Saturday, December 31, 2022

2022 By The Numbers

 The blog has been pretty silent this year. I hope to do more writing next year and maybe use this space to preview a few projects. However I can't miss this yearly post as it was my Mothers favorite. Anyway my past year by the numbers:


I don't just use this section for shooting but more for training in general . 

I attended a Closed Guard BJJ Seminar at Pella BJJ.

I attended and passed a 2 day National Outdoor Leadership School Wilderness EMT recertification course.

I attended Shivwork's Extreme Close Quarters Concepts for the 3rd or 4th time. Tons of takeaways as usual.

I attended The Personal Defense Network's Home Defense Tactics.

I attended and passed Tom Given's Rangemaster 3 day Instructor Development Course.

I attended Resilience Developments Practical Shotgun Course 

I was lead instructor for :

3 Casualty Care Medical Classes

18 Permit to Carry Weapons Courses

3 Introduction to Defensive Pistol Courses

1 Intuitive Defensive Carbine Course

1 Knife Control Concepts Course

5 Intuitive Defensive Shooting Courses

15 Advanced Cardiac Life Support or Pediatric Life Support Courses


I hiked,walked and biked a little over 300 miles this year. I am mostly constrained to those activities due to my left knee injury rearing its ugly head again this year. Just trying to lessen the impact.

I trained Brazilian Jiu Jitsu/ Defensive Tactics a little over 159 hours this year. I helped coach the kids program for the 4th or 5th year. I received my Purple belt after 6 years of training this past summer. I am starting to teach my own adult class at our Academy in 2023. As most people do I wish I would have started training earlier in life. But as they say the best time to start training is when you are young and the second best time is now.

I maintained a pretty consistent workout schedule of 2-3 times per week. Mostly hiking,stationary bike and BJJ for cardio. I used Kettlebells and Sandbags for strength training. My weight ballooned up to the high end at 223 lbs earlier this year. My weight is directly tied to my love of food. As my discipline in that regards waned my weight increased. I started being a little more disciplined a few months ago and am back down to around 207 lbs with a goal of 190 lbs in 2023.


As I mentioned I have been light on the writing this year. I did write a few blogposts but my big accomplishment was getting published in a real live book. I contributed to a Public Safety Anthology entitled Perspectives, help a brother out and buy it on Amazon .

I taught hundreds of hours this year. I taught as an adjunct at the University of Iowa Emergency Medical Services Learning Center and accepted a full time position there as of 2023.I also taught at Kirkwood Community College as an adjunct. I quit my FT job as a Paramedic to start teaching more and start that glide path to retirement. I plan on still working PT as a medic in the years to come or perhaps as a volunteer. 


222 EMS calls ran

200 odd hours as a reserve police officer

40 years since joining the US Army

35 years married

34 years since Ranger School Graduation

32 years since SFQC Graduation

 28 books read this year

18 years since Army retirement

16 years since starting EMS

9 Audiobooks finished

8 years as a Paramedic

This blog is 12 years old


Be an asset not a liability. See ya next year

Tuesday, November 15, 2022

Be An Asset

When I teach any kind of skill, I often tell folks it needs to become automated.  We start off  any skill development cycle with unconscious incompetence , we don’t know what we don’t know. Eventually we realize that we need to acquire a particular skill that we don’t currently possess. This is conscious incompetence. After some expenditure of time, effort and energy we acquire the skill but it talks all our focus to perform it correctly. This is conscious competence. After much reputation and practice we become unconsciously competent. The skill is performed effortlessly with seemingly no thought. It merely happens as if by magic. Think of all the skills in your life you perform to this degree. Now think of all the skills you want to and practice. #holisticselfdefense #beanassetnotaliability 

Thursday, April 14, 2022

The Mighty Mighty Buck Knife

From 1995 to 1998 I was a Military Freefall Instructor in Company B, 2nd Battalion 1st SWTG(A). More commonly known as the "HALO" Committee. At the time this was a joint service school and we had students from every part of the Special Operations Community. Army Green Berets and Rangers, Navy SEALS, Air Force PJ,CCT,SOW, Marine Force Reconnaissance, and Foreign Allies. It was a great environment and probably one of the best if not the best job I ever had.

 I managed to teach in all 3 courses during my time there. I was a Basic Course instructor teaching the new generation of Military Freefall Parachutists how to do the thing. I was a Jumpmaster Course instructor teaching experienced parachutists how to successfully plan and execute HALO/HAHO infiltrations and sending them back to their units as subject matter experts. Finally I finished up my tour as an Advance Course Instructor, training and evaluating the next generation of MFF Instructors. 

