Bonfire in a Blizzard

     A couple of weeks ago, six adventurous camp enthusiasts traveled up to F-Troop for the 20th annual Motorcycle Pete Retreat (see archives, 3-5-07). Usually this outing features a breakaway from the winter blues with warming temperatures and healthy pre-spring hikes in the rejuvenating woodlands, but not this year. The 2008 edition was one big winter wonderland weekend, and we made the best of it.
     After a treacherous drive up to Warren County Friday evening on icy, snow-covered roads, we conducted several Saturday activities: a big eggs and bacon and home fries breakfast, a hike down to Magee Run and back, a visit to Heart’s Content Natural Area by Todd and Brad, an all-afternoon four-wheel-drive sightseeing trip made by Mark and his wife Colleen (a first-time visitor), and Donna Rai’ and me, and hours and hours of food preparation, led by Todd, our number one chef.
     As daylight waned and darkness approached, the snow flurries we’d experienced all day turned into a blizzard, with heavy curtains of snowfall heaping down upon the woods, the camp, and the lands all around. We responded by shoveling a foot of snow out of our backyard fire ring and building a small bonfire smack dab in the middle of the storm. Picture the six of us gathered around the leaping flames in our hooded winter coats and hunting boots, toasting each other and the camp life with celebratory beverages and laughing at Nature’s ferocious white downfall, which covered our hands and arms and faces with pure white winter frosting in the firelight. We stayed out there for hours, stocking and re-stocking the blaze with wheelbarrow loads of dried wood and telling stories late into the night. Sometime after midnight, we all reluctantly came inside, tired and red-faced from the cold, and settled in for our long winter’s nap.
     Good luck out there. And have a great week outdoors.    

~ Don Feigert, 3-21-08

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