Firewarming

Firewarming is that glorious activity that occurs intermittently on wilderness expeditions fraught with attempts to packraft across vast landscapes in bad weather or on water that is more difficult than you anticipate.

In a July trip into the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex, we’d had enough of freezing rain and water from the very cold South Fork Flathead pouring into our boats, so by the time we stopped at midday, we were chattering our teeth, wringing out our clothes, and mumbling the incoherency of hypothermia.

So we secured the boats and dashed deep into the woods, built a real messy firepit in the bush (it’s under there, I promise), lit a Wetfire (probably the best emergency firestarter I’ve ever used) and piled anything remotely burnable on top of it.

I will remember this fire for a long, long time, for its ability to so dramatically change our moods from cold and dark to warm and cheery.

Photo: Sigma DP2, ISO 200, f/2.8 1/80 sec.