Like all good things my time eventually came to an end and I got orders to do a permanent change of station move to 1st Battalion 10th Special Forces Group (A) in Germany. One day, as I was out processing in the company headquarters a friend of mine Jeff pulled me aside. Jeff was a senior instructor and one of my mentors. He was originally from 1st Group and I think this was his second time on the HALO committee.  Jeff said " Hey I want to give you something." He handed me a small box. I opened it up and inside the box was a small little folding knife. It was worn and scratched. It looked like it had just came out of your Grandpa's pocket and been placed in the box.  The only thing on it was the word "Buck" engraved along the spine of the blade.

Jeff said" When I was a junior weapons NCO my Team Sergeant gave me that knife. He gave it to me because he thought someday I would be a good Team Sergeant. He said the only rule was I had to pass it along someday. Well I'm giving it to you. You have done good things here. I know you will do good things for the Regiment. There is only one rule, when the time comes you have to pass it along."

I didn't know what to say. It was a heartfelt gesture between warriors and co workers. I thanked Jeff and shook his hand. I left with the little box containing the Mighty Mighty Buck Knife in my hand. I never saw Jeff again after that. That's how it is in the military sometimes. 

I moved to Germany and rotated through many assignments within 1st Battalion. Senior Weapons Sergeant, Assistant Operations and Intelligence Sergeant, Battalion Operations NCO and Interim Team Sergeant for a Deployment. I always had the buck knife in my ruck. I became promotable to Master Sergeant about the same time I was due to rotate back to 10th Group Main at Fort Carson.

When I showed up to Fort Carson I was assigned as the Team Sergeant of the 3rd Battalion Military Freefall ODA. That was in September of 2001. As you can imagine the years and months after my arrival were busy. Multiple deployments both real world and for training. My career culminated with a behind the lines combat infiltration into Northern Iraq in 2003. My team conducted many missions during our time in Iraq and everywhere we went the Mighty Mighty Buck Knife was with me. 

Upon our return I dropped my retirement paperwork and started to get ready to transition out of the military after 22 years. Another MSG took over my team and they allowed me to take some college and basically ghost while the rest of the unit was preparing to go back overseas. But I had one more thing to do before I left for civilian life. 

One day I caught Ian, my junior communications NCO, in the hallway. I said "Ian, come on back to the loading dock I have something for you." We walked behind the company to the loading dock and I handed him the little box. He opened it up and looked at me puzzled. I told him the story of the Mighty Mighty Buck Knife.  I said" You are the youngest guy on the team. You kept a level head and did a good job in Iraq. I think someday you will make a good Team Sergeant. The only rule is you have to pass it along" He nodded and we shook hands. He went back to the team room and I got in my car and went home. I never saw Ian again.

Its been almost 18 years since that conversation. I hope somewhere the Mighty Mighty Buck Knife is still out there kicking ass.


Monday, December 27, 2021

2021 By The Numbers


I almost didn't do this post this year. I have generally neglected the blog in favor of sites like Instagram, Facebook etc... but I lost my Mother this past July and she always asked about and enjoyed my yearly numerical recount. So this is for you Mom

Shoot Move and Communicate Fitness was a general failure this year. There were some high points like consistent BJJ training but otherwise I need to do better in 2022

Goal 700 miles run,bike or hike- Actual just over 320 miles. Not the best I have ever done. I just lost interest this year. 

Goal 36 30 minute dryfire or range sessions- Actual 36. I met this goal so that's good. But this is also counting some 8 hour classes.

Goal 208 workouts of  over 30 minutes- Actual 210. Just barely made it

Goal 104 yoga sessions-  Actual 5. LOL not even close. My doctor says I need to do this to help my sore back. So I need to do this.

Goal 2500 PU,10000SU,10000PU- Actual unsure the amount as I lost the total sometime around September in an app crash. But I was well under the goal. Also lost interest

Goal 104 hours BJJ and 24 Hours No Gi BJJ- Actual 134 hours total with 26 hours of No Gi. Yes met my goal.

