Category Archives: Frontier/Outdoor Activity

FUN MORNING AND ENJOYABLE WORK

Felled a lotta trees this morning. Really like my new Poulan Pro chainsaw.

(Had planned to use it much earlier but with all the rain and travel had been using my WorX instead.)

Ordinarily I much prefer, and tend to use my axes.  But the underbrush had grown up so much that I just charged in with my chainsaw and started taking em down left and right.

Took me awhile to get back into the swing of using it because ordinarily I do it the Roman Way and use my hand-axes and hatchets. But once I remembered my old techniques it went really well.

Took down maybe five trees, many saplings, and a lotta underbrush.

By then the engine was smoking hot even with the oiling and the drive breaks. I figure from now on I’ll take down about ten full size trees or about 12 good sized saplings at a time then knock off.

They still gotta be cut up and hauled anyway.

Did have one problem though. Cutting down a sapling (about twenty feel tall) and apparently it was partially diseased and rotten on the inside and collapsed backwards against the direction of cutting and trapped my chain and chainsaw blade.  I tried lifting the tree back against the direction of the fall but couldn’t grab the chainsaw at the same time. But the tree snapped after a few moments anyway due to the rot.

Didn’t appear to warp the blade or damage the chain and so I went on and cut down some more trees.

Gonna do a complete cleaning maintenance on it before next use though.

Fun morning and enjoyable work. Now to hike Sam and move on to writing and business… have a good day folks.

SO YOU CAN SKYWATCH FOR IT

MENTENIS

“My father’s is taller still, and has a golden button on top!”
 
Always go for the golden button on top. That’s where all the good stuff is.
 
And on a more serious note, it is a real shame that modern man has lost so much of his rural festival and celebration backgrounds, those from both pagan and Christian times.
 
Those things used to hold us to the ground, made us realize things about time, made us grateful for things working. Losing those things weakens us, make us think that only technology and science is important. (And I do happen to like and to think most science and technology is important just not all-important.) Makes us think we are the inevitable and undisputed masters of our own fate (and nowadays we control much of our own fate, but much still is beyond our control and we should be reminded of that, and appreciative of that).
 
Most of all though we’ve lost our ties to our neighbors, to the seasons, to the Earth, and to our own blood. And I don’t mean this modern Nazi-era shit of resurgent, hyperzealous, omni-political tribe, race, clan, class, etc. but of our own blood, and bodies, and muscles, and of where we came from. As individuals.
 
We’re far too urbanized now. Too much like insects in nests and colonies. Too constricted and herded, and herdish. Too puny by ourselves and in nature. Which is where we truly thrive. Despite, or because of it’s hardships and dangers. You can’t become tough or strong in a sheltered, sterile world. Much less stay tough and strong in such a world.
 
Too weak to wander.
 
Two other things. Living so far from nature masks of animals might seem creepy I guess. To many moderns. They don’t to me though. They are not scary at all to me.
 
And yeah, I like the idea of throwing kids over fences. When I was a kid I got tossed over fences on numerous occasions. I thought it was grand.
 
I hated fences.

It’s February 23, Metenis Day. An ancient festival looks like the lovechild of Christmas and Halloween

Love Christmas and Halloween?  The ancient Latvian Spring waiting holiday of Meteņis or Meteni combines eerie and cheery.

Also called Lastavāgs, Aizgavēnis, Miesmetis, Buduļi Eve, and Pie Day, Metenis includes a masked parade, singing, dancing, feasting and drinking.

A Latvian spirit in charge of growing flax, Metenis was believed to arrive on a sleigh.

Now Latvians, Estonians and Lithuanians celebrate by sledding, which they believe will make the flax grow longer.

The faster and longer the sled glides, the faster and higher the flax will grow.  Though a ride on a sled, a horse-drawn carriage, or even skating on a pond will do.

You might hear traditional sledding cries:

“My father has tall flax!”
“My father’s is taller!”
“My father’s is taller still, and has a golden button on top!”

