“The fire. The odor of burning juniper is the sweetest fragrance on the face of the earth, in my honest judgment; I doubt if all the smoking censers of Dante’s paradise could equal it. One breath of juniper smoke, like the perfume of sagebrush after rain, evokes in magical catalysis, like certain music, the space and light and clarity and piercing strangeness of the American West. Long may it burn.”
Edward Abbey “Desert Solitaire”
A strange thing to be looking at the white and blue light of the webpage while listening to the wind in cottonwood trees. How strange to hear the click-clack of the keyboard keys paired with the snaps of the fire. The darkness pairs well with my fire and my van is making for an excellent wind shield, while still letting me get my fill in of wood smoke. A fire, much like water on a hot day, has become a nightly necessity for me on the road. Each time I’ve bent to make one my technique has changed, usually ever so subtly. I’ll change some minuet detail, only one thing will differ from the nights previous and tonight’s fire, and usually every time the fire burns a little hotter, a little longer, and starts about 10x faster.
Today was really quite the quiet day for me, had a bit of a down day yesterday, and so today I kind of kept the trend alive, went for a hike down Hunter Canyon about 7.5mi down Kane Creek Rd. I followed up my six miles with two Johnnies IPAs from some joint in town. And straight to camp for me. Once at camp I proceeded to eat two large sandwiches and enjoy one large chocolate chip cookie. Now, this oh so relaxing day comes after about four days of hanging out with a crew of kids from SLC. The crew, made in part by a one eyed counter part, welcomed me into their midst, shared their beer, their food, and their adventures. I even picked up a few new ideas as far as living in my car goes.
One such idea was a larger propane tank with an adapter for my Coleman stove, which ran me just about $75. Upon purchasing said new attachments for my stove I was eager to cook dinner that night to say the least. Almost as soon as I had parked at camp for the night, I was out and setting up my kitchen. In my haste, I dropped my stove. Not a large drop, just a small slide from the table seat to the ground, a distance of about 1.5 feet. Brushing the dust off the green and already scratched and dirtied exterior of my proven tough stove, I thought nothing of it. Setting up my stove with new accessories for the first time proved to be a bit of a battle however.
The first issue I ran into… I didn’t have the tools I needed to attach the adapter to the tank. It required a wrench, which I conveniently left at my sister’s house. But I was determined to cook and to cook with my new rig! So like any good person would, I jimmy-rigged the fuck out of it! Taking a large climbing hex, an old one I had found in a rock face and been using as a review mirror decorator… I took several large pieces of cord and shoved it into the corners of the hex. Placing the adapter in just the right way, I was able to create a tight enough hold on the bolt of the adapter to turn the hex with the cord and tighten the bolt sufficiently. Proud of myself for my resourcefulness, I quickly felt my elation fading as the stove would not lite. There was not the sound of gas nor the smell of propane.
Before I could do much else besides letting out an aggravated sigh, some dude around my age came looking for a lighter to solve his own stove related issues. Upon hear my predicament he offered up a small propane tank to test the stove to rule out the propane system. I quickly agreed. When Matt, as I later learned he was called, returned with my lighter, he held the propane tank as promised, and as expected it didn’t help. My stove was indeed broken from its tiny fall. But alas! All my tools are back in Mancos with my sister. So no hope of fixing it tonight. So I’m eating cold cuts and cheese dipped in Dijon mustard. But hey at least I have a fire.