Classes attended-  10 pretty eclectic mix of medical, survival, shooting and fighting

Knife Control Concepts ID-Aaron Janetti

EWO- Craig Douglas

EMS Instructor Update

GST1 Recertification- Gracie University

ECQC-Craig Douglas

Webinar Grappling in a Weapons' Based Environment- Cecil Burch

Two Person Armed Defense-Rob Pincus

Pathfinder School Basic Survival Course- Dave Canterbury

Glock Armorer- Glock Staff

Next Level Pistol- Mike Anderson


266 EMS calls

170 hours Reserve PD

68 individual courses taught- Subjects ranging from 2 hours seminars on how to clean a firearm to 16 weeks Emergency Medical Technician curriculum. Including Pistol, Rifle, Medical, Knife defense, Grappling, Managing Unknown Contacts and Permit to Carry


Goal- Read 20 books. Only managed to finish 15 this year

Goal- Listen to 10 audiobooks. Crushed this one with 14

Goal- Write 12 blogposts and/or 2 articles. Although I have well over 12 blogposts. I didn't really "write" any. Mostly pictures posted with a few lines. Definitely not as prolific as I was a few years ago. Ill try to put pen to paper this year. 

That's a wrap I guess. I lost a lot of my statistics in that app crash. I downloaded a new one to keep track of things in 2022. Love you Mom hope you enjoyed it. 

Saturday, September 11, 2021

To Be or To Do

 Colonel John Boyd was famous for being a legendary fighter pilot and for popularizing his famous OODA loop theory of human cognition. Colonel Boyd was also famous for other things, like his questioning of authority and the fact he never made General.  He once challenged us to Be or to Do

Boyd said "To be somebody or to do something. In life there is often a roll call. That's when you will have to make a decision. To be or to do? Which way will you go?

What did he mean by this? Boyd was trying to say that we can be somebody, gain recognition and be a big shot or we can do something and make positive change. They are not mutually exclusive but they are not the same thing. Many of us, myself included, will fall into a trap of trying to chase that next promotion or the next best thing. we will worry about what others think of us and try to impress them. 

The famous Roman Emperor and Stoic Marcus Aurelius' said " It never ceases to amaze me: we love ourselves more than other people, but care more about their opinions than our own." We often agonize over what people think of us when really they are not thinking of us at all. We can continue to try and impress those that barely notice or we can do. 

We can do by effecting positive change. The US Army Special Forces call themselves "The Quiet Professionals." USASF conducts hundreds of missions globally in support of the National Command Authority objectives and they consider it mission success if no one even knows they were there. 

So are we to be about impressing others or are we to devote our life to leaving things better than we found them? Are we to spend our time accumulating wealth and accolades or strengthening our bodies, minds and families?

On this, the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks choose to do, be a quiet professional.

Friday, July 30, 2021

Sharron McElmeel Great Grand-Grandmother, Grand-Mother, Mother, Wife, and Literary Warrior 13 Sep 1942- 26 July 2021

 Buried my Mother today. Here is the Eulogy I read. So many nice things were said. I can't even begin to encapsulate what she meant to me. 


“You will give yourself relief, if you do every act of your life 

as if it was your last-”Marcus Aurelius Meditations Book II

My Mother lived a life worth living. She touched so many lives 

you would be hard pressed to find them all. Through her many activities 

as an Educator, Literacy advocate, Champion of those that couldn’t  

champion for themselves,Wife, Mother, Grand-Mother and Great-Grandmother. 

She was always trying to gently nudge people to be a better 

version of themselves. 

I remember when I was 4 or 5 years old and she brought home 

discarded Dick and Jane Books and started teaching me to read.

I remember when I was in elementary school and  she took 

me to Pizza Hut to get my very own personal pan pizza for finishing 

the Book It Summer reading challenge. I was so excited!

I remember not being able to get away with anything in 

High School because she was the head Media Specialist 

at that High School.

I remember her showing me the albums in that same library. 

The music I listened to then has colored my musical tastes to this day. 

I remember how angry she was when I joined the Army. 

We argued. She wanted me to get an education and 

she thought I was making a mistake.

I also remember how proud she was of my career 

and all the questions she had about places I lived. 

I remember how proud she was of me when I finally got that education. 

When I received my Masters Degree she had my diplomas, 

all my diplomas matted in a huge display at what must have 

been a significant expense. 


I remember her constantly helping my children navigate through life’s issues. 

They would regularly call Grandma for help often before calling me. 

I remember her refusing to give any of those same children any 

Christmas or Birthday present other than a book. 

“Readers are leaders Michael..she would say”

I remember her turning every conversation back to children's literature.

 “Hey did you know XYZ author wrote a book about this? 

No Mother but why don't you tell me

I remember many political discussions. My mother and I were 

opposed to many things politically and sometimes it got heated 

but never disrespectful and she always listened to my side 

sometimes even changing her mind.

