MacKenna’s Gold: Gregory Peck’s Last Great Western Movie

“MacKenna’s Gold” is an overlooked western. The great Gregory Peck plays a marshall who’s given a map to a lost canyon filled with Apache gold. But to reach it he’ll have to travel with a gang of desperados, and face a greedy mob. The gold might turn out to be only a legend — but throughout the movie it stirs up real human passions.

It’s one of the last great westerns, filmed in 1969, which meant it had access to some terrific actors. McKenna’s progress is bedeviled by Omar Sharif — playing an outlaw named “Colorado” — as well as Telly Savalas (who plays a ruthless cavalry officer). Peck’s part was originally offered to Clint Eastwood, and there’s more familiar names in the production. A young George Lucas reportedly observed the shooting as a film student — and the movie benefits from a grand western score by music legend Quincy Jones.

A narrator describes the legend of a lost canyon “rich with gold” that had never found — and the western fun begins. The movie opens with some great aerial photography of mysterious rock formations and canyons. During the sequence Jose Feliciano sings an eerie song about the “Old Turkey Buzzard” who waits for each man’s date with fate. And yes, this includes the men who scheme and “die for gold on the rocks below…”

MacKenna's Gold

The watchful buzzard passes over an old Indian on a horse. The Indian hides behind a rock, and trains his rifle on Gregory Peck. Gun shots echo around the canyon as the Indian tries to kill the man (who he mistakenly believes is pursuing him). In the end Peck refuses to kill the old Apache, and he even remains skeptical of his map to the lost gold canyon. But viewing the map has sealed his fate, since the outlaw Colorado wants no rivals in his own pursuit of the treasure.
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Big Horn Mountains Wyoming, a Place Worth Experiencing

Wyoming, is there really anything important or interesting to be said about the state of Wyoming? Well, contrary to popular belief, then answer is yes. In Wyoming, the land of almost nothing, you will find what I consider to be one of the treasures of North America. That is, the Big Horn National Forest. The Big Horn National Forest is located in the upper portion of the state of Wyoming about a forty five minute scenic drive through the gorgeous countryside plains that are well-known in the state just northwest of the city of Sheridan, Wyoming. One of the most wonderful parts about Wyoming is exactly how desolate the entire area is. It has the fewest people of any state and is yet the ninth largest. This makes it a spectacular place to enjoy the great outdoors. There is really nothing sweeter than driving for an hour or two and knowing you are a hundred miles from the nearest person.

Big horns national forest.

If you are the type of person who enjoys getting away from everyday life, and reality in general, then the Big Horn National Forest is the place to be. Here you will be able to experience total isolation, and the peacefulness of being out in nature and experience the beautiful sites that the state of Wyoming actually DOES have to offer. There are many activities you can do during your stay in the national forest. There are dozens of camping sites, fishing holes, ATV trails, horseback rides, nature trails, and much more. The Big Horn National Forest is definitely for the outdoors type person who enjoys interacting with nature and getting away from the distractions we face in our everyday lives. I have had the pleasure of taking a family trip to the heralded mountains in the Big Horn National Forest, and I can say for a fact, it is the most peaceful place in the world. There are endless amounts of activities for all types of people. It doesn’t matter what you do or don’t like. Rest assured that the frontier WY will have something for you.
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The Best of the Best for an Outdoor Vacation

Wyoming is a place to experience the great outdoors at its best. The state provides a variety of options and opportunities no matter what type of traveler or outdoorsman you may be. A particularly vibrant outdoor area located two hours west of Cheyenne, Wyoming or three hours north of Fort Collins, Colorado, is Saratoga. This quiet Platte Valley town offers a scenic spring or summer getaway for all ages and experience levels. Saratoga, WY and the surrounding area is located at the base of the Snowy Mountain Range and features a multitude of outdoor opportunities including: camping, fishing, boating, hiking, biking, photography, bird watching, and just plain relaxing.

On recent trip taken with my husband, I discovered a new found appreciation for the outdoors. Both of us grew up in Wyoming though we now live in Fort Collins, CO. My husband grew up hunting and fishing with his father and has often reminisced about the glory of the outdoor experience. I am admittedly not much of a camper, but remember going fishing often with my parents when I was a little girl. I am also a photographer and have a general love for nature. Last summer, my husband decided that we should take a four-day trip up to Saratoga for fishing and camping. I figured I could tough it out for a few days even if I wasn’t that thrilled about sleeping in a tent.

