When camping along the river, I don’t always have a fire. I do that for various reasons. Sometimes it’s a matter of leaving a minimal footprint. Other times, it’s because I’m stealth camping and nothing will give your presence away more than a crackling, light-producing, smoke-belching campfire. On my last trip it was for aesthetic reasons.
One of my favorite things on summer canoe trips is watching night settle in. Yes, it is kind of like watching the grass grow; it’s a long slow process. I love to watch the bottoms of the leaves on the trees, the green gradually fading to darker and darker shades — until they become black silhouettes against the darkening sky.
From my Walhonding River campsite, I experienced one of the most blissful evenings of my life, watching this transition. The night’s entertainment also included a steady parade of bald eagles and other birds, wonderful cloud formations and a doe pausing at a gravel bar to nurse her fawn.