Friday, October 15, 2010

Postcards From the Campfire

Once upon a time I considered myself quite the outdoorsman doing my fair share of trekking, camping and exploring the great outdoors of Idaho, Montana and Colorado. My skills were not particularly impressive, as I could not start a fire without a lighter or half pound of magnesium shavings, flint and maybe even another lighter sometimes. What did make me legendary (more so in my own mind more than anything) was the fact I could run amuck over hill and dale for several days with little more than a pocketknife and a handful of lighters. The forest was never burnt down and I made it back mostly in one piece every time. That is the stuff of legends, right? Sort of? Pocketknife incident at Big Creek aside (I was seven years old), I still consider myself quite the outdoorsman.

My first excursions were as a youth and referred to as my “dangit” trips. They are named as such because most of the trip I would mutter or yell “Dangit!…forgot the sleeping bag” or the more common “Dangit!…forgot the can opener.” One fourth a can of chili or pork and beans opened with a rock tastes better than a full can opened with an electric can opener. I am sure of this. Mostly sure that is. But I learned quite a bit and was able to explore a good deal of territory before I was an adult and got sucked into this whole work\pay bills thing.

Now that work and fishing have completely taken over my time and outdoor interests, my camping said long reaching outdoor trips have suffered greatly. In truth I am lucky to sleep on raw dirt and jagged rock with a lovely mixture of pine needles poking me throughout the night about two or three times a year. I know that I make it sound glorious. Trust me, it’s even better than this when large thunderstorms and bears stop by in the night to say hello.

“Dangit!…forgot where I put the pepper spray!”


“Dangit!…found the pepper spray!”

(Sigh) I can’t wait to go camping again.

Here is a small mix of photos from one of the more glorious camping trips taken this year.

Original “Hot Plate”

Brewing some water for coffee. I redid the pitiful fire pit that was here before adding some wind protection and less likelihood of fire escaping. Campfires require vigilance and responsibility.

Coffee confessions: My pallet does not require fancy grinds or special brews when it comes to coffee. I can drink a Columbian roast or even Folger’s instant when needed. Maybe the real trick is letting me know what you prefer before we leave for the trip.

Storm rolling in

Drive many hours to reach the camping spot. This is a tiny slice of lake paradise near Florissant. I try to visit once or twice a year. Never fails that as soon as I reach the destination, get things set up and look to dinner and an evening with the firelight…a storm rolls in. Storms tend to circle here for some reason so the deluge may come in repeat performances. Evening entertainment consists of lightning, thunder and pounding rain.

One time while camping I dreamt that I had reached the doors of Asgard. When the mighty doors swung open Thor greeted me and he was pissed! He began wailing upon me with his mighty hammer. Then I opened my eyes and realized that it was only a dream.

“Oh, I am just camping again.” I mumbled and went back to sleep.

By morning most everything stored was still dry but a small lake had formed at the corner of my tent. The lake was eyeballed for rising fish while making coffee. Might have given it a cast or two if something big rolled on the topwater. Finished coffee, hit the lake. Nothing.

“Maybe the fish moved upstream to the tent.”

Bear tracks

Here are some bear tracks found in the mud only a few hundred feet away from camp. Bears can get a little nosey around campsites and tracks like this make me sleep with one eye open. There are actually two sizes most likely indicating mother and cub.

“Great…Momma bears are always so friendly with cubs around.” I said moving past the muddy cove inlet towards the other side to fish.

(Above: These were the prints that were most clear out of the many scattered along the muddy shoreline. )

Apologies for milking another “filler” post into the blogilicious material. I pride myself on fabulous fishing content and go to great lengths to keep pouring it on month after month. Going through the hard drive and moving stuff into the archives I came across some extra footage. Sort of like a Photos from the Field excerpt but from some camping done a while back. The lake itself was a no-go. Fish were laying low and probably suffering from summer heat. This place is much better in the spring.

“Didn’t get eaten by a bear at least…not too shabby.”

Good luck and Good Fishing.


Savage said...

I loved the camping content. Looks like you had some fun trips, great photos.

Stone Fox said...

Great post! I enjoyed it very much :)

Reading about being outdoors helps when you want to be outdoors but can't.

The Sowbug said...

Everyone should be allowed to experience a thunderstorm in the Rockies.

Dog Hair in my Coffee said...

I love camping, and don't care what kind of coffee you bring, as long as you bring some. Camp coffee has it's own special taste anyway, usually complete with a few grounds on the bottom! The thunderstorm is beyond awesome. Wish you had taped an hour of it! Wake up every day and know how lucky you are to live where you live, to know you can fish and camp where you do. You are a lucky man, and I loved this post!

The Average Joe Fisherman said...

Luaghed about the pepper spray part. Nice job!

The Average Joe Fisherman

sage said...

I enjoyed your camping content story--thanks for sharing them and the photo... When I backpack, I take Folger's singles, but when I canoe or camp out of the back of my truck, I take good coffee and a peculator.

hajarwan said...

I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. Great post, concise and easy to understand. I like this post..

I found out that this blog is very interesting and informative.
Best of luck to you!

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Autumnforest said...

Oh, you lucky, lucky boy! I'm in the desert and not a lot of appreciation for wandering around in it. What I would do for lakes and mountains and greenery and mists! Love the smell of woodsmoke and pine oils. My father came to America from Norway and he used the same references. My Nordic/Highlander mix makes me love cold water and icy temps. Enjoy it for me. It never really reaches the SW. Love the "dangit" references. Sounds like my ghost hunts, actually. I have on my bucket list to go looking for Bigfoot. Maybe I'll just have to hire you as my tour guide. (Just so long as you remember the pepper spray)

My Mane in the Wind said...

Wonderfully blogalicious! I especially loved the sound of the thunder and rain. We rarely get that here in California -- I have to return to Kentucky to get my fill.

Stephanie & Dustin said...

You must be a rain man as well. No matter when we go to hike, camp or fish the rain inevitably follows Dustin. Great thinking recording it! Awesome video.

Bear spray...been there! Too funny!

Love the blog. I'll be a regular!

Cofisher said...

I relived every memorable, miserable camping trip I ever went on. Enjoyed it!

Coloradocasters said...

Thanks for the positive support, folks. This post was meant to highlight some of my tongue and cheek writing style borrowed a bit from Pat McManus and others. Eventually I hope to get paid for this material and this blog helps me grow my writing on many levels. Once again, I thank you all for your continued patronage.

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