Archive for December, 2010
Kephart was born in Pennsylvania and raised in Iowa. He was the director of the St. Louis Mercantile Library in St. Louis Misouri from 1890 to 1903. In these years Kephart also wrote about camping and hunting trips.1 Earlier, Kephart had also worked as a librarian atYale University and spent significant time in Italy as an employee of a wealthy American book collector.
In 1904, Kephart’s family (wife Laura and their six children) moved to Ithaca, New York, but Laura and Horace never divorced or legally separated. Horace Kephart found his way to western North Carolina, where he lived in the Hazel Creek section of what would later become the Great Smoky Mountain National Park:
Any fire can give you feelings of warmth. However, knowing how different fires direct and produce differing amounts of heat can help you choose which fire to make for your needs and circumstances. The “science” of a fire is based on three elements: fuel, oxygen and heat. The fuel is the material that will start and then keep the fire burning. In order to burn it must have oxygen. The oxygen combines with the gases emitted from the fuel as its consumed – that gas is released by heat applied to the fuel. Eventually the fuel is consumed, the energy is released in light and heat and the process is sustained by adding more fuel.
The key to any good fire is a quick start, sometimes with only one or two chances to do so. Good tinder – small dry shavings or strands or globs or drippings of quickly combustible material used to start a fire – is critical. Practice with what ever fire igniter you prefer and practice lighting the myriad varieties of tinder you can find outdoors: cattail fluff, birch bark, shredded dry leaves, small blades and stalks of grass, lint from you pockets – practicing what lights quickly and produces enough heat to start your tinder burning is a key skill in becoming a competent fire starter. Tinder is the base of your fire. Most any larger fire will usually be started from a tiny, burning pile of tinder (unless you happen to go the shortcut route and use Boy Scout Juice – lantern fuel!)