This weekend, we finally opened Camp Nana for the 2019 season. YAY! It was so good to be back. This thread will be on-going, dedicated to all of the fun we'll have there this year. Abby and I were super excited to get back there, so we headed up on Friday night. We got in after dark, and I didn't have a pass for the gate, so we had to hoof in with a load of gear. Abby's been bugging me to go night hiking so she was thrilled. We both carried our day hike kits and an extra bag of pillows & blankets. She dropped hers as soon as we got to our trailer so she could go play with her friend, and I spent the next hour or so unloading the car and getting things sorted in the trailer. I got the electrical hooked up but couldn't get the water or gas working. Then I blew a fuse and lost all my outside light. I was going to make a fire, but by that point, Abby had fallen asleep so I watched the end of "Frozen" by myself and then tried to get some sleep too. It was like a night of camping in a tin can, but we had lights (inside) and a space heater so we were all set. It was a little chilly, but we brought extra blankets so we were toasty in no time. She slept like a rock but she's a bed and blanket hog so I did not sleep well. Instead of a hat, she wore ear muffs to bed to help her stay warm. LOL! Much coffee was needed in the morning. My plan was to cook over the fire all weekend, but there was a lot of work to do on Saturday morning so I used my Crusader kit & a couple of Esbit tablets to make coffee in the fire pit. I made a double French Vanilla. Instant coffee never tasted so good! Nana arrived just in time to share a cup. Here's a little video of the first night and morning, in case you're interested in seeing more. Once the trailer was in ship shape and my chores were done, I could get to that fire. Step one, foraging for tinder, kindling and fuel for a twig fire. There were three very hyper kids running around so I decided to avoid using sharps as much as possible. They played at helping me forage but were much more interested in actually playing. There are lots of White Birch trees around so finding bark is easy, especially in the Spring. I brought the old Coghlans folding saw with me just in case I found some fatwood and I would not be disappointed. One of two wagon loads of twigs and branches. I used a couple of long branches and a couple of old fire dogs to make a rack for my gathered wood, and then set about sorting it by size. I picked up some garbage on my foraging walk so threw then beer can down for size reference. FATWOOD! I found a Pine tree with a few dead branches so cut them off to use as my fire base. They weren't oozing with pitch but pretty good. Six pieces fit my pit perfectly. All the twigs I cut off made up the second layer of my tipi fire lay and an old fire dog make the perfect brace. I put a bunch of Birch bark on the platform, to make the base of my tipi, and then used a not well made nest of it as my tinder "bundle." I tried to use a folder knife to scrape a ferro rod but it closed on my hand so I reverted to my Mora LMF Fireknife. We did get video though! I added a few of last year's fire dogs as I burned through my prep, and when we had a good bed of coals, it was time to cook dinner. You may notice the fire pit changing through the day and night. I kept adding more rocks and rearranging them. I did get some bricks and a cinder block to add, but ended up with a nice haul of rocks as I looked for firewood. I'm pretty happy with it right now but it needs to be more of a '"C" shape than the horseshoe it is now to keep more us warm at night. To be continued. Next up: Dinner and a night around the campfire.