Campfires were made for Winter.
While we often think of campfires alongside memories of balmy summer nights, outdoor cooking in the Winter time offers a completely new enjoyment for live fire cooking and grilling. Here in Alaska the shrinking of the days is immediately evident with the sun beginning to sink behind the mountains as early as 3pm during the solstice. It’s no secret that it can be difficult to motivate ourselves to get out in nature during the colder months and outdoor activities are often limited when there is a lack of daylight. But what we don’t always take the time to appreciate about short winter days is that this also affords us long, quiet winter nights. During the season of comfort and gathering, a winter campfire with friends makes the perfect mid-winter adventure.
Traditionally many cultures spent time around an outdoor bonfire during the winter months enjoying food and telling stories. These people were gathering for more than just the functional warmth of the fire, but additionally to celebrate the changing of the seasons and to feel one another’s company during the darkest nights of the year. Even in modern times these feelings of physical and personal warmth are meaningful. Take the time to get out of the house on a snowy evening and enjoy looking at the night sky with friends while the embers glow and dinner cooks.
This winter activity can be easily enjoyed wherever you have access to a backyard fire pit or local campground site. Snowy campsites can easily be made into cozy circles with the addition of a fire, a few blankets and a thermos of hot cocoa. The light and warmth of the fire will feed the soul and the heat of the aging coals will help feed the belly. This is also a great opportunity to enjoy the taste of unique seasonal foods over the fire. Root vegetables and squashes will roast perfectly amongst the coals and a camping kettle full of your favorite winter beverage can be kept warm well into the evening. The warm food and drink will taste all that much better with a bit of winter chill on your cheeks. Don’t let the cold or the dark keep you from getting outside in nature this winter, all you need to combat the mid-winter blues is a warm fire and a friend.
Kinsey is a seafood lover and outdoorswoman. She studied Sustainable Fisheries at the University of Hawaii and currently lives in Cordova, AK where she hunts and forages all four seasons.