In early spring of 2007 I decided to quit my job, sell my house along with nearly everything else that I owned, and to live out of my car while traveling the country. These are my stories (and pictures) of life on the road.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Paybacks

If you missed part one of me being violated you can catch up here.

I had a nice day seeing some sites in Maine and as I headed back to my campsite that evening, foolish as it might have been, I honestly expected to see my chair and mug back in their rightful place next to the fire ring. I just couldn't believe that someone would have taken them maliciously and even though it had been less the twelve hours since I'd posted my note I somehow thought that would be enough time.

A great man once gave me some excellent advice, “no expectations, no disappointments”, and I guess I should have listened to him closer. As I pulled into the camp site my headlights swept over nothing but barren ground and firewood. I drove around the park to some of the other sites to make sure the chair hadn't been placed somewhere else. It was nowhere to be seen.

I'd been in such a good mood expecting to have my chair returned to me that day that when I found it wasn't back I was really bummed out. I thought about having a fire but just didn't feel like it. I crawled back into my house and tuned into NPR. I was eventually cheered up a little with the help of some amaretto and listening to Terry Gross interviewing Stephen Colbert, followed by This American Life. I was in pretty good spirits by then and after reading for an hour or so crawled into bed knowing what must be done if my chair didn't show up the next day.

It was Wednesday night and I knew I'd be leaving Friday morning. The day I'd got to the Reversing Falls I'd cut and chopped a lot of firewood, much more then I'd need. I figured I'd just leave everything I didn't use behind for the next camper to use. But the thought of the SOB that stole my chair burning my firewood was more then I could handle. If my chair wasn't returned by the following evening I'd be forced to burn up every scrap of firewood I had.

The next morning I awoke with a mission. A good portion of the wood I'd chopped had been from a fallen over birch tree that was much wetter then I'd thought. It didn't burn well and would take a lot of the fun out of my “fire of spite”. I knew that in order to fully burn all the birch I'd have to get a big, hot fire going before I started to add it a little bit at a time. This meant I'd actually have to go out and chop more wood in order to make sure I could keep it hot enough.

I started my day off by chopping the birch up into smaller, more easily burned pieces, which I then stacked up for easy access in the dark. I stacked the nice dry pine up as well and then walked back into the woods to find some more dry wood. I ended up finding some dead but not yet rotting pines and got a lot more dry wood. I split what needed to be split and threw it in the dry wood pile, greatly adding to what you see in the picture to the left.

With work for the day all done with it was time to kill time until it was dark out. Since it was to be my last day and I'd seen pretty much everything in the area I'd wanted to see I mostly just hung around the park. It was a cool, overcast day and I spent it relaxing, doing some hiking in the woods, and reading. A little before sunset there was still no sign of my chair or mug so I started preparing for the nights festivities.

I began by preparing a nice bed for my fire, which involved laying some small pieces of wood across a couple stones to allow air to circulate up from underneath as well as to give the fire more fuel as it begins to burn. On top of this I piled some small, dead, pine branches.








Now it was ready to get the actual fire going. I found a nice piece of birch bark and tore off some small, thin pieces that would ignite easily; in the midst of these I added some dry moss to help catch and hold the sparks. I'd normally just use a match but since I wanted to look more badass I used my Swedish Firesteel instead. I lit the kindling on the ground to make it a little easier.









Once the tinder was burning I picked up the piece of birch bark, placed it on top of the wood in the fire ring, and then added more small, dry pine limbs on top of it. There was a good breeze blowing through camp and it no time the fire was off and running on its own. I started adding larger and larger pieces of wood and in short order it was burning good and hot.

I kept feeding it lots of dry pine to get it really hot. I wanted to have a lot of hot coals for a bed before adding the birch to the top of the burning pine. With the wind whipping through camp every once in a while it didn't take long. After about 20 minutes I started adding the birch and it didn't stand a chance. The birch hissed and steamed as the water was boiled out of it and soon the first batch of birch was reduced to nothing but embers. I kept adding more pine and more birch to the fire. The wind continued to blow through camp creating an extremely hot and fast fire. After only an hour the birch was no more.

I normally keep my campfires small but it was pretty fun to have a big one. Now with the birch all burned off I could let it burn down for a while before I started adding the rest of the pine. I sat around the fire on an uncomfortable tree stump for a couple more hours while drinking hot chocolate from my crappy uninsulated cup before letting the flames die down for the night. I left just enough wood to start a fire for breakfast in the morning. I went to bed happy, knowing that the dude that ripped off my stuff wouldn't get any enjoyment from my wood.

I woke up the next morning to find it really windy, really cloudy, and pretty cold. I wasn't in the mood for a fire but I surely couldn't leave perfectly good firewood behind. I realized now that since my chair had been stolen I had a nice, blue nylon bag that had no purpose (it used to carry the chair). I pulled it out of the house and found it was just the right size to hold the small pieces of wood that were left. I filled it up, threw it in the back of the house and jumped in myself to start driving south west. As soon as I pulled out of my camp site it started raining and didn't quit for the rest of the day.

1 comment:

Edith said...

I must say you look quite handsome by that fire!

You've reached the end of the page but that's not the end of the stories. If you want to read more (and who wouldn't!?) then click on the archive links to the right hand side of the page. They're listed by month; the adventure starts in May.

The February archives aren't actually from this trip but are previous adventures I've had, which are worth reading as well.