Last time you made a wood fire for cooking? | High Sierra Topix  

Last time you made a wood fire for cooking?

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Last time you made a wood fire for cooking?

Postby SSSdave » Tue Jul 03, 2007 2:18 pm

Just returned from a 3-night backpack into a favorite Mokelumne Wilderness area. The first evening when I started my old old Whisperlite up, I noticed fuel leaking out where the cable inserts into the fuel pump. Lost about one-third of the bottle over a couple minutes before noticing a growing dark wetness in the dirt. Whole stove has been severely beat up from so much use so I went out and bought a new shaker jet model today. (by the way 25% off today at Any Mountain as well as all the pricy freeze dried meals)

So after no hot meal that first night, made the first of four small cooking fires at noon the second day. Of course as any of we old timers know, if one goes back before about 1980, a lot more backpackers cooked over fires than after backpacking stoves became popular and then required in timberline and alpine areas.

It got me thinking that there are probably quite a lot of later backpackers that have pretty much always used their stoves so that quite a lot of people don't have much if any experience making a cooking fire. Although one can of course use the usual evening campfire to cook on, those are usually larger than need be for cooking.

So my question is how long has it been since others here have had to cook over a wood fire in the backcountry?



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Postby Rosabella » Tue Jul 03, 2007 4:47 pm

:lol: Every time that I cook on a backpacking trip.... but that's 'cause I've got a zip stove. I really like it (plus I'm really intimidated by gas stoves :o )

I start it the same way I start any campfire....I use small twigs and my "firestarters" that I make with dryer lint drizzled with wax. Ya just don't have to blow on it because of the fan... and when it catches, that fan acts as a bellows... and it can really burn!!

But cooking over a campfire?.... That's been a few years.
Last edited by Rosabella on Tue Jul 03, 2007 9:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby hikerduane » Tue Jul 03, 2007 7:58 pm

It's been more than five years. I forgot to check to see if I had all the parts for my 2 burner propane campstove and found my regulator was on a propane bottle at home, so I had to cook over the campfire from firewood I had brought for the car camping trip. No biggie, just got a pot black a little. I remember those days, cooking over a fire. I fixed pancakes in those days too. Feed the fire, pour pancake mix in the pan, feed the fire a little more, flip the pancake before it burned, squirt some oil in the pan, repeat. One trip, all the campfire wood had to be dragged into camp a good couple hundred feet or more and all the twigs I needed to cook with were right in the immediate area of my camp. Nice. You could tell where the bpers had been by the small stack of rocks close together so you could set a pot or frying pan over where your fire would be built. At least you could tell where I had been.
Piece of cake.
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Postby SSSdave » Wed Jul 04, 2007 9:29 am

Image

A little pic of the first cooking fire I made noon 6-30-2007. Earlier that morning I had exposed a couple of 4x5 sheets near my first night's camp zone a couple miles away, then at mid morning backpacked to this area. It was a windy day so made camp inside a dense good sized shady grove of tall red fir where erratic little winds came and went. This second night's camp was about 50 feet above and 500 feet away from a small cold snow fed clear stream I didn't bother to ever filter. Besides my 32 ounce dayglo yellow Nalgene bottle, I had a 70 ounce Platapus collapsible.

Dug a small hole with a piece of wood about 10 inches deep 8 inches wide and 12 long and did not use any rocks. Easily cleared the duff needle and stick surface a good 5 feet around the pit with the old piece of wood in the pic. Gathered a small quantity of inch or less diameter well dried sticks from the abundant wood everywhere and built a fast and crude small cross stick structure that I then added a bunch of small kindling twigs on. Lit one of the many little dried pine needle branches about with my Bic and readily started the kindling that then began burning the sticks. Three times I added a few more sticks to till building up enough coals maybe 15 minutes later that I felt I needed to boil a couple cups of water. The small diameter sticks work better for such small relatively smoke free fires because they don't take much time to make coals. I didn't want to put all the necessary sticks in at once because my task given breezes was to keep the fire quite small under easy ember control.

After the last batch of sticks was well burned I put my 2 quart BD pot with lid atop directly on the hot glowing coals. Adding that coolness quenched the remaining fire except when the breeze blew . Water began boiling in a couple minutes. I emptied the package of Knorr Lipton Pasta Sides Parmesian into the boiling water. A few minutes later was slouching against a tree trunk enjoying lunch. Later poured a cup of water on the cooling coals and pushed the hole dirt back in to remove any sign of a fire except the small cleared surface circle. ...David
Last edited by SSSdave on Wed Jul 04, 2007 5:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby copeg » Wed Jul 04, 2007 2:14 pm

Last year. I don't make fires often, usually only when I'm with others. On our trip to Red Mtn Basin, my wife and I just decided to make a fire, then somehow we just found ourselves cooking over it. No reason really. :)
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Postby markskor » Fri Jul 06, 2007 12:59 pm