Any journey is significant.  People used to walk from farm to farm to encourage the flax and (for some reason) throw children over the fence.

Some popular Meteņi traditions are: wearing masks, chasing away Metenis, searching for the button of happiness, driving away moles from gardens and cooking delicious Meteņi porridge.

To drive away Winter,  a symbolic dragon, straw dolls and logs are burned.  The ashes are spread across the land for a fruitful New Year.

Traditional Masks of Metenis

The most well-known masks are a crane, a bear, hay vāls, butthead, Wolf, Gypsy, the living dead and death.

  • Metenis Day
  • Metenis Day
  • Metenis Day
  • Metenis Day
  • Metenis Day
  • Metenis Day
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Meteņi is about people eating and drinking as much as they want. During this time pigs were slaughtered, so the traditional holiday dishes are pig’s head and fritters. Parents throw gifts to their children from a height as if the goddess Laima is raining gifts from the heavens.

The Metenis table is loaded with treats – pea balls, beans, barley porridge, pancakes, smoked pork boiled into a porridge of barley and potatoes, pork head, pork ears and tail and bacon buns.

Round shaped scones symbolise the upcoming spring.  Beer used to be specially brewed for the celebrations.  Now you can probably enjoy some very nice craft beers.

If you want to celebrate Metenis Day today, be sure to eat pig, wear a mask and go on a journey.

Just remember – the longer Meteņis is celebrated, the better the harvest is expected following summer.

 

MORE ROMAN PROGRESS

Got my time down to 40 minutes for a  2 1/2 to 3 mile hike in light pack (30 pounds) plus cutting down two small pine trees (soft wood) of about 15 to 20 feet tall with my hatchet. Just finished timing and testing myself.

Also I have divided my packs and rucks into light (30 pounds), medium (50 pounds) and heavy (70 pounds). I thought about making my heavy pack 80 to 100 pounds but given my previously broken back and my knee injuries 70 pounds seemed adequate for my training purposes especially since my Roman Way training (which I’ll discuss later) usually involves carrying tires and logs as well. No sense courting injury, especially at my age. Yeah, yeah, I know, 53 ain’t what it used to be.  People are a lot healthier, stronger, and more youthful than they used to be. Assuming they eat right and take care of themselves. And often I feel like I’m in my thirties, not fifties.

But it took me almost six months to fully rehab my broken wrist from last year and I’m still not up to where my bench press used to be.

However just last week I did 20 pulls ups and later 20 chin ups in the same training routine in addition to my bench presses and the rest of my routine with no wrist pain at all. So that’s good progress as well. And I’m down to 175 pounds, much of which is lean muscle now and so that’s a big advantage.

Also this past weekend I went out in the car and measured where I used to run as a kid. No wonder I was so skinny back then. Turns out I used to run about 8 to 12 miles most every day after school back when I was a kid. Depending on the circuit I took of course. I was thinking I was running more like 4 to 8 miles a day as a kid.

Of course back then I seriously overtrained. I’ve learned better over time.

But now I know exactly how far to run my wife and how to better train her for the mini-marathon she wants to run.

So that’s good too…

THE TACTICAL ATHLETE AND THE ROMAN WAY

Although I like and regularly follow the Art of Manhood this fit in so well with the new training program I’ve developed, The Roman Way, that I decided that this should definitely be shared here as well. This is exactly how I perceive The Roman Way, as being a tactical, personal, mission-oriented, and fully-functional form of athleticism for the average man and woman (and child).

My wife, by the way, who aside from my youngest daughter and myself happen to be the guinea pig(s) for my program has lost nine pounds (so far), regularly hikes and rucks now and every day after her workout and run she chops down two ten to twenty foot tall trees with her hatchet to help clear our land.

Soon I will teach her how to build things out of the trees she cuts down. Anyway enjoy the podcast and conversation. Later on I will return to The Roman Way and discuss it in more detail as I am now writing a book and training manual on the program.

A lot of really good things are happening nowadays in the fields of personal health and athleticism.

