If you’ve followed along with my posts on Arizona Wanderings, you will probably remember several posts about The Hunting and Angling Heritage Work Group, which we lovingly refer to as HAHWG (pronounced Hog). The HAHWG is a growing group of organizations and partners whose mission is to facilitate the Department’s efforts to pass on the hunting tradition to its constituents, and to keep hunting and fishing relevant into the next century. The foundation of this group’s effort is the North American Model of wildlife conservation.
One thing that I would like to highlight that has come out of this group is a fantastic calendar that shows all of the different camps put on by the different partners. Everything from small and big game hunting to fishing to a vast array of outdoor skills. Although many of the camps are specifically designed and held for the youth, there are still many camps that are specifically for adults. I have added another page tab here on Arizona Wanderings specifically dedicated to the Outdoor Skills Calendar. I try to get to several camps a year to help mentor, wash dishes, or volenteer in what ever way they need. It’s a great way to pass on the hunting and angling heritage that our nation was built on. Check out the Outdoor Skills Calendar Page.
Over the 4th we headed back east to see family. I spent a good portion of my childhood at my grandma’s cottage, and was excited to take my little girl back to experience the beauty of northeastern Pennsylvania. Of course I was able to squeeze a bit of fishing in too.
I really like Merino wool. To be completely honest, I have a bunch of different garments from a variety of different manufacturers and I can definitely see the differences in workmanship and quality of merino in these products. I recently had the opportunity to check out a few pieces of clothing from the WoolX lightweight merino line, and have been thoroughly impressed with their products.
The wool – All Woolx garments are made with superfine wool which contains 19.5 microns. With such a fine wool, the shirt and boxers were extremely comfortable with literally no itch.
The Fit – The Woolx lightweight merino wool runs true to size. I picked up the Woolx lightweight short-sleeve shirt and a pair of their lightweight boxers too. Both garments are sewn with freedom of movement with underarm sleeve gussets in the shirt and a gusseted crotch in the boxers. Merino wool has the tendency to shrink a bit if you toss it in the dryer after a wash, but the Woolx held it’s form with very minimal shrinking after making a run through the dryer.
The guarantee – WoolX has a 100% satisfaction guarantee. If you’re not satisfied then send it back for a full refund or replacement. Pretty hard to argue with that.
I wore the Woolx shirt as a base layer and in the Arizona heat it excelled as a breathable layer. Merino is one of those wonderful natural materials that manages body temperature extraordinarily well. When the heat is on and you’re working up a sweat, it breathes well, wicking moisture away from the body and cooling you down. When the temperature drops, the wool works as an insulation layer. Most of merino that I own is long-sleeve and works well in hunting situations and cold temps. I really liked the Woolx short sleeve for fishing here in the Arizona summer. Truly a great layer to have to keep you cool in the hot sun.
Without getting into all of the nitty gritty on the boxers, let’s just say they performed better than I could have imagined. Long hot hikes into some backcountry creeks as well as a cold snap on my turkey hunt really showed the versatility of the garment. Merino wool is so amazing in the fact that it is anti-microbial, and the natural wax found in wool actually fights bacteria and odor. As a hunter (and sensible human being) clothing that fights odor is a big plus.
One thing I wish Woolx would do is to offer their garments in a few more colors. I’d love to add a few of their heavier weight merino wool shirts and hoodies to my hunting gear, and would like to see some greens, tans, and browns.
The reviews at Arizona Wanderings are my honest opinion. Arizona Wanderings is not sponsored by or associated with any of the stated companies and is accepting no compensation, monetary or otherwise, in exchange for this review. My independent status may change in the future but, as of the date of publication, no relationship other than described above has been pursued or established.
Why: So, I like to drink coffee. I also happen to like good, fresh coffee. Whether I’m bumming a bag of fresh home roast from a buddy or heading to the coffee shop for something commercial, I like whole bean, because grinding your own beans gets you an extremely fresh cup of coffee. I’ve been using my standard plug-in electric grinder for years and typically will grind beans before I head out for a trip, but the GSI Outdoors JavaMill allows me to bring fresh whole beans along to grind in the field, providing a perfect excuse to drink really fresh coffee in the woods.
The size - The GSI JavaMill is a compact little unit that stands about 6.5 inches tall and has a circumference of 2.5 inches. It fits in nicely with my car camping cook set and doesn’t take up too much room.
Weight - I was surprised by the weight of the JavaMill. The composition of plastic, ceramic, and metal alloy give a little bit of weight to it and make it feel pretty solid. It weighs in at 9.3 oz.
Field Use: So typically, most of the gear I review on Arizona Wanderings gets almost all of it’s use in the field, because that’s where I use it. The GSI JavaMill coffee grinder has become an important part of my everyday morning ritual. My old morning routine involved the electric grinder, which as every coffee drinker knows makes a loud whining and growling noise as it grinds up the morning coffee. With a 6 month old in the house that wakes up from the tiniest noises, my coffee grinding has become a huge problem at 5am. So for the past couple of months I’ve been hand grinding my coffee with the new GSI JavaMill. The JavaMill is very quiet and to be honest, I love the mechanics of grinding coffee by hand.
The JavaMill is pretty easy to operate. Coffee in the top. Turn handle. Ground course coffee drops in the bottom portion of the JavaMill and is ready to go. I primarily French press my coffee but I know that there are a variety of other ways to brew coffee that would need a different courseness of coffee. To change the courseness of the grind, remove the bottom portion of the JavaMill and turn the wing-nut to find your desired coffee ground size.