Last night!
Just got back from Tuolumne 5 minutes ago. Stopped here 1st thing.
Stan and I (two kids too) stayed at the Tuolumne Campground.
BTW, whoever is in charge of reservations is wacko...on the web...sold out, but in actuality they are right now accepting no reservations, so it is "drive in" only. We got a site right on the river...back of A-loop
...campground was 1/2 empty...July 3 - 6th.
Did some fishing at Saddlebag, caught a 4 1/2 pound Alper backside on a white and pink Z-Ray...swallowed the hook so....cooked the fish in tin foil over the coals. ..Pink meat, firm and tasty....fed 8.
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Postby giantbrookie » Fri Jul 06, 2007 3:42 pm

That would be this past Tuesday (evening, July 3) at Scepter Lake. When I catch and eat fish, I prefer Q'ing them on my folding grills over coals. It had actually been several years since I had an opportunity to do this (six or seven years, probably?). This recent five day, four night trip featured grilled fish every day, with the Tuesday night being the climactic night. One big rainbow I had from Crown Lake that night may have been the tastiest fish I have ever eaten in the backcountry (out of hundreds)--richer than the finest salmon--and the grilling method really brought out the flavor well.

Markskor, a 4-1/2 lb fish fed 8? You folks must have had a lot of side dishes or weren't too hungry. I'd guess that our Tuesday night feast centered around something about 5lbs (or a bit more) of fish for 4 people. On the other hand, we limited ourself to but one side dish and were on the last night of a strenuous 5 day trip to and from Blackcap Basin. Anyhow, fresh trout on the grill is indeed outstanding!
Since my fishing (etc.) website is still down, you can be distracted by geology stuff at: http://www.fresnostate.edu/csm/ees/facu ... ayshi.html
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Postby markskor » Fri Jul 06, 2007 4:41 pm

Brookie,
Added to the 4 1/2 pounder, were also a couple of 2+ pounders… (Did you really think I caught only the one fish?).
At the campground…site A 71…streamside, we asked our neighbors to share. Their contributions were (besides lots of beer) - a fresh fettuccini cream dish with Asiago, Caesar salad, a couple of bottles of Sterling Cab, tomatoes and Maui onions with a balsamic vinaigrette…they even had a fresh basil plant…lots of French baguettes…steamed veggies…the works. Man, it was good eating!
There was a bottle of single malt Oban for dessert…and of course the traditional S’mores. This was the best 4th of July feast ever.
I give all credit to Brookie for turning me on to Z-Rays. I used the white and pink pattern…I was getting hits all day while others just sat there - amazed.
Wish you all could have been there.
OH, BTW, the kids ate burgers...lol
Mark
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Postby giantbrookie » Fri Jul 06, 2007 5:27 pm

markskor wrote:Brookie,
Added to the 4 1/2 pounder, were also a couple of 2+ pounders… (Did you really think I caught only the one fish?).
At the campground…site A 71…streamside, we asked our neighbors to share. Their contributions were (besides lots of beer) - a fresh fettuccini cream dish with Asiago, Caesar salad, a couple of bottles of Sterling Cab, tomatoes and Maui onions with a balsamic vinaigrette…they even had a fresh basil plant…lots of French baguettes…steamed veggies…the works. Man, it was good eating!
There was a bottle of single malt Oban for dessert…and of course the traditional S’mores. This was the best 4th of July feast ever.
I give all credit to Brookie for turning me on to Z-Rays. I used the white and pink pattern…I was getting hits all day while others just sat there - amazed.
Wish you all could have been there.
OH, BTW, the kids ate burgers...lol
Mark

Now, that's a serious party. I'd have to say that other than the nice orange meated rainbows and brookie we had from the two lakes, our one side dish (fettucine w cheese and peas) was pedestrian in comparison, as you would expect from being many miles from the vehicle. By the way, speaking of Z-Rays, they claimed all but 3 of the 72 fish I caught on the trip. Those three, however, were the biggest. The particular lake I caught those from didn't show any life until I switched to a red over gold 3/8 oz Kastmaster--sometimes one just has to go big. Your description of the 4th of July feast makes me hungry and dinner is approaching. I think it will provide inspiration for whatever I choose to cook tonight.

Cheers,

John
Since my fishing (etc.) website is still down, you can be distracted by geology stuff at: http://www.fresnostate.edu/csm/ees/facu ... ayshi.html
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Postby mountaincat » Mon Jul 09, 2007 7:21 am

I cook on a fire often when I go car camping, especially if the temps are cold and I need a fire to keep warm anyway. Steaks on the fire are great... gotta start the fire an hour ahead of cooking time to get the coals to the right stage.
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Postby norcalhiker » Wed Jul 11, 2007 12:47 am

I work in wilderness therapy, and when not on fire ban, we cook on wood fires all the time. Key things for us... everyone has thick leather gloves that can pick up coal and hot pots. Also, every fire pit is completely crushed and sifted until there is NO trace and only coals smaller than a pencil eraser that can be scattered. Last time I cooked on an open fire? Fire ban didn't start til early June. I love cooking on fires, especially for the roasted garlic, quesadillas and baked apples.
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