It’s an exciting time here at Cutting Edge Firewood. We’re growing quickly and hiring lots of wonderful new people. Customer service is a foundation for our business, and it makes our delivery artisan service such a memorable experience.

We thought it would be fun to release a series of posts this fall and introduce our newest delivery artisans. Today we talk with Ben Loecken, who has an amazing story and some really unique reasons for loving a good fire.

Ben, do you remember many fireside experiences as a kid?

Campfires have always been a part of my life. My dad started taking me camping when I was young. I grew up in Colorado so we spent many nights at a high altitude, roasting hotdogs over an open flame and huddling around the fire when the cold air came down from the mountains. In many ways, fires have been essential to my survival and warmth while in the outdoors. 

campfire outdoors

What were you doing before Cutting Edge Firewood?

I actually lived in Nepal for 3 years. It is a small nation sandwiched between India and China, famous for the tallest mountains in the world. While there, I worked for Youth with a Mission and helped plan and lead many treks through the Himalayas. 

During my time in Nepal I realized how much the local Nepali people relied on fires to cook and stay warm in the winter months – living at 14,000 feet can be extremely difficult!

ben snow

I remember countless trips in Nepal where a group of friends and I would stumble into a village after 20+ miles of trekking in extremely harsh conditions. We were sometimes soaked, sometimes cold, and sometimes altitude sick. A good fire provided instant comfort for us. It offered a gathering place, a place to share stories from the day and to keep us warm into the night as the temperature dropped.

What was your most memorable moment while living in Nepal?

During one trip, several close friends and I were preparing to cross a 17,700 foot high mountain pass. We spent a frigid night at high camp, tossing and turning from the altitude and cold. 

Before we knew it, the beeping of my watch alarm let us know that it was 3:30am – time to wakeup. There had been a snowstorm overnight, which meant we had to blaze the trail that morning. We kept moving steadily through the cold, trying to find the route through the snow. 

trailblazing

Finally, after hours of trekking, we reached the top of the pass. Our feet and hands were almost frozen and our noses stung from the cold as we entered a small shack perched at the very top of the pass. Inside, we were greeted by a warm fire and a hardy local man adding logs to the flames to prepare some infamous Nepali tea for us. We were amazed at the resilience and grit of the man who decided to make this tiny dwelling at 17,000 feet his home. 

It occurred to me that no matter where we are from, we all share a common need for a fire to keep us warm and cook our food. The warmth we received in that tiny home gave us the strength to make it down the mountain.

Why are you excited to work at Cutting Edge Firewood?

My life is full of memorable moments gathered around the fire. When I gaze into the flames, I reflect on how lucky I am to have had those experiences.

I am excited to join Cutting Edge Firewood and help others experience their own memorable moments. With a great fire, you can experience the wonder of the great outdoors in your own backyard. As much as I love the mountains, sometimes it’s just as nice to enjoy a fire on a cool evening at your own home!