Saratoga mountain

No matter which direction you are traveling from, the Saratoga mountain scenery is spectacular to see. Since we have family in Cheyenne, we decided to make a circle trip up through Cheyenne and take I-80 to Saratoga and return via Rocky Mountain National Park and the Poudre Valley back to Fort Collins, CO. Driving through the mountains on both sides was breathtaking. The trees and wildflowers painted the outside of my car window through most of the drive to and from. Although it was mid-July snow still capped the peaks of the Rocky Mountains along the Continental Divide and left a cooling chill in the air. We stopped often to take pictures and take in the amazing scenery.

Lakes, rivers, and camping areas are plentiful around Saratoga and Encampment, Wyoming. We had decided to stay near the North Platte River and the Miracle Mile to try our hand at some fly fishing. This area is known as one of the best trout destinations in the west and my husband was set on catching a prize worthy fish. The popularity of this area means it is often crowded during prime fishing months. I was pleasantly surprised when we found a nice clean camping area near the river with a flat enough surface to pitch our tent.
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Elk Hunting in Wyoming: Part 1

There is really more content to provide here than there is available pages, and with that being said I’ll try to keep this article on the fundamentals and may write another sequel if reader interests prevails.

The most important things to remember when Elk hunting is to know your quarry.

When do Elk bed down?

Where do Elk feed?

DO NOT push Elk from their bedding areas, or for that matter don’t push them at all.

Migrations routes are a vital thing to know?

When are Elk in the rut?

What are Elk eating the time of year your hunting?

At what elevation may you expect to find Elk?

Almost all hunters want an Elk with a huge rack, are you going to be satisfied with a smaller rack, or possibly a cow? Many hunters fail simply due to antler size and come home empty handed.

How much time do you have to Hunt? I wouldn’t go on an self guided Elk hunt without having 2 weeks of vacation.

Are you in shape and can you walk 5-8 mountain miles a day?

Should you use masking scents while Elk hunting.

How much time have you spent for pre-season scouting.

Have you been spending time at the shooting range?

Do you have topo and or forest service maps of your hunting area?

Are you proficient in calling elk with a bugle and cow call?

Do you need camouflage clothing

Elk hunting.

Since this is the first article I’ve written here I’m uncertain of the space allotted so I’ll start with “Where do Elk bed down”
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sorry ive been gone

I apologize for the few number of articles posted over the last 5 weeks, but folks need to make sure that every now and then some time is taken to unwind and relax. Things happening in the nation and the world are getting stranger by the day and far more expensive. We happened to have the ability to take off for a few days and escape reality, so we took advantage of it.

We decided to take a little time off last week and drive up to Orlando to visit the mouse. We are fortunate to be in a location that gives us quick access to a place like this. However, between home and there is a very long stretch of the Florida Turnpike that has a whole lot of nothing. We always make certain the get home bag inside the truck is fully stocked and up to date every time we make that drive.

Something was making the hair stand up on the back of my neck a little more this time. As I was loading up the truck last Tuesday evening I decided to give the get home bag and extra look. I added a few items to the bag including two extra ponchos and a new flashlight. I also threw in some more water bottles, another 50 yards of paracord, two more Mylar emergency blankets, and another Datrex 3600 calorie emergency food bar. I even added a box of band-aids to the bag. I then made sure the tire pump was operable and that the tire plug kit was fully stocked. Everything in the Ram was good to go.

We went inside the house and started packing for the trip. We decided to bring along extra ammo. I threw extra 9mm mags in the bag for my EDC and two extra speed loaders for her Model 37.

I did my normal vacation navigation preps. This included packing the Garmin handheld GPS (a TomTom is already in the truck) and a road map. We have never had a need to use any of these items simply because we know our way around so well, but I refuse to travel without redundancy in navigation.
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Redundancy & Navigation

You are going to read a lot about redundancy in your preps this week.  As you can tell, I can’t stress enough the importance of redundant planning.  Murphy’s Law says that if something can go wrong – it will.  Experience says Murphy new exactly what he was talking about!  That is why it is so important to build redundancy into your preps.

