Because We Failed at a Fire in the Rain Forest

It wasn’t that we couldn’t make fire—it was just that we could find nothing that would burn for any period of time greater than ten seconds.  Everything was soaked.  Near the trailhead and along the road we were camped there was enough split in the canopy to allow a few hours of direct sunlight to dry out the wet pavement.  During our time on the road, we kept our eyes opened for any dried brush.  We stuffed the sides of our packs with a wispy, dried out moss that ended up being the perfect start to our fire.  It was the medium sized kindling that we lacked.  All sticks we found were fully saturated.  We raided a dilapidated avian research farm that we stumbled upon in the woods near our camp for dry pieces of wood, but for the most part came up empty.  The problem was that we could get the moss and a few scrap pieces of paper trash to burn, but anything we tried to add to that completely sucked the life out of the flame until it extinguished.

Next time we go, here’s how we’ll do it:

  • If we really want a fire, collect only a few dry sticks at a low elevation and pack them before we start into the forest.  What’s really the difference between 50 lbs and 52.3 lbs, right?
  • Because there are no pine needles to get a fire started, collect a ton of that moss stuff: a) it’s incredibly light and b) it builds a great flame.
  • Realistically, there wasn’t any motivation for building a fire other than to boil water and treat ourselves to the teriyaki chicken backpacker meal after a full day of hiking.  If K-Mart would have had a single canister of butane/propane mix for our lightweight backpacker stove in the camping aisle of over 200 propane tanks, we’d have been set.

One response to this post.

  1. Posted by Tom Choi on May 3, 2010 at 3:42 am

    haha amen on the K-Mart part

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