Setting aside the snowshoes, I paused to catch my breath. Hiking in sub-zero weather does that to you. It’s as if air from the lungs has so many steps to climb before you can take another precious gulp.
My son’s red cheeks glowed from the exertion of clearing two feet of snow right to bare ground level. We didn’t wish for our fire wood to burn through snow then go out.
Great job, son, just as I taught you, I said proudly. I knew it was a neat comment to receive when you’re eleven years young. He cleared an area where we now had room to place our packs, and snowshoes. Also a spot to sit on a small log, light a fire and voila, we will soon have warm tootsies.
Any energy left to go get firewood?
Come on dad. I need a rest too.
Okay we’ll both go. We shuffled around our little camp area and gathered enough various sized wood. Now a son and dad worked together making a small teepee with smaller branches, then larger, and tucked under our creation was a small ball of very dry bunched together branches.
Watch this son, one match. Then I extracted a specially made outdoor match from a small can I carried as part of my survival camping kit. The first five snapped in two, and each new end fell off. I’m really embarrassed I said. As a boy scout our leader allowed us only two matches.
Let me try, my son asked. His luck was no better than mine.
Well let’s start over. Sweep all snow again from the ground. Place a bed of small branches. Then compress a ball of small branches, with new pieces of birch bark and now build a new teepee of wood. Lighting the bottom with a good flame would allow it to fire up the little structure. Oh, oh it is beginning to snow and my fingers are getting numb. Mine too said my son.
Let’s try again before I get any colder and we have to head home. Do you want to go back now?
A brave young man, are you not?
Let’s try again. This time we’ll pray over the flame to start up and go until wood accepts the match.
The flame held, licking at the wood eagerly. A warm fire created such a cozy atmosphere. Soon it was time to go. A father and son completed a day of memory as they returned home to their family.