Campfire Trilogy

Bob and Rudi set out to do a half-hour campfire talk to celebrate the 100th birthday of America’s National Parks. Somehow along the way they wrote a trilogy of three books: The Legend of Campfire Charlie, Last Stand at Boulder Ridge and Final Campfire.

Ranger Days
Rudi joins Bob around the Campfire

Rudi joins Bob around the campfire …

To reminisce about the good old days.

Bob and Rudi collaborated on 12 campfire talks and three books called the Centennial Campfire Trilogy: (1) The Legend of Campfire Charlie, (2) Last Stand at Boulder Ridge, and (3) Final Campfire.

Hindsight as we say is 20/20. The reason? We have the benefit of seeing how the future played out. We survived the past, so it must have been good, and so seeps in the “nostalgia effect.” But make no mistake, they were good times, too. At this campfire, Bob interviews Rudi about the ups and downs and many memories of his rangering days. Bob does his part by introducing a new “experimental s’mores” recipe that Rudi doesn’t seem to like much. It could have been intentional on Bob’s part knowing that if they were too good Rudi would have ate the entire stockpile.

How to write a trilogy
Evolution of a 30-minute campfire talk

Have you ever heard that saying:

“You can’t be a hero in your own hometown?”

The first podcast

Well, I think the same sort of applies to initial success.

Success too early in a process, or life, may feel good at the time, but can also be the kiss of death in the long run. Why? Success breads complacency in the same way failure inspires you to overcome.

My point is this:

Rudi and I co-wrote three books which, when we were done, inspired us to do a podcast. Both the books and the podcast were utter “initial” failures by traditional metrics. The silver lining was that I never lost faith. And it made me realize: Less about selling a product, the trilogy of books was the ultimate deep dive into exploring “big canvas” ideas that required 450,000 words of space and six years of time to properly spread out, metabolize and incubate in our minds. If you think writing a book, let alone a trilogy, is hard – try co-writing it with a Rudi! The mystery of the creative chemistry of our unlikely partnership became a reoccurring theme in the books. Our brief foray into a poorly-produced podcast (to discuss the books) was a dismal failure, too. Please listen to them and I think you’ll agree.

The second podcast

But all clouds have a silver linings:

The process, and those failures, was how the Nature Folk Movement (NFM) was born.

Thank God for failure – really it’s the only way we improve.

P.S. Although a tiny taste of success isn’t bad, either.

Go to Trilogy

Good summer read
Check out the movie trailer

If you are looking for a good beach read …

I highly recommend the Centennial Campfire Trilogy.

The trailer may be its best sales pitch


For one, it’s an adventurous tale. Two, it’s a sprawling work that will allow you to really dig in. Three, it will inspire you to reconnect with nature and the natural history around you in a way you haven’t done before. And four, well, I cannot tell a lie – I also co-wrote the book.

Three books of the trilogy

One last note:

I highly recommend the paperback books. As they were written in the throwback style of Treasure Island, and meant to be thumbed back and forth in time, the Kindle just doesn’t do the trilogy justice in being able to connect the dots of all the story lines.