…..And a big salute to Al, a great Kravist and a great man…..w/ Israeli Maga — with Albert Dragon.
[For Comments on this, click above on Frank Colucci, click on Photos and on the same photo as seen below.]
“What makes Avalanche’s story so interesting, especially for older-than-average hikers, is his ability to retell all the pain, agony, frustration and other trials that plague every hiker, without the usual sentimental look back through rose-colored glasses. He tells it like it is, including the raw language of the trail that a few might find offensive. But it’s real life, and it reminds you of just how difficult it truly is to walk from Springer to Katahdin in one year. In fact, Avalanche didn’t even make it to Virginia in ’02, but that’s what also makes this book fascinating to read. He puts a magnifying glass on all that went wrong, as only a trained lawyer could (that’s his profession), but he also includes the glorious feelings of accomplishment from summiting peaks that sapped every ounce of his physical and mental being.”
“Over several years, he eventually makes it to Vermont . . . . every step of the way he takes you along when he meets the locals who make hiking the trail such a rich life experience. In a sort-of National Geographic style, you meet who he meets, like the Tennessee rescue squad leader who helps Al and Jim after they’ve been “rescued” from the freak snow storm of March 30, 2003.
“You also get to meet Gorilla Jim, whose harrowing story from his service in Vietnam adds another dimension to this book and could very well be worth a book in itself.” — Bill O’Brien
Backpacking—whether it’s your first backpacking trip or your one hundredth time hiking the trails—having the proper backpacking gear is essential. The following sites have backpacking-gear checklists to help you make your trail hiking experience not only fun but also safe. (Click green headings for checklists.) [Originally posted March 2012]
Backpacker Magazine is highly knowledgeable, so it’s no surprise that they have more than a dozen backpacking checklists and backpacking gear reviews.
REIis a leader in outdoor clothing and gear. You can print their backpacking checklist and use it to run down the items you’ll need for hiking trails.
Keith Drury offers a discussion of ultralight backpacking gear. Although it’s a good discussion, beginning backpackers may find it too advanced for them. Still, it’s worth reading.
Only The Lightest Camping Equipment has a 3-Day Ultra Light Backpacking List. Steven Green, the checklist’s author, created it in response to the demand by people looking to keep their pack weight down to 15 pounds or less. There is also a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet allowing readers to compare the various gear he suggests.
Step by Step: An Introduction to Walking the Appalachian Trail. Backpackers—especially beginning trail hikers—may want to pay particular attention to pages 12 through 16. They contain information and lists for hiking and backpacking the Appalachian Trail. This rich source of information also answers questions about hiking the Appalachian Trail. The guide, published by the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, is free.
The Lightweight Backpacker has a Backpacking Equipment Checklist from which you can choose what you want to take on your hike.
Backpacking Checklist (Gear List): 3-Season, 3-Day is a short article with a gear list containing the weight of each item so you can add up and find out what your full pack will weigh. Always carefully consider what you are taking; the suggestion here to take only a “half-quart” of water is low. Unless you are near a water source, a full quart is minimal—in hot weather and when you are far from the next water source, carrying more water is necessary.
Happy trail hiking!
Gear Editor, a magazine about outdoor and adventure lifestyle products, published a glowing review of Avalanche and Gorilla Jim, Appalachian Trail Adventures and Other Tales. Click on reviews Avalanche and Gorilla Jim in the October 2012 issue of Gear Editor
Order copy(ies) of the entertaining Avalanche and Gorilla Jim, then mail me a self-addressed stamped envelope and I’ll send you a bookplate personally signed by me to easily fasten to the inside of each book’s front cover to give as an enjoyable book signed by the author.
Send (a) the self-addressed stamped envelope, along with (b) proof of purchase (such as a copy of email from Amazon confirming your order) to:
PO Box 4201
Cherry Hill, NJ 08034
(This offer ends December 24, 2012)
I was invited to dinner at the US Supreme Court. Here are photos of Barbara and me taken at the Court. Beautiful building and good dinner.
Al Dragon’s article “Getting Lost and Getting Found – Hiking and Backpacking” appeared in SectionHiker, Hiking and Backpacking for Beginners and Experts http://sectionhiker.com/tag/what-to-do-if-you-get-lost-hiking/.
Good pointers on what to do if you feel disoriented, and tips on how to avoid getting lost.