I won’t bore you with another hurricane war story, but I can tell you this…trying to find our way around Miami-Dade County after Andrew hit in August 92 was IMPOSSIBLE. If you have a similar situation where every street sign is gone and familiar landmarks are destroyed, how do you plan to navigate your way around?

Nowadays people rely on the internet, GPS, and smart phones to find where they need to go. I’m guilty of it myself and have to force myself to purchase a map on trips just to ensure practice.  What if you are smack dab in the middle of a SHTF event?  If the power is gone, the cell towers destroyed, and there’s no cable or internet, and you have to leave, how are you going to find your way out?  These are important factors to consider in your preparedness strategies.

Like Monday’s post I am going to offer a list of potential solutions that can ensure you have plenty of redundancy built into your navigational preps:

Road maps:  The good old maps that your dad used to have on family vacations.  Remember these?  I fondly recall sitting in the back seat and following along on the road map as we traveled across country.  Road maps can be extremely valuable to you post-SHTF.  If you are planning on relocating to a BOL or a family member’s home outside the area make sure you have road maps covering the entire travel route.  It’s also a good idea to have road maps for the county you live in and neighboring counties around you.

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Tilapia Farming in the Backyard pt 2

Like I mentioned before, this is all from earlier in the year. I just now got round to posting some of this stuf for my buddies.

The original six tilapia that had been housed in a 35 gallon aquarium inside were now relocated to the 650 gallon pool. The fish were netted and placed into plastic bags, much like regular tropical fish, and allowed to float in the pool in order to acclimate them to the water temperature of the pool. After about a half hour, the fish were released into their new home. These fish were about two inches long when they were released into the clear pool water.

That night one of the tilapia was lost after it jumped out of the pool, so now 5 fish remained. They seemed right at home with the school of little minnows that had occupied the pool during the prior week. Things were going along just fine with the older fish in the pool and the new babies that were occupying the 35 gallon tank inside the house. We figured the current stock would be edible some time around the end of the year.

The babies (I will call them the 2nd generation) were growing rapidly in the 35 gallon tank. They seemed to have bottomless pits for stomachs and would eat just about anything offered. Romaine lettuce seemed to be their favorite. We would simply place a few leaves into the tank and the little guys would chow. They would eat just about any type of fruit, vegetables and even meat.

The 2nd generation behaved differently than the tilapia originally purchased from the farm. They always moved in schools, where as the originals were far more independent. They also were far more aggressive in their feeding habits. These little guys attacked food placed in the tank as if they were never going to eat again. The 2nd
generation fish were being fed 3 to 4 times daily, and they were growing like weeds.
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Backyard Tilapia

The following article may be somewhat more advanced for the beginning prepper.  Please do not be discouraged in your preparedness journey by assuming you are not far along enough in your preps or that this is a must have.  What you are about to read is a really effective way to produce home-grown protein in the event of SHTF.  It also can provide a supplement to your daily food needs during calmer times.

I would also like to comment that I am in no way an expert in raising fish.  A lot of what we accomplished was through trial and error combined with internet research.  The intent of the article is to outline what we did, and to describe our successes and failures.

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According to Wikipedia  “Tilapia is the common name for nearly a hundred species of cichlid fish from the tilapiine cichlid tribe. Tilapia inhabit a variety of freshwaterhabitats, including shallow streams, ponds, rivers and lakes. Historically, they have been of major importance in artisan fishing in Africaand the Levant, and are of increasing importance in aquaculture.”

Tilapia really made it big on the scene here in the United States a few years ago.  A fish people never heard of suddenly was appearing on restaurant menus throughout the country.  Tilapia farms started popping up and all of a sudden this hardy little fish made quite a name for itself.


Tilapias are a very resilient fish and man can they reproduce. A female fish of birthing age can produce extremely large quantities of baby fish every few months.  Interestingly, the momma fish will protect the newly hatched fish by keeping them in her mouth (called mouth brooding).  This is necessary because the other fish in the pond will eat the babies.  Even once the mother releases the babies, they are fair game to more mature Tilapia. They have amazingly
big appetites and can survive through some really harsh conditions. I have even read articles where people in Haiti have begun raising Tilapia in little puddles that were dug by hand for the purpose of raising their own food.In our neck of the woods invasive species are a very big concern to our local environment.  The warm waters
surrounding us are filled with a number of different and dangerous species that can wreak havoc on natural ecosystems.  Whether it is Burmese Pythons or Snakehead fish, all these foreign species need to be closely monitored.  The same holds true for the Tilapia.  Down here the only type of Tilapia that is allowed to be sold and raised is the Blue Tilapia.  This type of Tilapia is already present in Florida canals and waterways and they are not restricted.
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The “Get Home” Bag

What’s in Your Get Home Bag?

