“Stealth Fire”

Too much of a good thing isn’t a good thing.

I was thankful for the rain after a brief water shortage on the Devil’s Pass Trail, the creeks were running and the over abundance of water was comforting.  However, the overabundance of water in my shoes was not. It rained all night and all morning.  Dedicated to the miles I pushed on as a thru-hiker would.  My shoes sloshed with every step and my pack weight grew as water infiltrated the seams and spread like a cancer from the small exposed spaces.

I decided to make camp early and dry out as much as I could.  The only way I figured I could dry out was by having a small campfire.  Currently, there was a burning ban on all the North Cascades, meaning I wasn’t aloud to have a fire… but heck, that didn’t stop me.  I set up camp and found a place semi-dry to host my dry-out process.

Trying to dry out my soaking wet gear.
Trying to dry out my soaking wet gear.

I tried to find the driest wood to keep the smoke down and to keep the fire stealthy. After a few hours of roasting my foot gear and feeling satisfied that I will have semi-dry footwear for the next day.  I extinguish the fire in the proper way, confirmed the ashes were cold and returned to my camp. Only then did I reassemble my boots.  When I was placing my boot liner back inside my boots I noticed I melted the entire toe tread and cushion off my left boot as well as burned off half of  the tongue!  Another amateurish move, how did I not notice this?  Oh, Karma.

Woooo!  Not even to the PCT and I already destroyed my foot wear, classy.

So, I’ve told this story along the trail to other hikers and somehow, along the way, it shook out my trail name, “Stealth Fire”.


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