Cleaning Fire Rings and Picking Up Trash


The last couple of days, I have been cleaning fire rings and picking up trash. I don’t mind either of these chores.

Cleaning fire rings is physical in an I’m toughening up sort of way, but not in an I’m going to die sort of way. I do not like physical activities that make me think of death. Also, I can clean the fire rings at my own pace. I would like it less if I had to hurry.

Picking up trash is ok too, especially since I started thinking of it as going on a hike with a trash bag. Actually picking up trash is kind of fun. I feel like I’m on an Easter egg hunt, but instead of finding yummy treats, I’m finding…trash. At least picking up trash puts my OCD tendencies (thanks, Mom) to good use.

I’ve been picking up what is called micro trash or pocket trash. This is the little stuff. Sure, I’ve found a couple of rusty metal cans (which, were I in New Mexico, I’d be compelled to whip into what The Lady of the House and I refer to as Tetanus Art); a plastic grocery store sack; six empty, new-looking Keystone Light cans; and some ripped up newspaper, but mostly I’m picking up small stuff.

Here’s a list of what I have been finding (most to least)

metal bottle caps (most are from beer bottles; Corona seems to be the brand of choice around here)

plastic lids from individual size water bottles

other small bits of plastic ranging from unidentifiable to the covers that come on small propane bottles

broken glass in various sizes (some of it melted in campfires)

the type of thin plastic that wraps everything from granola bars to cigarettes to candy to toothpicks

those flat plastic things that close bread bags

bits of metal ranging from aluminum cans melted in a campfire to old school pop tops that come completely off a soda or beer can

bits of paper

tiny round plastic bb’s in a variety of colors

bandaids (ewwwwww, gross!)

cigarette butts (surprisingly few, most of them in fire rings)

bits of Styrofoam

shredded fibers from tarps


Here’s a photo I took of a sample of the trash I found. There’s no glass in this sample because I didn’t want to put glass in my pocket for a later photo shoot.

I did find some treasures while picking up trash. The best is the race care, but the googly eye is cool too. I also found the quarter and the two pennies shown here. After I took this photo, I found another quarter and a dime.

I did find some treasures while picking up trash. The best is the race car, but the googly eye is cool too. I also found the quarter and the two pennies shown here. After I took this photo, I found another quarter and a dime.

I don’t understand how so many metal bottle caps and plastic caps from water bottles get on the ground. Are people purposely dropping them? Do these folks have living rooms knee deep in bottle caps because they can’t ever be bothered to throw the caps in the trash? Or is it because they are on vacation and so relaxed that they can’t throw away the bottle caps? Ok, so maybe someone is sitting down and they don’t want to stand up to walk over to their trash bag, but couldn’t they just hold the cap until they stand up later?

The thing that really gets me about the trash on the ground is that there are trash cans all over this campground. I’ve been to campgrounds before (usually free ones) where there are no trash cans. Folks are supposed to pack out what they packed in. Not everyone wants to do that, so people try to burn their trash. Or, with the thought that it will be easier for whomever cleans the campground to pick up trash all in one spot, people will leave their trash in the fire rings. I would understand what was happening if there were no trash cans around here, but that’s not the case.

I guess I should think of it as job security for me, but it irks me to think of people littering in such a beautiful place.

I know I’m probably preaching to the choir here, but folks, put your trash in trash cans! If you are out somewhere with no trash cans, pack out what you packed in. And if you want to be a true good citizen, pick up other people’s trash too. Woodsy Owl will thank you.


About Blaize Sun

I live in my van, which makes me a rubber tramp. I like to see places I've never seen before, and I like to visit the places I love again and again. I like to play with color. I make collages and hemp jewelry and cheerful winter hats. I take photographs and (sometimes, not in a long time) write poetry. All of those things make me an artist. Although I like to spread joy and to make people laugh, my wit can be sharp. I try to stay positives in all situations, to find the goodness in all people. But I often feel compelled to point out bullshit when I smell it. I like to have fun, to dance, to eat yummy food, to sit by a fire and share stories. I want to know what people hold dear and important, not just make surface small talk. This blog is a way for me to share stories. This blog is made up of my stories, rants, and observations, as well as my photographs.

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