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Ever since Prometheus stole flame from the temple on Olympus, men have been both enchanted and terrified by fire. Whether it be hearth, hillside, forest or house, whether destroyer or refiner, fire draws men to it like hippies to Burning Man.

Friend and flame-tender Mike prepares to put on the kettle to reconstitute our dehydrated victuals. We'd started out that morning. loaded with kit for three days, pedaling south from Front Royal on the Skyline Drive. Twenty-two miles later, having gained a cumulative 3,840 feet, we pitched camp at Mathews Arm as the afternoon sun waned. Not rain but cooling temperatures had us pulling out our wet weather gear for warmth.

Having supped a hearty meal, we did what men do: stared at the campfire, farting like bulls and talking lowly or not at all until the embers faded away.

"In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ." - 1 Peter 1:6-7

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