The One Thing That Makes a Campfire Better: Each Other

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Brooke loves the time around a campfire with friends

A couple of years ago, the threesome that is my family - Brooke, Chloe (when she was 13 months), and me - pulled off a back road trip near Patagonia, Arizona for two nights, and we had a slight problem. The final afternoon of the trip, a monsoon clobbered us, and despite our perfect view of the storm over the Santa Rita Mountains, we conceded, climbed into the tent, made dinner, read books, and played games until the sun went down. So much for relaxing at the campfire after the child goes to sleep.

"I'm having fun and all, but I really wanted to have some time around a campfire."

"I agree. But I don't think that's going to happen. We're stuck in here."

Then, blessings from the sky. The storm ended and Chloe fell asleep, all cozied up in her footy pajamas. It couldn't have been any later than 7:30 pm, and Brooke and I were thinking the same thing: bet we can sneak out of the tent without Chloe waking up. We first time parents of 13-month old children tend to be notoriously freaked out at the idea of waking up a sleeping child - because that would mean severe punishment in the form of a halfling who's, well, awake.

We gave it a shot, desperate as we were for some adult time. First, the tent door needed to be unzipped, and you feel like you may as well be looking at a ramshackle pile of pots from which you need to get the bottom one without making a sound. We probably spent 6 whole real minutes unzipping the door.  Then we held our breath as we took turns slipping outside and trying not to touch anything and therefore making a stupidly gentle noise.

Can you imagine our whispered conversation?  "SHHHHH!"

"What?"

"Your pants are touching the tent. If she wakes up, it's all your fault."

Oh, the pressure.

We pulled it off it, though.  Made it outside, built a fire, and had ourselves a genuine uninterrupted adult conversation under a waxing moon and with a few bottles of tasty micro brew. It was better than being at home. Scratch that.  This was home.

If there's one thing I'll always come back to to write about over and over again, it's campfire. Thanks to all that talk yesterday about winter hiking in Alaska, today is a good day for an ode to the cozy, intimate campfire. It's so non-internet, y'know? It's mellow downtime at the end of a long adventurous day. It's a sigh rising from a few well-roasted mesquite logs. It's the in-and-out conversation with your friends. Or the subtle moon-lit silence with your wife or girlfriend after the kids are zonked in the tent. For the first time in a long while, the only thing to do is pay attention to one another because . . .

Campfire photos to help warm you up, and get stoked about your next trip:

blue ridge41

Baby and mama at the campfire

campfire in the desert, southern arizona

Campfire with friends, and laughs

Campfire on the beach in Mexico

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