It’s Sunday evening and you worked really hard all weekend on your preps.  As you stand back and survey your preps a little smirk of confidence is apparent on your face.  You take a shower, hit the rack, and get ready for the upcoming work week.

The morning alarm sounds at 5:00 AM, you savor your morning coffee and head out for your usual run. Everything is right in the world and you figure it’s a great start to the work week.

After the morning shower you jump in your Ford Taurus and drive the 12 miles to your downtown work office.  Once you get to work, everything’s the same old same old.  Its lunch time and you decide to drive on down to the nearest Dunkin Donuts and grab some lunch and a coffee.  While you’re enjoying your coffee and surfing the internet on your iphone the power suddenly goes out.  It’s a sunny and hot day with no storms, you think it’s strange but decide to
continue your daily internet browsing.  However, when you look down at your cell phone, it’s dead. You think back
wondering if you charged it last night.  Discouraged, you leave and decide to just go back to the office.

When you walk outside you notice a few disabled vehicles in the middle of the road with their occupants standing around looking surprised.  You figure maybe there was a small accident or some road debris.  Oh well, you shrug it off and jump in your car. When you put the key in the ignition and try to start it, nothing happens.  You start to realize
something is very wrong.

You begin to survey your surroundings and start speaking with people about what is going on. Nobody’s electronics work, all cars are dead, and you realize from your preparedness efforts that either an EMP attack or large solar flare has destroyed the grid.  What are you going to do now?

You are 12 miles from your preps and your family.  Its summer time and you know your wife is home with the kids but you have absolutely no way to contact them.  You need to get home to protect and care for them during this crisis.

This will not be an easy task.  You have to cover 12 miles in as little time as possible.  And, to make matters worse, you have to pass through some really rough parts of town to make it safely home.  In between you and safety are thousands of people, predators and victims, which you will have to successfully navigate through.

You are a smart prepper and have tried to cover all the angles in your preparedness efforts. Part of your strategy is the Get Home Bag you put together and carry with you whenever you’re away from home. It’s in you back seat, so you grab it and head out knowing this is going to be one hell of a 12 mile hump.

How successful do you think you would be in getting home without the assistance of your gear?  Twelve miles is a very long way in a stress-filled environment.  Would you make it at all?  One thing for sure, you’re chances increase greatly if you have a well-equipped Get Home Bag.
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The HDX Folding Saw By: GA

We like to do our preparedness shopping early on Saturday mornings before the crowds wake up and start cluttering the stores. Our local Walmart and Home Depot are right next to each other and we visit both on a regular basis.  Earlier this year Home Depot began selling their private line of tools called HDX. These tools are less expensive than the regular name brands and they seem to be of pretty good quality.

I am always looking to add to my inventory of hand tools. In my opinion, hand tools are an important part of a sound preparedness strategy. Every time I wander in to the Home Depot I stop and browse the HDX tools to see if there are any tools that I can add to the tool box. I have purchased a number of different HDX tools from scissors to screw drivers just for the purpose of having a few of everything in case the power goes out and I find myself repairing things the old fashioned way.

Home Depot makes it easy to check out the HDX products. Usually these tools are displayed along the main store aisle near the cashiers. They are always in a very conspicuous location with the intent of having shoppers walk right by them when entering the store.

A few Saturdays ago we walked into the Home Depot and I began checking out the HDX tools when I came upon the HDX Folding Saw. As I inspected the package I thought this might make a really good addition to the bug out bag and the hand tool supply. Here’s the really cool part…this thing was going for five bucks! I figured it had to be a total piece of junk for that price, but since it was so cheap I decided to buy it and take it home for a try.

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I purchased the HDX saw with the bug out bag in mind. Because of its size it looked like it might be really handy in a camp environment. With that in mind, I took the saw outside to give it a try. The HDX saw had no problem cutting through tree branches. It was very comfortable to use and felt pretty solid. The largest branch I cut with the saw was about 4 inches in diameter but I am certain it could cut through limbs larger than that. I couldn’t believe it…five bucks!

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