Despite my name being closely associated with the term ‘Camping’, I have not done as much of that activity as you might think. More than most people I enjoy smelling like the burning hair off of Smokey the bear and going to the bathroom in the woods, but I am a bit lazy and camping can be a lot of work.
Now it really shouldn’t be that hard if I would really go out into the forest and try to ‘rough it’ like Bear Grylls or our local hobos. But like most city folks, camping for us involves packing half of life’s modern conveniences powered by propane, batteries, or sweat into a cramped car, and driving hours on end to have FUN. I have to store all of that stuff too so with sleeping bags, pads, back packs, and gear - the entire attic looks like a really lousy Army/Navy store.
I honestly don’t mind camping but most of the time camping doesn’t like me. I am not suited for an activity that by necessity ends at dusk and all the insects and animals silently surrounding me would like at least a little taste of my blood. Except for the obligatory hour of burning marshmallows and getting a face full of wood smoke around a campfire, most of the time everyone heads for the tents when the sun goes down. Of course that is just when I am getting my 2nd wind so I typically will wander off and get lost in the woods and have to fend for myself until morning.
You see what REALLY bugs me that I can only make fire with matches and lighters. My real life quest for fire has included a stainless spoon as a reflector, various friction methods, and even a pair of glasses to make a focal point from the sun; but in the end I always resort to matches or I will be left out in the cold.
Once back at our home, I got a ’bee in my bonnet’ that I needed to learn to ‘make fire’ which is not an easy task in icy 20 degree windy weather. Undaunted, I hacked a tree limb down and made a spindle, a bow with twine, and cut a flat branch to drill into. I tried to use dryer lint for a starter nest and I made a spark and ember but like my love of camping, other than a LOT of smoke, the hard work NEVER lit my fire. I drilled away for close to an hour until my wife glared at me disapprovingly and told me to ‘take those stinky smoldering sticks and get OUT OF THE HOUSE!’ Gee I told you I’m a lousy camper and it was REALLY cold outside.