October 9, 2013 | Posted in:Uncategorized

We all nodded in agreement as we stood around the fire laughing uncontrollably. Sure, the beer and whiskey helped set the mood, but it was the warmth of the fire that invited comfort. It was the fire that drew our neighbors over to join us for a few drinks and a few laughs.

The campground, a term I use loosely, at Vantage consists of a network of roads that, despite the large boulders and steep drops are travelled just as frequently by beat up Honda civics as they are by vans that have been converted into a makeshift homes. Between the network of roads and sagebrush are patches of open space, marked as campsites by the remnants of previous tenants and the hastily thrown together fire pits. It is desert camping at it’s finest. The only amenity available is the single blue port-a-potty, which inevitably has a line each morning. By the last day we were there it had out-served its capacity and campers found refuge behind a convenient large rock on the fringe of the camping area.

But we weren’t there for lavish camping with breathtaking views. We were there to celebrate Wiktor’s birthday – to climb, relax, and have a fun weekend. Perhaps even do a bit of celebrating. Having a clean toilet and running water weren’t high on the priority list.

We did however come prepared with two coolers full of beer, a guitar and a banjo, slackline, and an ample supply of firewood.

So when our neighbors stopped by, we welcomed them into the circle as if we had been friends for years. I honestly can’t remember their names, though to be fair, this story happened before any proper introductions had taken place anyways.

At some point, our friend (who’s name I’ll leave off for obvious reasons) chimes in, “do you want to hear about the time I shit my pants in the car? …with my mom?” There was a brief silence, followed by a resounding “Yes!” One of our new friends, clearly intrigued, asked, “Wait, how old were you?” as if the answer would have an impact on his decision to hear the story or not. “25” our friend responded.

I’ll spare you the details. Needless to say, the story was every bit as cringingly awkward and yet as hilarious as you might imagine. The point being that is a story I might share with my friends once I am close with them. Once I know how they will react. I can think of few times when I felt compelled to share such a personal story with a complete stranger.

Long after the story, the sentiment stuck. A campfire really is a warm and friendly place. There is something about it, maybe it really is the alcohol, but stop and think about it. When was the last time you sat around a campfire and had small-talk? I can’t think of a single fire, friends and strangers alike, where the conversation was more substantive (or at least more engaging and entertaining).

So, as if you needed an excuse anyways, go camping, make a fire, relax, and enjoy yourself. I guarantee you will have a good time.

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