 

Brett | January 17, 2017

Podcast, Tactical & Military

Podcast #270: Becoming a Tactical Athlete

We don’t normally think of soldiers and first responders as “professional athletes,” but that’s exactly how my guest today argues they should see themselves. His name is Rob Shaul, and he’s the founder and president of the Mountain Tactical Institute — a research organization dedicated to creating fitness programming that takes workouts outside the gym and gives them a mission-centered focus. Rob believes that soldiers, police officers, and firefighters, as well as folks who participate in strenuous mountain activities like rock climbing and backcountry skiing, should view themselves as tactical athletes and train not just to train, but for a purpose outside the gym.

Today on the show, Rob and I discuss what makes the Mountain Tactical Institute’s mission-focused approach to fitness different from other organizations, why it is that soldiers and first responders should think of themselves as professional athletes, why soldiers in Afghanistan started following his fitness programming for mountain climbers, why there are so many out-of-shape first responders on active duty, and how to train to become a “tactical athlete,” even if you’re a civilian.

Show Highlights

  • Rob’s background and how he got started in tactical training
  • Why do mountain/adventure athletes even need specific programming?
  • How MTI caught the eye and focus of active military members
  • Why different missions and events require specific fitness programming
  • The most important things listeners can know about fitness requirements for military service
  • The fitness culture (or lack thereof) of first responders
  • The safety issues that present themselves when first responders aren’t fit
  • What happens in our society when fitness standards are implemented in police and fire departments
  • How age impacts one’s role in the military, and in first responder departments
  • Why first responders and military members should see themselves as athletes
  • The philosophy behind becoming a tactical athlete
  • Specific fitness benchmarks and goals for police officers, military members, etc.
  • The importance of durability in any athlete
  • Should civilians strive to be become tactical athletes?
  • The next evolution of fitness, and how we’ll move on from gyms and obstacle races
  • What to do when your programming and workouts get stale
  • What Rob calls “the burden of constant fitness”

Resources/Studies/People Mentioned in Podcast

If you’re looking for a fitness routine that’s mission-specific and designed for a purpose, be sure to check out the programs available at MTI. I’m thinking of trying one of them out myself.

Connect With Rob Shaul and Mountain Tactical Institute

Mountain Tactical Institute website

MTI on Instagram

MTI on Facebook

MTI on Twitter

Tell Rob “Thanks” for being on the podcast via Twitter

Listen to the Podcast! (And don’t forget to leave us a review!)

FURCKAED UP – THE ROMAN WAY

FURCKAED UP

I am seriously considering inventing an improved and a modern version of this gear system for my adaptation of the Roman Way. Also I very much like the fact that if you have to go into combat you can immediately shed the weight as compared to a ruck or backpack. I will still use the weight vest to simulate armor but adapt this system for carrying additional weight and gear.

 

 

THE CAT WHO DREAMED OF BEING A DOG

This happened back in 2013. I still miss Alex. Boy thought he was a dawg. All Dawg.

100e2031

(Sam and Alex on point)

I like to watch Sam chase my female cats. He never hurts them but he likes to chase them across the fields and to the woodlines where my female cats either tree, or turn and stop and Sam blunders to a halt to avoid running over them.

Sometimes they will sprint right in front of his face to entice him to chase them. (You know females.)

Once Alex (my male Viking cat) sees Sam chasing the females he’ll go outside and chase them as well as if he’s another dog. And if they tree he’ll sit beside Sam and watch em from the ground as if he’s waiting on em to come back down.

So my two males, dog and cat, sit watching my two female cats as if they are dogs who have treed possums.

It amuses me.

HOMELAND

All of these people died in faith without receiving the promises, but they saw the promises from a distance and welcomed them. They confessed that they were strangers and immigrants on earth.  

People who say this kind of thing make it clear that they are looking for a homeland.

 

If they had been thinking about the country that they had left, they would have had the opportunity to return to it.  But at this point in time, they are longing for a better country, that is, a heavenly one.

