It’s been hot the last couple of weeks, and we’ve been trying very hard to get away from our computer screens and out into the bright, blinky sunshine. We even found a whole week to escape — we headed with some good friends to Camp Mather for a week of swimming, fort-building and campfire songs.
Camp Mather is just outside Yosemite and it was such an idyllic escape back into childhood for me. I swam in my mermaid tail in the lake, did a whole lot of hula hooping on the grass and sang a song to anyone who came along. Dirty little secret: I’ve got a soft spot for campfire songs. I probably know all the words to every song you’ve ever sung around a fire, and the harmony lines to most of those. I make a real nuisance of myself whenever I spot someone tuning up a guitar from a camp chair.
Anticipating this, I wanted to do my best to recreate a great campfire experience in spite of the fact that Camp Mather doesn’t allow personal camp fires. Yosemite experienced a huge fire about 3 years back that wiped out a large swath of the forest, and since California’s got this drought on, hundreds of small fires would be a trainwreck. So, I designed and built the most realistic LED fire-less campfire I could come up with.
It uses a strip of APA102 dotstar LEDs and a Pro Trinket, along with some glowbys fiber optic barrettes, and is a really surprisingly effective campfire guitarist trap. They literally come right out of the woods to sit and play for me.
Little kids come over and put their hands near it for warming, then get the most bewildered look on their faces before wandering away in confusion.
Stuff gets dropped or knocked over onto my fire and everyone rushes to rescue it all before it gets burnt.
We didn’t have any rangers come and try to shut us down, but it’s good to have goals for next year.
I made a tutorial about how to make this campfire on the Adafruit Learning Center here:
Make your own and send me a video of you singing favorite camp song!