I remember her talking about her trip to Switzerland for years afterward.

For a small town girl from Iowa it must have been an exciting experience. 

I remember people asking her “ How can you have 6 only children” 

It was obvious she treated us all with her full attention every time. 

I remember her excitedly talking about her Grand-children and 

Great Grand-Child. It was another chance for her to personally 

influence young lives. It was her mission for them to not 

accept the boundaries they set for themselves. 

I remember talking to her 2 weeks ago. The last time I talked to her 

she was in the basement because of a tornado warning. I had called 

to see if she was ok. She assured me she was fine, 

I told her to stay safe and we hung up. It was a short conversation. 

I wish it would have been longer. 

I remember this past Wednesday. I was hiking with my dog and 

I thought of her every time I saw a butterfly or purple flowers.

Your Mother is always with you! ©

By: Deborah R Culver

She’s the whisper of the leaves as you walk down the street.

She’s the smell of certain foods you remember, flowers you pick, 

the fragrance of life itself.

She’s the cool hand on your brow when you’re not feeling well.

She’s your breath in the air on a cold winters’ day.

She is the sound of the rain that lulls you to sleep, the colors of a rainbow.

She is Christmas morning.

Your mother lives inside your laughter.

She’s the place you come from, your first home.

She’s the map you follow with every step you take.

She’s your first love, your first friend, even your first enemy.

But nothing on Earth can separate you.

Not time.

Not space.

Not even death.

Sunday, June 13, 2021



A few weeks ago I was in a very dark place. I don't often let life get to me and outwardly people would say I appear to have my shit together. But  internally I allowed myself to be overwhelmed by the totality of my perceived failures. 

What are those failures? I felt like I wasn't progressing professionally, intellectually or athletically. I have attended some training classes in the last 6 months where I perceived I didn't met my own standards. I am doing a job I love but maybe there is no where to go from there? My workouts are no  less  intense, however the volume is waning, as recovery is not only essential but mandatory to maintain the status quo. I have essentially quit running, an activity I used to be obsessed with. Ultimately I felt that at 57 years old I have peaked and things will never progress farther. After a literal lifetime of setting and conquering goals I am struggling to keep from sliding back down the hill. This is very hard to accept. 

"The more we value things out of our control the less control we have-Marcus Aurelius"

I became acquainted with Stoic philosophy a few years ago and have read most of the famous texts. I try to apply the tenets to my life the best I can. As happens to all of us while seeking self improvement I tend to do this imperfectly. After moping about for a few days I realized my descent into depression was all due to EGO. I was feeling down because of what I perceived others thought of me and my failings. What I realized is that I cannot control others perceptions of me. Quite honestly the majority of people are too worried about their own life and problems to think about me at all. Those friends and family that reached out to me were kind and uplifting. My entire focus was wrong. 

"We suffer more in imagination than reality-Seneca"

Making a conscious effort to control the EGO has been liberating the last few weeks. Trying very hard to no longer care what others think about me but to continue down the path as best I can has lightened my mood and increased my enjoyment of the day to day. A small example, I have always had body image issues. I have not been gifted with the most natural physique or most athletic skills. I have worked hard over the years to maintain fitness and develop skills. But genetics being what they are age and time have blessed me with what most would call a "Dad Bod". Recently I mowed my yard with my shirt off because it was hot. No big deal right? To me that was huge. I can count on my fingers the times in my life when I have been in public without a shirt on after the age of 10. I decided to not care what others thought. I quit worrying about what I couldn't control ( their thoughts) and worried about what I could control ( my comfort). Its a small step further down the path. 

I will continue to fail going forward but as Ryan Holiday said in his book Ego is the Enemy, the work is enough. 


Sunday, January 17, 2021

Blog update

 In an attempt to contextualize and revitalize my literary output I will be stopping the mission creep here at the Former Action Guy Blog. Going forward this blog will only contain "War Stories and Random Thoughts"

To follow my instructional posts go to


 To see posts on my personal training go to



Thursday, December 31, 2020

2020 By the Numbers

 2020: Scam alert over how we write the year in France
 Seventh annual yearly numbers recap

Physical activity

  500.00 miles ran,rucked or walked. Did not hit my goal of 1000 miles.That's about 238 less miles than last year. My movement suffered this year for a lot of reasons. None of them that are good excuses. Making my goal 700 miles for next year with a pie in the sky goal of 1000.

