John Gierach in his marvelous book Death, Taxes and Leaky Waders, devoted a whole chapter to Camp Coffee. Tom Sutcliffe in his wonderful books, Hunting Trout and Shadows on the Streambed, writes evocatively of coffee stops on long fishing trips – on bridges to soak up the atmosphere or trying to spot a few fish in the stream below while sipping on a hot cup of coffee, on remote wind swept mountain passes, or to take a break from a mind numbing 13 hour journey somewhere deep in the Great Karoo; in the shade of the only tree for miles and under wide blue skies where tomorrow can be seen coming across the far eastern horizon. Then Stephen Boshoff maker of fine bamboo rods, nets and other exquisite pieces got me hooked on the ritual of taking a break from fishing to enjoy a cup of tea or coffee on the stream while the trout politely wait in their lies for you to finish and regain focus to stalk and hunt further upstream.
My passion for flyfishing in high altitude mountain wilderness streams, sometimes on extended adventures under canvas, is still as strong and deep in my soul as it was when I first discovered these pristine environments. But there is no longer the urge to rush and get in a thousand good drifts in a day or to catch more fish than I care to keep track of. I have learnt to slow the pace take in all around me. A stop or two for a steaming cup of coffee whether, camping, tailgating or sitting on the stream bank, is now as routine as changing flies.
I have been through a few stoves, kettles and flasks in my time, but after using those made by Stanley, I have no need to search further. Their flasks are the best I have used and their pot with two insulated cups that pack away inside is compact and fits snugly in my small day pack, just perfect.
Other than a wood camp fire, the small gas stoves are probably the most efficient, unless you are Stephen Boshoff who builds his own Zen solid fuel stove, a little slower than gas, but provides a more relaxed and somehow symbiotic association with mountain wilderness.
Stephen with his Zen stove and kettle on the boil.
These are times to savour companions’ conversation, absorb the beauty of the natural surroundings and in the knowledge that the trout in the next pool will still be there when you are ready to continue.
Please note that all written and photographic material contained in this blog and its posts are the sole ownership of the author/photographer and may not be copied or used for any purpose whatsoever without the prior consent of the author/photographer having been obtained – Peter Brigg.