Therefore, God isn’t ashamed to be called their God—he has prepared a habitation for them.

THE WORK AND THE WEATHER – ACCULTURATION

Sitting here at the house with all of the doors and the windows open enjoying the cool, cool breeze of the passing storm as I work.

But at least, thank God, the rain has stopped…

SUCCESS!

Superb! And incredible!

 

VIDEO: SUCCESSFUL TEST FOR SPACEX CREW CAPSULE EMERGENCY ABORT

THE PERFECT ESCAPE FROM AN IMPERFECT LAUNCH

This morning, SpaceX did a test run of its Crew Dragon capsule’s abort system. It’s a significant protocol the company would use if the module were ever in trouble on the launch pad.

In 2017, the Crew Dragon will be tasked with ferrying NASA astronauts to and from the International Space Station, and it’s important these men and women are as safe as possible during their missions. That means SpaceX and NASA will need to be prepared for all sorts of catastrophes that could befall the crew, even if these events are incredibly rare.

One such event could include a botched launch, in which the area around the launch pad becomes dangerous during liftoff (perhaps due to an unintended explosion or errant rocket booster). In this scenario, the Dragon and its astronauts will need to get out of there. Fast. So SpaceX has embedded the walls of its crew module with eight SuperDraco engines, which can rapidly carry the vehicle up and away from the launch pad to safety.

According to SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, who conducted a media teleconference after the test, the capsule went from 0 to 100 miles per hour in 1.2 seconds, reaching a top speed of 345 mph. He noted that if any astronauts had been on board, they would have fared just fine. Now, the next few tests for the Crew Dragon include an in-flight abort test and an unmanned launch to the ISS, with the module ready for its intended astronaut riders in two years.

Check out the company’s first critical test of this exit strategy below, with a dummy astronaut along for the ride.

SPACE NET BASE JUMP

I’m behind because I was out yesterday. So I give you:

TITAN’S COLD CURE

Regardless of whether it harbors life on Titan or not such a compound could provide great benefits and numerous applications for our future use, regardless of whether those applications are biological, chemical, or physical.

Also this would make for a great sci-fi story, mundane or hard sci-fi.

 

Ultracold-Resistant Chemical on Titan Could Allow It to Harbor Life

Computer simulations reveal that a compound found on Saturn’s largest moon may be able to form a freeze-resistant, flexible membrane that could encapsulate cells or organelles

This computational finding could have lasting implications for scientists who study Titan’s geochemistry.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SSI

Astrobiologists and planetary scientists have a fairly good idea of which chemicals might indicate the presence of oxygen-breathing, water-based life—that is if it is like us. When it comes to worlds such as Saturn’s moon Titan, however, where temperatures are too cold for aqueous biochemistry, it’s much harder to know which chemicals could signal the existence of hydrocarbon-based life.

A Cornell University team may have found a plausible candidate chemical that future missions to Titan could search for. The computer-simulation study, which appeared in the February 27 Science Advances [http://advances.sciencemag.org/content/1/1/e1400067], found that acrylonitrile, a hydrocarbon known to form in Titan’s atmosphere, can organize itself into a structure having the same toughness and flexibility characteristic of the membranes that envelop cells on Earth and form the boundaries of organelles like mitochondria and the nucleus.

This computational finding could have lasting implications for scientists who study Titan’s geochemistry. For many planetary scientists, it’s their favorite moon. Like Earth, Titan has a dense atmosphere complete with clouds, mountains, riverbeds and liquid seas on its surface. In fact, Titan would probably be the most promising place, rather than Europa, to look for extraterrestrial life in the solar system if not for its frigidity.

Titan is way too cold for life as we know it. At Titanian surface temperatures (–179 Celsius) phospholipids—the chemical compounds that comprise cell membranes—and the water-based solutions that fill cells would be frozen solid. Any life that evolved on Titan’s surface would have to be made of a very different set of chemicals.

