Monday, February 14, 2011

Fireplaces in Quetico

I'm curious to know what others who love Quetico Park think about the issue of fireplaces at campsites. I for one really do not like the cast iron grates that the Forest Service has at all sites in the BWCAW. They take too much fire to heat up and waste wood. A small fire of sticks over a smaller grate will boil water in no time if the pot is near the peak of the fires heat. In Quetico you have to bring your own grate.

An old refridgerator wire shelf will work or a good commercially made grate that can be tiny for a couple or huge for a big group. So you find the fireplace that is at every camp site in Quetico and begin figuring it out for your grate.

Some of these fireplaces look like a pile of smoke stained rocks set in a matrix of ash, dead blackened wood and the ubiquitous aluminum foil. It's an ugly mess especially if its wet. When I see this I just can't help myself and I start pulling it apart and cleaning it up.

Is anyone else out there offended by that mess we have to call a fireplace at Quetico campsites? What do you do about it? It's possible to just figure it out with minimal effort or you can get aggressive and pull it apart. I've done both but I must have been a mason in another life cause I love building or rebuilding a really cool fireplace for ourselves and those who come after us to the site. What if we all rebuilt the fireplaces to be functional and even beautiful?

Maybe other campers would have enough respect for the firesite to pull out the damn aluminum foil and repair the rocks that fall in and leave a fire site with a good supply of nice dry wood. I have even built in a wood storeage box that keeps wood dry under a big flat rock.

I guess if you cook with gas you can totally ignore the fire. To me the hearth is the center of the camp and a place where all the food is cooked and people gather just like a kitchen. With our two family Quetico trips I love to cook around an efficient and neat fire. I'm curious is any of this bothers any of you. Maybe I'm being too anal about the whole thing. God help us if the Canadians have to start putting in cast iron grates and latrines because so many campers are piggish about camp maintenance. Sorry but I had to get it off my chest.

1 comment:

Tim Stouffer said...

Given a chance to make it more functional and comfortable I think this is a great way to spend time around camp. The fire is always the focal part of our home away from home. A protected wood box is a great idea to leave stocked for the next people.