“It’s part of the camping experience!” This is the justifying battle cry of the die hard camper when it comes to the subject of campfires. But I have a distinct love-hate relationship with them. I love the crackling of the wood and the shower of sparks you get when you throw another log on. I love the welcome blast of heat when the night air has chilled me to the bone. I love splitting wood and the satisfaction of seeing a plentiful stack ready for a long winter. I burned wood as my primary source of heat for four long, cold Colorado winters and I cut, hauled, split, and stacked wood for four long, hot summers. I love a wood fire. I love a wood burning stove with a pot of stew bubbling on top in a cast iron Dutch oven.
Those things I love…AND hate. I hate wasting natural resources and polluting the atmosphere. I hate the dirt and bugs you drag into your house when you burn wood. I hate spending all that time cutting, hauling, splitting and stacking only to watch all that hard work go up in smoke. And speaking of smoke….that is the number one thing I hate about a campfire. Seriously, it doesn’t matter WHERE I sit in the Sister circle around the campfire, the smoke ALWAYS comes straight at me. I get up and move…here it comes. Move back…it’ll find me. And I can’t breathe. It chokes me, hurts my lungs, burns my eyes, and I guarantee you everything I own will smell like I’ve been fighting a forest fire for a month. The worst thing is when the campfire dies down, you go to bed, and you lie there in your camper, windows open, hoping to catch a cool breeze or hear the owls, but noooooooo….in wafts this dank smell of wet ash and smoke mixed with fog and dew…creeping over the campground, up the outside wall, through the window and fills my camper. I’m forced to either close the windows and roast or leave them open and cough.
This makes me sound like a boat load of fun to go camping with, doesn’t it? I try really hard to rein it in while I’m camping with others because I truly understand the campfire is a huge part of the camping experience for most people. So I play musical chairs a lot and try not to look too ticked off when the smoke inevitably finds me. But when I’m camping alone, I pull out my propane fire ring (this is the one I use but there are others Camp Chef Compact and Portable Outdoor Camping Gas Fire Ring with Lava Rock https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01GSGSRFO/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_vAn1zbZZ9SE81 ). I set up my chair, turn that bad boy on, roast a marshmallow or two, enjoy the heat, relish in the clear air, and turn it off at the end of the evening. No smoldering ashes to worry about setting the woods on fire. No smoke laying low over the campground and sneaking into my camper. No smelly hair, clothes, bedding, etc. I swear…when Mr. FixIt kissed me goodnight…he tasted like smoke. I kissed him anyway…I’m such a martyr.
I love to camp and I love the looks and sounds of the campfire and the time shared with friends sitting around it. But if I had my druthers, I’d light up the gas fire and call it good. ❤️
“Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire.”
Hebrews 12:28-29 ESV