In the team’s computer model acrylonitriles formed hollow balls (called azotosomes) that behave, even in the cold, in much the way hollow balls made of Earthly phospholipids (called liposomes) that form membranes in our cells and organelles. Like liposomes, azotosomes can bend into many different shapes and could act as a barrier between the inside and the outside of the bubbles they form, keeping the ethane–methane mix of Titan’s seas from penetrating the encapsulation. (Because this study is the first of its kind, we don’t know much about which hydrocarbons would be inside the azotosome.)

The degree of similarity between the hypothetical azotosomes and Earth-based liposomes was a surprise to the researchers. “I’m not a biochemist, so I didn’t really know what I was looking for [at first],” says James Stevenson, the chemical engineering grad student who ran the computer simulations. “And when I did the calculations—lo and behold!” The simulated azotosomes at Titanian temperature were just as stretchable as liposomes at Earth temperatures. Because flexibility and the ability to withstand poking and twisting are crucial for evolving complex cellular behavior, azotosomes could potentially be a very useful structure for hypothetical alien life in ethane–methane seas and lakes such as those on Titan.

This study demonstrates that “at least in a computer simulation, one can build structures of a size and geometry [roughly] equivalent to the containers that were on the Earth when life began,” says planetary physicist and study co-author Jonathan Lunine. “You can do it with materials that we know are present on Titan…So we’ve presented potentially one step toward the evolution of life under Titan conditions.”

Chemical engineer and co-author Paulette Clancy compares figuring out how life might form on Titan in the absence of liquid water to “trying to make an omelet without any eggs. It sort of redefines how you think about an omelet,” she says.

Scientists will not know whether the acrylonitrile on Titan’s surface actually forms the azotosome structures, let alone whether those structures are components of life, unless a new we send another probe and investigate the hydrocarbon seas’ chemistry in more detail. “Titan is literally awash with organics—but it’s impossible to disentangle them remotely,” Ralph Lorenz, a NASA scientist who designs and builds planetary exploration probes and who was not involved in this study, wrote in an e-mail. “You need to land, sample the material and use sophisticated chemistry instruments (like those on the Mars rover Curiosity) to see how complex the compounds have become and whether they can execute any of the functions of life.”

Lorenz and others have proposed a few designs for automated submarines or torpedo-shaped probes that could remotely explore Titan’s seas, but those missions are several decades away. Furthermore, even if the space agencies began building a craft for a mission to Titan right away, it would be impossible to get it there before Saturn’s seasonal revolution renders the moon’s northern hemisphere inaccessible for direct-to-Earth communications. The hydrocarbons seas are clustered on Titan’s northern hemisphere, and because that hemisphere will be facing away from the Earth, any missions to Titan during the 2020s will require an orbiter companion that can relay signals back to Earth. Orbiters are expensive, so we probably won’t be able to probe Titan’s hydrocarbon seas until the 2030s.

So for the time being Titanian azotosomes will remain a hypothetical. But on the bright side, when the next mission does reach Titan, it will have a much more precise idea of which chemicals it should try to find.

 

 

IS HEAVEN PROGRESSIVE?

Is Heaven static (is everything to be done or enjoyed predetermined or fixed by God), or is it progressive (is it open to being added to and improved upon, etc.)?

(I am not speaking of progressive in the political sense of course, but in the sense of actual and real progress.)

For instance as more and more human souls are added to Heaven (and God only knows what other kinds of creatures and beings) does Heaven expand, and does God allow or even encourage those dwelling there to explore, to discover, to conduct scientific experiments, to create, to do art, to invent and design things, and so forth given the parameters under which Heaven operates? (Which I assume will involve different technologies and physics and biological and operating principles, if those are even the proper terms, than in our world.)

I cannot say for certain but it seems to me, and this is something I have long pondered, that if this world, as imperfect as it is, is open to invention and creation (or at least sub-creation) and experimentation and discovery and exploration and expansion and progress then I can only imagine how open to good and noble progress Heaven will and ought to be.