I’ve also been bringing the GSI JavaMill coffee grinder on some of my recent fishing and camping trips in order to brew up a pot of coffee as a pick-me-up at lunch and/or for the long drives home. It’s pretty handy to be able to get that taste of freshly ground coffee way out in the middle of nowhere. I really think that the JavaMill is worth its weight in a car camping situation. For a backpacker who is really trying to cut down on the ounces, I don’t think the JavaMill is practical for lightweight backpacking.
Well made and designed
Perfect for car camping
No electricity required
Might not be ideal for lightweight backpacking
Prognosis: The die hard coffee drinker who finds themselves in the outdoors (or with a baby who wakes up at the sound of an electronic grinder) should definitely consider adding the GSI Outdoors JavaMillto their camp cook set.
*Disclaimer:The reviews at Arizona Wanderings are my honest opinion. Arizona Wanderings is not sponsored by or associated with any of the stated companies and is accepting no compensation, monetary or otherwise, in exchange for this review. My independent status may change in the future but, as of the date of publication, no relationship other than described above has been pursued or established.
I finally crossed Apache trout off my species list. I’m almost embarrassed to admit that I’ve lived in Arizona for going on 8 years and have just now laid hands on my first Apache trout. I’ve pulled in a couple of hybrid Apache/Rainbows off of a couple of creeks in the past, but these were my first true gold, speckled, Apache trout. My good buddy Kyle and I ran up to the Whites for a long day trip to work some fish at Christmas Tree Lake. Christmas Tree Lake is located on the White Mountain Apache Reservation and is known to hold some large Apaches and the occasional big brown. Since picking up my Scadden pontoon boat, it’s been fun to explore some of the stillwaters, that were not really accessible to me before. We met up early and made it to the lake just after sunrise.
What we weren’t expecting was the hellacious wind that ripped across the lake. The wind swirled from every different direction and spun our pontoons around like we were on the teacups at Disneyland. It made for an interesting day of fishing. We were lucky enough to pick up a few fish early in the day on ant patterns while the wind was a bit milder, but we had to wait for the evening bite to pick up any more fish. Regardless, it was a beautiful day in the mountains on one of the most picturesque lakes in the state. I look forward to heading back up in the future for a less windy day on the lake.
I was a little bit slow on the uptake. Reading on an iPhone or a tablet never really appealed to me. Even though I spend a good amount of time reading on the computer, there is nothing I like more than a good book in my hands. That all changed when I took the plunge, downloaded a kindle app for my iPhone and ordered Pulp Fly: Volume One. In a word: Fantastic There were several writers I was familiar with likeMatt Smythe, Bruce Smithhammer,Matt Dunn, and Alex Landeen, paired with several new authors that were not in my regular reading repository. Each short tale revolved around the theme of fly fishing although they all had their own unique story line. The only problem with the first Pulp Fly was that I ended up reading it too fast.
I reread through the collection several more times before the world was blessed with Volume Two and some time later Volume Three.The second and third installments of Pulp Fly certainly did not disappoint. Delivered to the palm of my hand with a couple clicks, I was reading the next collections of stories from familiar writers like Erin Block, Jay Zimmerman, and Tom Reed along with a sprinkling of new names that were instantly added to my must read/follow list.
As if things couldn’t get any better, the Pulp Fly team put together an all-star lineup of upland hunters/writers for the first (and hopefully not last) installment of Mouthful of Feathers: Upland in the West. Between flushing birds, hunting dogs, and dirt roads, I couldn’t get enough. It truly is an excellent collection of writers and stories. The team behind Pulp Fly has set the bar extremely high and laid the ground work for what I can only hope will be a future filled with more volumes of fly fishing and upland hunting collections. If you haven’t been blessed with reading one of these collections, you owe it to yourself to spend the measly five dollars and download the first one. They are all well worth the price of admission.
I like to fish, and every chance I get, I’m packing the truck and heading for the hills. Now, I know that compared to an unmarried fishing guide or a retiree, I don’t fish that much, but I have a wife, a child, an 8-5, and a mortgage, and still I successfully manage to put in 30-40 days fishing or hunting a year. To me, that’s a success.
I often get asked by several of my buddies, how I talk my wife into letting me go fishing and hunting all the time. There is an easy answer to this. I married up. End of story. My wife is extremely understanding and knows that if a couple weekends go by and I’m not fishing or hunting, I’m going to be a basket case.
Having said that, I would offer several tips to the poor sucker whose wife is busting his balls for going fishing too much. (Full disclosure: I’ve tried all of these and they work.)
#1. Handwritten notes – I found a small journal in the closet that wasn’t seeing any use, so I started a tradition of writing my wife a note and telling her how much I love her and where I was going for the day along with the details of when I should be getting back into cell service. She says that she really enjoys getting up on Saturday mornings, reading what I wrote, and getting to see where I’m going. She thinks it’s sweet, although on several occasions she has threatened to publish all of my secret fishing spots. I think they call that blackmail.
#2. Wildflowers – This is a winner. When the seasons are right here in Arizona, we have some pretty spectacular wildflowers. When I find a decent spot on one of the backroads, I’ll pull over and cut a small bouquet for her, put them in my coffee cup full of water, and romantically (or at least as romantically as I can smelling like sweat, dust, and fish) give them to her when I get home. This goes a long way in softening things up when you get back from a long day of fishing.
#3. Involve her - Everyone needs their own space and downtime. Fly fishing has become my escape and I often use the time to recharge my batteries while enjoying the solitude of nature. Although my wife had never really shown much interest in fly fishing, she made mention of wanting to give it a try when we hiked into the Grand Canyon and camped on Bright Angel Creek. When she pulled her first wild rainbow out of the creek, I think I was more excited than she was. Over time we have had several opportunities to fish together, and I know she has a better understanding of why I love it and need to take off on a Saturday. Now on long car rides, she’s cool to even listen to a couple of Tom Rosenbauer podcasts to break up the drive. How does it get any better than that?