Yesterday, in an improv class I’m taking at the Magnet Theater, we were practicing telling monologues and pulling ideas from them to make scenes. I didn’t end up telling any monologues myself but the suggestion of “camping” came up and my brain raced through hundreds of memories I have from going camping. See, by most accounts, I was a pretty good Boy Scout (I’m an Eagle Scout, after all). Well, one of my favorite camping stories, from way back in 2005, is not about me being a particularly good Boy Scout.
To be clear, this wasn’t any kind of trip sanctioned by the Boy Scouts, we were just 4 Eagle Scouts, off camping on our own. Though we did make sure to constantly remind ourselves and everyone around us that we were Eagle Scouts. Example one, the sign we left on our cars we parked at the base of the mountain:
Our plan, which I’m a little hazy on the details of, was to hike to a shelter and have lunch. After lunch, we would continue hiking up the mountain to get to the campsite we planned on spending the night at. Turns out, getting to the shelter where we had lunch was hard enough to get to and we quit right then and there. This was to be our campsite for the night.
Now with the rest of our day to relax, we decided to build a nice little fire:
That got boring pretty quick for four seasoned campers. I mean, come on, look at the pitiful fire pit. We decided it could use some community service. Here’s the revised fire pit, with a downed tree we found for garnish:
We spent the rest of the day looking for more wood to burn. We even had a bear friend named Boris who helped us carry them all back (he might have been in our heads). Eventually, it looked like this (which even the casual observer would notice that the wood should not be outside of the stone enclosure):
I never think nighttime photos of fires really show the true size of the flame but the amount of wood is impressive enough.
Now, let me explain how hot this fire was. We were hanging out in otherwise near-freezing temperatures in t-shirts and shorts (and at times, shirts were optional). But the only time we’d notice it was cold was if we walked more than fifteen feet away from the fire. The fire was so hot, it was giving our campsite its own micro-climate. As the night went on, we kept adding wood to the fire and became concerned it was too hot. We were all getting sleepy but the fire was still raging. (And we were in Adirondack shelters, which do need an overnight fire for heat.) Long story short, we all fell asleep and we didn’t burn down the forest. We made sure to put that down in the shelter’s journal, too (along with a couple of reminders of who we were):
In the morning, we woke up to it snowing outside. (It was late May but we were also in the mountains of Vermont.) When we noticed it had snowed, we also noticed the ground was so warm from the fire, that snow couldn’t accumulate for a 3+ foot radius around where the fire was (or on the tree above it):
That felt good to reminisce about, though writing this really made me miss camping. I’ll have to remedy that.