Tag Archives: Camping

Dragon Weir: Mettle Maker #233

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Sorry I’m late posting the weekly Mettle Maker.

I was camping this weekend at Holliday Lake State Park.  This little mini-adventure made me late with the mettle maker, but it also helped me come up with the theme.  You should know that each and every mettle maker is made up of actual drills and exercises I’ve personally done in the preceding week.  I never ask you to do anything I haven’t done myself.

Third Annual November Mettlecraft Challenge is in full swing.

November is Mettlecraft Month at Cabal Fang.  Click here to participate if you dare!  Here’s what we did in 2018 and 2019.  


If you’re new in these parts, you should know that people who engage with the content by doing some of the work and/or posting in the comments have been known to get discount coupons for books and merch from Mitch’s General Store

Dragon Weir: Mettle Maker #233

A weir is a low dam built across a stream or river in to raise the water level and create a body of water.  It manages the flow.

  • Warm-up thoroughly for at at least 8 minutes. Do 2-3 minutes each of (a) jumping rope (b) light calisthenics and (c) shadowboxing, forms, or light heavy bag work, or 8 minutes of MBF.
  • 12 minutes of “Very Bad Karma” plus 8 minutes of kicks.  Even if you’re not going to participate in Mettlecraft Month 2020 you gotta do this thing at least once.  Click here for details.
  • Work your flow.  If you’re participating in Mettlecraft Month 2020 it’s important to make sure your training volume and intensity don’t rage out of control.  Exclusive of your mettlecraft training, work in the 50 – 70% range.  I’m doing lots of flow drills, slip ball, shadowboxing, MBF, and so forth.
  • Hold your position for 3 minutes.   Another way to moderate your training this month — which is all about pushing the reps and the intensity — is to work on exercises that don’t involve any reps at all: pose-based fitness.  Crow sits, Planks, Handstands, Wall Sits, etc.  Set a timer for 3 minutes.  Pick two or more poses and start your timer.  Hold the first pose until failure, then move to the next, cycling through (or back and forth) until the timer beeps.
  • What tree is this?  In a survival situation it’s a good idea to know your trees so that you can be sure to use woods suitable to your purpose.  This is Sweetgum (Liquidambar styraciflua).  In my opinion it’s perfect for nothing but passable for most anything.  Some folks make bark baskets from them but I never tried.
  • Face the dragon.  Mettlecraft Month is about building your indomitability so that, like a mythic knight, you can be courageous and indomitable in facing the dragon.  The thing is, before you can face the dragons of the world you need to face the dragons within.  How many times in the last week have you made excuses for not doing better — not just in fitness, but at work and at home, in your relationships?  The scariest dragons are in you —  lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy, pride, and so on — and they are breeding in the caves of your subconscious.  Fail to run them to ground every day at your peril.
  • If it ain’t in the training journal it didn’t happen.  Do the work, the external and internal, and write about what you did and thought in your journal.

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June 2020 Backpacking Adventure Video

This past weekend I went on an amazing backpacking trip with my youngest daughter and her fiance, one of her friends, my son, and my brother-in-law.

We hiked the Cold Mountain and Pleasant Mountain trails in the George Washington National Forest. Highly recommended — many scenic overlooks, beautiful trails, plenty of backcountry dispersed camping sites, ample water sources (don’t forget your water purification equipment!).

One of the best hikes I’ve ever done. I just wish I was a better photographer. Because the full moon on Saturday night was out of this world.

Morgan and Me Camping 2009

These pics are from a rainy camping trip I went on with my daughter Morgan in October 2009.  What can I say that the pictures don’t say for themselves?


Douthat Adventures

CCC patch

Went on a little getaway this weekend.  Headed up to Douthat State Park with the family.  It’s the only park in Virginia (at least that I’ve found) where you can have fun camping in the middle of the summer.  It’s easy to beat the heat up there.  The park’s campling area is one of the highest in the state and there’s a sandy beach on the lake for swimming.

This park was built in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps, and it hasn’t changed much in the last eighty plus years.  The quality of the construction is such that many of the cabins and stone buildings are virtually unchanged and still in use.

Here’s a little handout concerning how Douthat State Park was built

I’ve waxed poetic about the CCC before.  Let me just say that I’ve heard a ton of talk about UBI — both for and against — but I haven’t heard a single word about any kind of work relief program.  And I sure haven’t heard a word about bringing back the CCC.

Personally, I think UBI and free college tuition are both hard sells when we have a national debt of $16 trillion.  But a program like the CCC — which is basically a work relief program that also provides vocational training — seems like something we could all vote for.

Anyway, here’s a little video about the trip.

Camping Pics and Insights

Dinner Saturday night: Jiffy cornbread, Nathan’s all beef hot-dogs with Saverne sauerkraut with dill, and Bush’s baked beans. Heaven on a plate.

My adult son and I went camping at the Peaks of Otter this past weekend.  Here are some pics.

I took only a few because I had the phone off most the trip.  And, as often happens, when I ditch the tech and get out in the woods I start seeing things more clearly.

Camping never fails to teach me something.

If you’d like more details, check out this rare public post on my Patreon blog.

A fawn still showing spots. Mommy was just off frame to the right.

Perfect cornbread — hot, moist, and not sticking — cooked in a vintage M-1942 US Army mess kit. Camp with me sometime and I’ll show you how it’s done.

Our parking pass from Peaks of Otter Campground.



Nothing to Do, Nowhere to Be


Camping. Eat some food, sing some songs, share some stories. Sleep when you’re sleepy, get up when you’re rested (and not a minute sooner). S’mores. Fire. Crickets.

What’s not to love?