One of my favourite moments of any outdoor excursion is the campfire. There is something primal about gathering round an open flame for warmth, to cook, sip on a whiskey or drink a few beers. Stories just seem to sound better, more real, funnier or scarier when the only source of light are the incandescent flames.
Like camping my love of the campfire started at an early age. At that point there were two main draws; food and conversation. We roasted marshmallows, boiled fresh corn on the cob gathered fresh from roadside stall along Highway 48 and listened to our parents, grandparents, Aunts, Uncles and friends spin a good yarn. Sometime if the rye was flowing and the mood was right we may have been treated to a rousing rendition of My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean
With age and independence, the fire became a central feature in camping trips or a visit to the cottage. Music and conversation were still a big draw but eating was replaced by drinking (and early morning fishing trip accompanied by headaches). At this stage the creation of the fire became a real draw. Finding tinder, finding wood, chopping wood, cleaning the pit and setting it alight was accompanied by a feeling of accomplishment. Damn it I have earned that beer!
Older still I am lucky enough to share that tradition with daughters, sons, nieces and nephews and experience it all over again. Teaching the importance of good, dry wood or a well-placed tinder bundle. Enjoying the snap of the Jiffy Pop or making spider dogs over the coals. Even on trips with my friends it is one of my favourite times of the day. A good fire can easily compete with a huge fish being caught or an awesome paddle.
There are no perfect ingredients to a campfire but if I had to make a list its pretty simple:
Time is probably the hardest to come by - but I try to remember the fire isn't just a distraction but an investment into my well being.
So on your next trip make sure you invest some of your time in sitting around the fire with friends and/or family - I think it will be a worthwhile exercise.