Should there be a campfire? | High Sierra Topix  

Should there be a campfire?

Grab your bear can or camp chair, kick your feet up and chew the fat about anything Sierra Nevada related that doesn't quite fit in any of the other forums. Within reason, (and the HST rules and guidelines) this is also an anything goes forum. Tell stories, discuss wilderness issues, music, or whatever else the High Sierra stirs up in your mind.
User avatar

Re: Should there be a campfire?

Postby TahoeJeff » Tue Sep 30, 2014 3:02 pm

I spend a fair amount of time in Desolation where all fires are absolutely forbidden. Every fire ring I come across, I dismantle. There still seem to be new rings all the time though. My son and I have started bringing a small lidded plastic container on trips. We pick up every piece of broken glass and aluminum foil we find that almost always litter the old fire rings in most well used sites. Also, we pick all the fishing line, hooks, weights, lures etc. we find around lakes. Of course all the food wrappers and other garbage gets picked up too. So you can whine on line about all the unpleasant things found in the back country, or you can try and do something about it and make a difference.



User avatar
TahoeJeff
Topix Expert
 
Posts: 619
Joined: Thu Mar 08, 2007 11:03 am
Location: South Lake Tahoe
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: Should there be a campfire?

Postby freestone » Tue Sep 30, 2014 3:04 pm

But it isn't a campfire.


Take the pot off, and it's a campfire. Do we really need a bonfire in rocks stacked five high to sing and enjoy the cheer of a fire in the evening?
User avatar
freestone
Topix Expert
 
Posts: 571
Joined: Fri Nov 11, 2005 9:42 pm
Location: Santa Barbara
Experience: Level 1 Hiker

User avatar

Re: Should there be a campfire?

Postby Wandering Daisy » Tue Sep 30, 2014 3:23 pm

You really do not need a ring for a fire. In fact, I do not like rock rings, because eventually your fire sits in a hole and does not get adequate ventilation from below. You simply need to clear a circle of duff and burnable material (like small pine cones, twigs), or preferably start with dirt or sand. Then build your fire. When twigs fall to the side, just push them back into the fire. If you use smaller wood pieces and burn the fire totally, all you have left is a small pile of ashes. There are no soot scarred rocks. Once the ash is totally doused, you could then either scatter the ash or burry them in a hole (like you burry your poop). Then you can "landscape" the site and leave it pretty much with little trace.

If there already is a ring, I use it, but make a vent tunnel. Most established fire pits have too much ash and wood to scatter or burry. I just take a little out as my small part. And pick out others trash if it is there. I do admit that I do not carry out other's glass bottles - just too heavy. Mostly what I find is aluminum foil and food packaging. If I carry a large rock over to sit on, then I carry it back to where I found it.

The same concept should be used when setting up your tent. If you use rocks to tie down the tent, then move them back to where they initially were located. One problem I have with established sites, is that the fire ring is usually too close to the only flat clear spot to set up a tent. It only takes small sparks to put tiny holes in your tent fly, and although the tent fly looks OK you will have small leaks. Same with standing around a fire in your expensive rain jacket. You will get tiny holes from the fire.

I personally hate established campsites. They usually are very dirty. I prefer to set my tent on pristine sand or small gravel. On the other hand, my husband loves established campsites, and to him, the more features (such as benches) the more he likes it. He was a boy scout way back in the 1950's, so I think those features remind him of good times and outdoor ambiance of that age. To him it is an integral part of the outdoor experience. I do not think it is my job to judge his idea of what makes his wilderness experience. By the way, he is an excellent fire-builder. His fires are perfect and burn like a charm. Years ago when we got caught in a freak snowstorm (it generally does not snow that low) on the North Fork of the American River while winter backpacking, and I got soaked, he gallantly built a fire from soaked wood and dried my clothes while I snuggled inside my sleeping bag.

In this whole issue, I agree with what others have said. If it is legal then let it be. Nobody is forcing you to have a campfire - it is your choice. And if you do not like seeing or camping near fire rings, then just go somewhere else.
User avatar
Wandering Daisy
Topix Junkie
 
Posts: 2607
Joined: Sun Jan 24, 2010 8:19 pm
Location: Fair Oaks CA (Sacramento area)
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: Should there be a campfire?

Postby rlown » Tue Sep 30, 2014 4:46 pm

Sometimes a fire is very comforting (Trinity 2009):

P9290062.JPG
Steve and I at Ward Lk in October 2009


It was an established ring with a nice kitchen rock right next to it. Not heavily used like places near Island lk in the Dinkeys, so lots of wood around.
User avatar
rlown
Topix Junkie
 
Posts: 5347
Joined: Thu Oct 25, 2007 5:00 pm
Location: Petaluma and Wilton, CA
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

User avatar

Re: Should there be a campfire?

Postby RoguePhotonic » Tue Sep 30, 2014 5:31 pm

Well sure I assume that it was a Ranger that broke it up but that only leaves further questions like who exactly gets to decide where a fire pit can go? Who gets to build it? Perhaps it's right but seems weird to just build fires anywhere you want on the ground because after all nothing says you cannot do that.

I'm sure when it came to that pit there was more thought involved then it wasn't approved.

