Whisk Broom’s Smoke

I’ve been working pretty consistently on my conditioning now for several months. The next Grand Canyon hike is coming up in a few weeks, and I’m feeling pretty confident. Besides the sit-ups and pushups in the morning, I’m hiking about a mile a day with 60# in my backpack.

A couple of Saturdays back, I asked Alice if she’d like to accompany me on a longer hike. I figured 3 miles would be doable with the backpack. I like to do a longer one each year if I can just to be sure there are no surprises. She agreed to go along, so we started getting ready. One thing I wanted to do was get a fire going in the small Jotul stove in our livingroom. The ash shovel and whisk broom were leaning against the chimney, so I grabbed both, lay the whisk broom down, and walked over the the big Jotul stove and got a scoop of hot coals, which I transferred into the little Jotul. I then opened the air, piled in a couple of sticks of wood, and went about my business getting ready for the hike.

We were soon out the door and enjoying the lovely crisp winter air. With my backpack, 3 miles takes me over an hour to accomplish. When we walked in the door after the hike, we both noticed it smelled smokey in the house. This is not terribly unusual when you heat with wood, but an immediate investigation is called for just to be sure nothing serious was happening.

This smoke smelled unusual to me. Alice got into the living room before me, and she said, “uh-oh.” On the little Jotul stove lay the remains of the whisk broom I’d left there just before starting the fire. That poor broom roasted on top of the little Jotul as it caught and burned its cheery fire. The smoke it made was pretty acrid too. It took us a while to clear out the smell, and I hope an important lesson got learned to boot.

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