Thursday, September 11, 2014

On knives and preparation


[written 8-23-14]

When I was getting ready to retire from Boeing I attended a company-sponsored series of lectures on retirement. One lady a specialist in gerontology, asked people to hold their hands up if they took 1 medication, then 2, then 3 etc and then said that if there were a pill with no adverse side effects, that would enable them to do away with all their other pills, would they take it? Most people held up their hands. She said it was "exercise." I wonder how many took her advice. I have always been of that mind, but in my case I also exercise with weights so that I strengthen ligaments, muscles even bones. Falling is something that can't be avoided entirely, so the best "preparation" for that is to be properly loosened up before a hike and then pick routes that reduce the chance of tripping or falling -- at least that's what I try to do. Even then I do occasionally wrench something a bit -- but no pain that doesn't eventually go away -- at least so far. But yeah, I used to jump off of things when I was younger and wouldn't do that now.

[Btw, along with those who denigrate the YouTube Survivalist videos, I've noticed that a number of "survivalists" are grossly over-weight and suspect that most of them aren't going to "survive" into their 60s. On the other hand a lot of them provide what seems to be good advice, however long they're going to live.]
As to how I've "evolved," I concede that my hikes aren't as ambitious as they used to be. When I was working in aerospace I'd hike all day on a Saturday: start out before dawn and come home after dark, but now a couple of hours on the soft river sand makes a good hike for me (for my dogs as well, as it turns out). However, I don't do this just once a week. In good weather I'll hike three times a week. In hot weather like we're having now we average twice a week.

I don't hear or see as well as I used to so rely on the dogs for more than companionship, but they seem better at hearing than seeing it turns out. As often as not I will see the coyotes before they do if they are some distance away. If they are nearby in the brush Ben may hear them and go in after them. I'm trying to discourage him from chasing coyotes btw. I actually like the coyotes being down there. I suspect they discourage other hikers and I'd just as soon keep it that way.

In the last few years my gear-head forays have been more into cameras than knives; so I seem to be making up for lost time. I've purchased a couple of small Ka-Bars, the small versions of the USMC Ka-Bar fighting knife, and I also purchased, but don't have it quite yet, the Ka-Bar Heavy Bowie. But actually if its on my belt, the heaviness of a knife doesn't bother me as much as its length -- if it is very long. Hmm. Just now the postman delivered this very knife. I tried it on and the sheath is very stiff. It may be uncomfortable for me unless I can get it to loosen up. I wonder if someone has made an after-market leather sheath for this knife. Is that real leather on the snap braces?

Which takes me to the BK9. I didn't start out looking for a 9-inch bladed knife. I suspected such a knife might be too long to be comfortable on a hike. I don't mind the weight on my very heavy-duty belt as long as it isn't awkwardly moving about as I hike, thus my attraction to the BK2. The BK7 is good as well.

One other thing, the BK2, 7, and 9 are so popular that people are selling after-market sheaths on eBay. That's a big reason for me to favor Becker knives over its competitors (I haven't really checked that, however. I'd be interested if there are other brands that have an equivalent after-market market.)

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