PLANETS X AND Y

“Planet X” might actually exist — and so might “Planet Y.”

At least two planets larger than Earth likely lurk in the dark depths of space far beyond Pluto, just waiting to be discovered, a new analysis of the orbits of “extreme trans-Neptunian objects” (ETNOs) suggests.

Researchers studied 13 ETNOs — frigid bodies such as the dwarf planet Sedna that cruise around the sun at great distances in elliptical paths. [Meet Our Solar System’s Dwarf Planets]

Image: Planet NASA/JPL-Caltech
Two or more unknown planets could exist beyond the orbit of Pluto in our solar system, new research suggests.

Theory predicts a certain set of details for ETNO orbits, study team members said. For example, they should have a semi-major axis, or average distance from the sun, of about 150 astronomical units (AU). (1 AU is the distance from Earth to the sun — roughly 93 million miles, or 150 million kilometers.) These orbits should also have an inclination, relative to the plane of the solar system, of almost 0 degrees, among other characteristics.

But the actual orbits of the 13 ETNOs are quite different, with semi-major axes ranging from 150 to 525 AU and average inclinations of about 20 degrees.Nightly News

“This excess of objects with unexpected orbital parameters makes us believe that some invisible forces are altering the distribution of the orbital elements of the ETNOs, and we consider that the most probable explanation is that other unknown planets exist beyond Neptune and Pluto,” lead author Carlos de la Fuente Marcos, of the Complutense University of Madrid, said in a statement.

“The exact number is uncertain, given that the data that we have is limited, but our calculations suggest that there are at least two planets, and probably more, within the confines of our solar system,” he added.

The potential undiscovered worlds would be more massive than Earth, researchers said, and would lie about 200 AU or more from the sun — so far away that they’d be very difficult, if not impossible, to spot with current instruments.

The new results are detailed in two papers in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society Letters.

— Mike Wall, Space.com

This is a condensed version of a report from Space.com. Read the full report. Follow Mike Wall on Twitter @michaeldwall and Google+. Follow Space.com @Spacedotcom, Facebook or Google+.

More from Space.com:

ISS SCARE

Good if it is a faulty sensor or relay.

Gas leak scare triggers International Space Station evacuation

Nasa says there is ‘no hard data’ to suggest a leak, and that the most likely culprit is a ‘faulty sensor or computer relay’

Astronauts onboard the International Space Station (ISS) have been evacuated to the Russian segment of the station after alarms were triggered that can “sometimes be indicative of an apparent ammonia leak.” Although an earlier report from Russia’s Federal Space Agency claimed that there were “harmful emissions,” Nasa has since clarified that “there is no hard data to suggest that there was a real ammonia leak” and that the problem is likely “a faulty sensor or computer relay.”

Nasa reports that onboard crew — comprising two American astronauts, one Italian astronaut, and three Russian cosmonauts — followed normal safety procedures and donned gas masks, moving to the Russian half of the ISS and sealing the American segment behind them. The flight control team in Houston reports that crew members are in “excellent shape” and that all other systems onboard the ISS are functioning perfectly.

Canadian astronaut and former ISS crew member Chris Hadfield tweeted that a leaking coolant system was one of the “big three” emergencies that astronauts train for on the station. “Ammonia is used for cooling through pipes & heat exchangers on the outside of Station,” said Hadfield. “We train for it & the crew and MCC [mission control center] have responded well.” He added that the other big emergencies were “fire/smoke” and “contaminated atmosphere/medical.”

NASA is currently updating the situation and says that the most likely cause at this point in time is “a faulty sensor or computer relay.”

Update January 4th, 8:23AM ET: This article was amended to reflect the latest reports from NASA suggesting that the alarm was falsely triggered.