192 workouts that's an average of 3.69 a week, Did not hit my goal of 4 workouts per week. Going to keep this goal the same, I think it is attainable.

5330 push-ups,5335 sit-ups,2320 burpees and 1127 pullups for the year.  None of these hit my goals. The Derecho we had really put a cabash on things due to the loss of my Garage gym. Still no excuse I was just lazy. The original goal was 10,000 pushups and situps , 5000 Burpees and 2500 Pullups. I hit those goals in 2019 so I will keep this goal for next year .

113 BJJ sessions and 210.50 hours of training. That's an average of 2.17 sessions/4.04 hours per week.  Hit my goal of at least 2 session per week. My unbroken attendance streak was stopped at 137 weeks due to COVID shutdown. I will keep this goal at 2 times per week.

21 No Gi BJJ training sessions for the year. My original goal was 2 session per month. I averaged 1.75 times. I will keep this goal the same.

No BJJ Competitions or Go Ruck events this year. I am probably done with both of those. No races either due to COVID cancellations

Mental Activity and Personal Training

13 books read. My goal was 20. I will keep this goal the same. 

11 Audiobooks listened to. My goal was 10. I'll keep this goal the same.
1 BJJ Seminar conducted by 7 time World Champion Xande Ribiero
1 Shivworks Edged Weapons Overview Class

1 Land the Plane class ( my 11th time attending this curriculum)
1 Minnesota CCW Class (renewal)

1 Wilderness Upgrade for the Medical Professional ( Certified as a Wilderness EMT)

1 Shivworks Vehicle Combatives and Tactics Course

1 Flight Medic Course ( Not complete yet)

I didn't get a pure shooting course in this year due to COVID. Hopefully next year. Plan to continue the Flight PM class, attend ECQC and EWO again as well take a basic survival class as a refresher.

Teaching Activity and classes taught

1 Community Stop the Bleed class

2 CPR classes

2 Pre Hospital Trauma Life Support Course

1 Advanced Medical Life Support Course

2 Emergency Medical Technician Courses

1 Advanced Emergency Medical Technician Course

1 Paramedic Course

1  Active Shooter Response Course

3 Casualty Care 1 Courses

3 Casualty Care 2 Course

5 Introduction to Defensive Pistol classes
2 Fundamentals of Home Defense Handgun Classes

3 Intuitive Defensive Shooting classes
1 Managing Unknown Contacts Class 

1 Co taught an ICE Training Defensive FireArms Coach  Instructor Development Course

1 Seminars spoken at- Benton County EMS Day

Episode as a Podcast guest

Writing and Podcasts

7 Podcasts episodes produced

10 Personal blog entries

11 Professional blog entries

1 published article on self defense tactics

EMS and PD

256 EMS calls attended.This year was the reverse of 2019. I left my full time teaching gig and went back to being a full time Paramedic about 3/4 through the year. I also quit my PT Medic/Service Director job and went down to just one EMS job.

106 hours worked as a Reserve Police Officer. 

Random Numbers

38 years since Army enlistment
16 years since Army retirement
32 years since Ranger School graduation
30 years since Special Forces Qualification Course Graduation
14 years since becoming an EMT
6 years since becoming a Paramedic
33 years since marriage

That's it. Another great year


Friday, October 30, 2020

Vehicle Combatives and Shooting Tactics (VCAST) 10.9-10.12 2020

Earlier this month I traveled to the Council Bluffs area to participate in a Shivworks Alumni only class hosted by LGHK and taught by one of the nation's foremost experts on entangled weapons fighting, Craig Douglas of Shivworks.  I have attended Craig's Extreme Close Quarters Combatives and Edged Weapons Overview courses multiple times and he is one of my favorite instructors and favorite people quite honestly. His classes are a mixture of good humor, good information and good ass kickings. 

Day One was a short Friday evening session of approximately 2 hours. We spent those two hours learning the proper way to "debus" from our vehicles. As is usual with Craig's coursework I gained a depth of knowledge I didn't even know I needed to know. We exited our vehicles starting belted and un belted, drivers side and passenger side. Passenger side from the drivers side and vice versa. We exited with weapon in hand and without. Time well spent on a subject that seems pretty straightforward. 

Day Two was Saturday. 
Day Two is primarily a range day. We spent the majority of the day engaging targets from inside our vehicles ( using your personal vehicle sure heightens the attention to detail). Both passenger side and drivers side, side and front facing. With a passenger and without. On your side and acrossed to the other side. After working  on engagements from the inside we moved outside and used the car as cover to engage targets and each other using simunitions and Tguns. Finally we wrapped up the day with a scenario using Tguns and vehicles. This scenario tested your MUC skills and your decision making, as well as your markmanship. 