Also in 2011 I built a fire pit in Glacier Valley near the lower meadow. When I came back this year it was still there. I talked to one Ranger that knew of the pit but said it was fine because it was below 10,000.

I just think there is a middle ground with everything. I have and most likely will continue to build fire pits illegally but I will continue to exercise good judgement about where I do so.
User avatar
RoguePhotonic
Topix Fanatic
 
Posts: 1667
Joined: Thu Mar 24, 2011 9:52 am
Location: Bakersfield CA
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

User avatar

Re: Should there be a campfire?

Postby rlown » Tue Sep 30, 2014 6:06 pm

guessing no pics of other fire rings. Seems if it was a social center at certain times there would be pics of the ring or kitchen rocks. not meaning to detract from Paul's original post, but some of us are actually responsible.
User avatar
rlown
Topix Junkie
 
Posts: 5347
Joined: Thu Oct 25, 2007 5:00 pm
Location: Petaluma and Wilton, CA
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

User avatar

Re: Should there be a campfire?

Postby markskor » Tue Sep 30, 2014 6:34 pm

RoguePhotonic wrote: I have and most likely will continue to build fire pits illegally but I will continue to exercise good judgement about where I do so.

Coincidentally, if someone removes a seemingly legal fire ring on their own...(without any Ranger direction), are they not also breaking the law too?
Mountainman who swims with trout
User avatar
markskor
Founding Member & Forums Administrator
Founding Member & Forums Administrator
 
Posts: 2048
Joined: Fri Oct 28, 2005 5:41 pm
Location: Mammoth Lakes
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

User avatar

Re: Should there be a campfire?

Postby Shawn » Tue Sep 30, 2014 7:21 pm

rlown wrote:guessing no pics of other fire rings. Seems if it was a social center at certain times there would be pics of the ring or kitchen rocks. not meaning to detract from Paul's original post, but some of us are actually responsible.


Happened across this one while ascending Sphinx Creek some years back (within 25 feet of the lower lake). Not sure how much singing occurred, but we stopped for a while to extinguish it and clean up the site as no one was around and we did not see anyone else for the remainder of our trip.
Attachments
campfire.jpg
User avatar
Shawn
Topix Expert
 
Posts: 795
Joined: Sat Nov 12, 2005 9:56 pm
Location: Paso Robles, Ca
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

User avatar

Re: Should there be a campfire?

Postby The hermit » Tue Sep 30, 2014 7:51 pm

I rarely have fires backpacking, once in a while it's nice. I also don't have them often car camping, a buddy will always throw on a few logs and promptly go to bed.I'm left to stay up and make sure it's out before bed. Then someone will rebuild it in the morning so we can enjoy suffocating smoke with our breakfast. It's hard to build a nice smoke free fire especially in the Sierra. Bring your own well seasoned firewood and make sure its out!
User avatar
The hermit
Topix Regular
 
Posts: 183
Joined: Mon Jul 02, 2012 9:25 am
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: Should there be a campfire?

Postby longri » Tue Sep 30, 2014 8:37 pm

RoguePhotonic wrote:I just think there is a middle ground with everything. I have and most likely will continue to build fire pits illegally but I will continue to exercise good judgement about where I do so.

With so little actual enforcement of regulations it's up to us to take care of the wilderness, following at least the spirit of the law, if not the letter. Hopefully we will do so, as a group.

I know I don't follow every rule as written... but I like to think that I'm not harming the mountains, too much anyway.


markskor wrote:...if someone removes a seemingly legal fire ring on their own...(without any Ranger direction), are they not also breaking the law too?

That's one way to look at it, maybe, but I'll bet it isn't codified. There are so many fire rings it's just ridiculous. I don't think they're endangered.
User avatar
longri
Topix Expert
 
Posts: 505
Joined: Mon Aug 13, 2012 9:13 am
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: Should there be a campfire?

Postby sparky » Tue Sep 30, 2014 9:30 pm

I do not think it is my job to judge his idea of what makes his wilderness experience.


This is pretty much my take on it. I sometimes have a fire, I usually dont. I sometimes build a ring, but if I do I dismantle it. I build tiny fires in out of the way places. Despite seeing fire rings or funiture or cairns it just doesnt ruin my wilderness experience, though I choose not to participate in building any sort of structure. I guess you could say I am forgainst it. Apathy, more people need to get into that.
There is a million ways to be human, all are worthwhile.

True happiness is the absence of striving for happiness.
-Chuang Tzu.
User avatar
sparky
Topix Expert
 
Posts: 880
Joined: Tue Jul 20, 2010 10:01 am
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: Should there be a campfire?

Postby balzaccom » Tue Sep 30, 2014 9:43 pm

The hermit wrote:... I also don't have them often car camping, a buddy will always throw on a few logs and promptly go to bed.I'm left to stay up and make sure it's out before bed....!


Ain't THAT the truth?

I get pretty exercised at those folks.
Balzaccom

check out our website: http://www.backpackthesierra.com/
User avatar
balzaccom
Topix Fanatic
 
Posts: 1290
Joined: Wed Dec 17, 2008 9:22 pm
Experience: N/A

PreviousNext

Return to The Campfire



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Yahoo [Bot] and 2 guests