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

My name is Blaize Sun. Maybe that's the name my family gave me; maybe it's not. In any case, that's the name I'm using here and now. I've been a rubber tramp for nearly a decade.I like to see places I've never seen before, and I like to visit the places I love again and again. For most of my years on the road, my primary residence was my van. For almost half of the time I was a van dweller, I was going it alone. Now I have a little travel trailer parked in a small RV park in a small desert town. I also have a minivan to travel in. When it gets too hot for me in my desert, I get in my minivan and move up in elevation to find cooler temperatures or I house sit in town in a place with air conditioning I was a work camper in a remote National Forest recreation area on a mountain for four seasons. I was a camp host and parking lot attendant for two seasons and wrote a book about my experiences called Confessions of a Work Camper: Tales from the Woods. During the last two seasons as a work camper on that mountain, I was a clerk in a campground store. I'm also a house and pet sitter, and I pick up odd jobs when I can. I'm primarily a writer, but I also create beautiful little collages; hand make hemp jewelry and warm, colorful winter hats; and use my creative and artistic skills to decorate my life and brighten the lives of others. My goal (for my writing and my life) is to be real. I don't like fake, and I don't want to share fake. I want to share my authentic thoughts and feelings. I want to give others space and permission to share their authentic selves. Sometimes I think the best way to support others is to leave them alone and allow them to be. I am more than just a rubber tramp artist. I'm fat. I'm funny. I'm flawed. I try to be kind. I'm often grouchy. I am awed by the stars in the dark desert night. I hope my writing moves people. If my writing makes someone laugh or cry or feel angry or happy or troubled or comforted, I have done my job. If my writing makes someone think and question and try a little harder, I've done my job. If my writing opens a door for someone, changes a life, I have done my job well. I hope you enjoy my blog posts, my word and pictures, the work I've done to express myself in a way others will understand. I hope you appreciate the time and energy I put into each post. I hope you will click the like button each time you like what you have read. I hope you will share posts with the people in your life. I hope you'll leave a comment and share your authentic self with me and this blog's other readers. Thank you for reading.  A writer without readers is very sad indeed.

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