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Campfire Therapy



Photo by Eric Fowler

By Eric Fowler

The flames dance. The coals glow. The wood crackles and pops. The combination of these elements is mesmerizing. It is therapy.

Sit there alone and stare into a campfire’s depths, and you can’t help but relax as the warmth melts your worries away.

Sit around a fire with friends or family, and you can rehash old times, solve the world’s problems and make future plans. In Boy Scouts, it was the perfect setting for telling ghost stories. Build a bigger one, invite more friends and you can call it a bonfire.

Claire and Jeff Valder; Chris, Annika, Stephanie and Daniel Kuchar; Leslie and Travis Pillen and Kyle Eley relax around a campfire at Wagon Train Lake in Lancaster County. Photo by Eric Fowler.

The campfire functions the same in the dead of winter or the heat of summer. The only difference is that during the former, you stay closer to the flames, turning repeatedly, as if on a rotisserie, always keeping one side warm. During the latter, a fire can fight off the evening chill, or warm you up while you drink your morning coffee. But not even the hottest summer night can negate the need for a fire.

You don’t have to go camping to enjoy a fire. And a campfire isn’t required when camping. But it should be. It is to many, myself included, one of the absolute best parts.

About eric fowler

Nebraskaland Regional Editor Eric Fowler was born in Hastings, graduated from Ogallala High School in 1988 and completed his Bachelor’s at Chadron State College in 1993. After six years as a writer and photographer with newspapers in Chadron and Scottsbluff, he joined the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission in 1998 as Publications Editor and has been a member of the NEBRASKAland staff since 2001. Fowler spends as much time as he can in Outdoor Nebraska. When he’s not photographing wildlife, landscapes or people enjoying the state’s outdoor resources for the magazine, he’s enjoying them himself while hunting, fishing, boating, kayaking, hiking or camping with family, including his wife and son, and friends.