HAPPY TRAILS

My Top Five: The Best Mountain Bike Trails in the CSRA

1

I’m proud to call the the Central Savannah River Area, or CSRA, my home. The CSRA is the the area surrounding Augusta, GA and North Augusta, SC and it’s home to some of the best, least-expected mountain biking in the southeast. I say least expected because we don’t have any mountains here. We’ve got hills, but no mountains. But boy oh boy do we have trails, about 150 miles of them actually, with more in the works. We have many of these trails because of the local MTB club, SORBA-CSRA. SORBA-CSRA has done such a good job in this area that in 2010 IMBA held their biannual World Summit here. So if you’re looking for a place to take a spring MTB trip, give the CSRA a look. In this blog post you’ll find my five favorite trails in the area, in no particular order.

FATS: Forks Area Trail System (SC)

FATS, located in the Sumter National Forest in SouthCarolina,is the crown jewel of the CSRA mountain bike scene, and the only IMBA Epic in South Carolina. It’s 37 miles of fast, swoopy, roller coaster like purpose built mountain bike trails. There are six individual loops, each with a slightly different feel and the trails will satisfyboth beginners and experienced riders alike. There is very little technical terrain at FATS so anyone can ride here and likely clean every inch of trail. What makes this trail fun is the speed – it’s easy to get, and easy to keep. But you do have to be careful with all that speed: there’s a bunch whoop-de-doos that will throw you over the handlebars if you’re not careful.


Riders cruising through some whoop-de-doos on the Deep Step loop at FATS

Mistletoe State Park (GA)

Mistletoe is the anti-FATS. It’s the most technical trail in the CSRA. The trail was not built for mountain biking, even though bikes are allowed now. There are lots of creek crossings – some are easy, some are not. There’s some rocks, and some steep climbs. The trails can be a little confusing your first time out so I suggest looking for a local to show you around. The Rock Dam and Cliatt Creek Nature Trail are the most popular rides, and most locals link them together to form a loop around 6.5 miles long, with a lot of climbing for this area. Mistletoe is the western most portion of the big Thurmond Epic route.


One of the deeper creek crossings at Mistletoe State Park

Modoc (aka Stevens Creek)(SC)

Modoc is another technical trail, for the CSRA at least. Located in Sumter National Forest, the Modoc trail roughly follows Steven’s Creek and has some nice scenic views. Several ditch and creek crossings keep you on your toes on this 6-mile out and back trail. Between the technical bits Modoc is pretty fast and smooth. There is plenty of really nice bench cut singletrack that has been in place for decades and it’s a lot of fun to ride. Locals link Modoc to the Turkey and Wine Creek trails for longer routes.


Only 1/4 mile from the parking lot is one of Modoc’s most memorable creek crossings. Photo: brianW

Bartram (GA)

The Bartram trail is one of the least technical trails in the area, but it’s also one of the longest. The trail is an out and back stretching from the West Dam Recreational Area west all the way to Washington Road, and it’s 22.5 miles one way! The trail runs right through the Petersburg Campground, making Petersburg a great place to stay if you’re planning a visit to theCSRA to ride.

East of Petersburg is known as “old Bartram” to the locals and it is the least challenging side. It is very flat, smooth, and very fast if you want it to be; a great place to take the kids riding. West of Petersburg, or “new Bartram” is a little tougher, with some climbing, whoop-de-doos, and a few technical challenges. The entire trail hugs the shores of Lake Thurmond and has lots of nice views. Bartram is the biggest chunk of the Thurmond Epic route.


There’s something special about lakeside singletrack. Photo: brianW

Canal Trail (GA)

This is probably going to a controversial pick as a Top Five trail but hey, it’s my list and I love the canal trail! It’s a very short 2.8 mile loop inside the city limits of Augusta. This is the only trail in the area that’s within easy riding distance from a large population area. It sits on a small piece ofland between the Savannah River and the Augusta Canal. To make the best use of the land the trail is very tight and twisty, making it a great place to work on your cornering skills. There aren’t any big climbs, but there are a few short steep rooty grunts that can test your skills.It’s a little trail, but it is big on fun!


That’s me, playing hookie from work and enjoying the canal trail on a sunny Friday afternoon in the spring. Don’t tell my boss.

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