Real camp kitchens are naught but well arranged fireplaces with rustic cranes and pot-hooks as already described, but in deforested countries, or on the plains and prairies, pit-fires are much in vogue. The pit itself shelters the fire on the windswept plain, which is doubly necessary because of the unprotected nature of such camping places, and because of the kind of fuel used. Buffalo-chips were formerly used on the Western plains, but they are now superseded by cattle chips. The buffalo-chip fire was the cooking fire of the Buckskin-clad long-haired plainsmen and the equally picturesque cowboy; but the buffalo herds have long since hit the trail over the Great Divide where all tracks point one way, the sound of the thunder of their feet has died away forever, as has also the whoop of the painted Indians. The romantic and picturesque plainsmen and the wild and rollicking cowboys have followed the herds of buffalo and the long lines of prairie schooners are a thing of the past, but the pit-fires of the hunters are still in use.

The Most Simple Pit-Fire

Is a shallow trench dug in the ground, on each side of which two logs are placed; in the pit between the logs a fire is built (Fig. 105), but probably the most celebrated pit-fire is the fireless cooker of the camp, known and loved by all under the name of

The Bean Hole

Fig. 106 shows a half section of a bean hole lined with stones. The bean hole may, however, be lined with clay or 6 81 simply the damp earth left in its natural state. This pit-fire place is used differently from the preceding one, for in the bean hole the fire is built and burns until the sides are heated good and hot, then the fire is removed and the bean pot put in place, after which the whole thing is covered up with ashes and earth and allowed to cook at its leisure.

The Chinook Fire Pit

The Cowboy Pit-Fire

The cowboy pit-fire is simply a trench dug in the earth (Fig. 107), with a basin-shaped hole at the beginning. When obtainable, sticks are laid across the trench and sods laid upon the top of the sticks. Fig. 107 shows a section of view of the pit-fire and trench chimney, and Fig. 108 shows the top view of the same.

In removing the sod one should be careful not to break them, then even though there be no sticks one may be able to cover the draught chimney with the sods themselves by allowing them to bridge the trench. At the end of the trench the sods are built up, making a short smokestack.