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I Built a Canoe


By Kathy Van Wulf Scat, Wilderness Discoverer

“I built a canoe,” proclaimed 10-year-old Max Flink, an outgoing and gregarious guest onboard the Wilderness Discoverer’s Eastern Coves itinerary. What he was referring to was how he laid down the foundation for his leave no trace fire at our Beach Party in Spacious Bay.

Building a

Building the "canoe"

Max, along with his sisters Olivia and Carly, started to build their bonfire by first gathering small pieces of driftwood with the aid of Expedition Guide, Annie. As a team, they put all of their wood pieces in separate piles based on size. Max stated, “I climbed over and under large driftwood logs for about 15 minutes so I could find the perfect dead branches and dried seaweed for tinder.” Max and his sisters placed many small sticks and other debris together in a teepee fashion to fit on top of their canoe foundation and then Max took out his pocket knife. His pocket knife happened to be a survival knife fully equipped with a piece of flint and steel, which he successfully used to created sparks.

Building a

Creating sparks

“The spark from my survival knife started the fire, which we kept going with different stacks of kindling,” explained Max. “Once we made a fire, we kept building it until we could put dead rockweed on it to hear the pods pop like popcorn,” Carly excitedly stated. Once the fire was puffing along with intermittent sparks and flames, a guest grabbed a marshmallow from the beach bar and roasted it.

Successful fire!
A successful fire is built!

Creating a fire in southeast Alaska out of damp drift wood is no easy task. The family used patience, teamwork, and a little bit of luck in order to successfully start the fire with only the materials they found on the beach. Headed back home the Flink family, smelling of campfire, carries the satisfaction, knowledge, and skill set of starting a genuine leave no trace bonfire in the wilds of scenic Southeast Alaska.

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