Day 3 was Sunday

Day 3 was the most physically demanding day. Day 3 started with 4 hours of in car grappling. Craig and his Assistant Instructor Scott Oates compared this block to "BJJ and Rock Climbing in a vehicle" We explored many options both as passenger and driver. With the agressor inside the car and out. This culminated in another 1 on 1 EVO between students in the car. 

The afternoon of Day 3 was more of an experiment as we shot various rounds of various calibers and from varios platforms into some vehicles to see the effects. Day 3 ended about 1600. 

As usual this Shivworks offering was fantastic. I learned alot that I was able to apply immediately. I also gained knowledge that will allow me to articulate my reactions if I get caught in a situation similiar to the ones in class. Thanks to Craig and Scott for the time and instruction

NOLS Wilderness EMT

The final scenario on the night of day 4 was one of the most realistic and well-guarded secrets I have experienced in my time as an EMS student, practitioner, and educator. Day 5 was final testing, both written and practical. Leaving as a certified WEMT is a highlight of an otherwise crappy year.  

In Early August I traveled to Western North Carolina to attend a Wlderness EMT course. I had been trying to take this course for almost 2 years and was finally getting the chance. The course was held in Cullowhee NC at the Landmark Learning Campus. LL has a great Campus and the instructors are top notch. 

I spent the week attending what was essentially an accelerated EMT course with a wilderness slant. The course was limited to medical professionals so the learning curve was sharp. I was housed in my 2 man tent surrounded by the woods at night. 

Every day followed a pattern of scenario and lecture as we covered all aspects of EMT scope of practice. We delved deep into consideration for remote medicine and how to make do with what you have. 

Thursday, July 9, 2020

Yellow River Forest and Backbone July 2020

My Labrador and hiking companion Mel went with me on a short overnight hiking trip this past week.

We took off on Tuesday about 0800 for the 2 hour drive to Yellow River State Forest in Northeast Iowa. Once we showed up we geared up signed in and headed out. This is the same place we did some hiking last year so I was familiar with the area. We decided to do some exploring and go a different route from last year. That lead to our first tactical error. The first mile on the trail we selected was super steep. It took us about 45 minutes and Mel was blowing pretty hard. Being a black Lab she gets overheated quickly and its was over 90 degrees. We rested, ate  and I took her pack off for awhile. We drank about half our water so my next plan was to make towards the camp we had stayed at last year be because I knew there was a creek there. So we hiked that way drinking the rest of our water enroute.  When we got there I refilled water and let Mel drink her fill. I also got her soaked down from the creek. We then made our way a short distance to the camp site. To take a break. When we got there we ate again and this was about 3:30 in the afternoon. I decided to take a small nap and let us both cool down.  After about 15 minutes I heard what appeared to be thunder and the wind picked up. I decided to set up the tent "just in case." Lucky I did because right after I got the tent up and everything inside it started a torrential downpour. Mel and I stayed in the tent for about 90 minutes before it stopped. At that point neither of us felt like going farther so we decided to spend the night. Day one mileage 5 miles.

The next morning we got up about 0545, ate and filled our water up at the stream. We were back on the trail about 0715. I planned on hiking back to the vehicle and then heading south to our next park. Cooler temperatures and easy terrain made the morning hike enjoyable. We basically followed the backpacker loop except when we veered off to climb a bluff and come back down for the views. Getting back to the vehicle about 1045 we had knocked out another 4.2 miles. 

We then headed south to Backbone State Park. It was about an hour drive to the campsite I had reserved. We laid out our gear to dry from the previous days rain storm. We decided to wait on setting up the tent which turned out to be a good move. I took a day pack and Mel had her pack with a small amount of food. We decided to hike the West and East Lake trail loop. We started about 1200. The first few miles were shady and easy going. But then the terrain changed and Mel was getting noticeably hot. I stopped multiple times during the loop to get her water and dunk her in the lake or streams. She continued to overheat and was getting exhausted. When we got back to the truck I decided to call it a trip. I needed to get her cooled off as I thought she was close to heat exhaustion. This loop was 6.8 miles. Total for the day was 11 miles. When we got home she was sore and very lethargic. I got a little concerned but today she was perked back up after food and water. All and all a great trip and shakeout.