Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The New Wood Stove

Around '94, my Mom came to Boone for a visit and we used her car to travel around the area looking for a suitable Tipi woodstove replacement for the old and smokey one I was using. We found a near perfect one at a flea market near Valle Crucis, and after close inspection I got it for $70 and loaded it carefully into the car and dumped it off at my trailhead below the lodge where it sat for several days.
Getting this heavy monster up the 800-1000 foot climb by myself was gonna be a Sysiphean task, so one day I went down and just started rolling it end over end like a domino, inch by inch up the mountain. After about four hours I made it about a third of the way and decided to wait for my backpacking buddy Johnny B to help.
A couple of days later Johnny B shows up and we manhandle the beast slowly up the trail, grunting and heaving as best we can. It's a heavy mofo. Finally we get it situated and hooked up properly, which takes some time as I have to reconfigure the pipe exit using new dimensions, etc. I used old clumps of insulation to block and seal the stovepipe hole and layed in enough new stovepipe as backup for the winter.
The new woodstove was a true outdoorsman's blessing, it kept a fire going all night long and kept the Tipi even hot on cold winter nights. It was not unusual to experience subzero temperatures during the long, cold Boone winters, the lowest I saw at the Tipi was -14 degrees, and this woodstove kept me warm.
I used a standard base camp style thermarest mattress for sleeping on the ground(with the ground covered in tarps and rugs and even in the beginning my old boy scout red flannel sleeping bag from the 1950s). And of course I used my old North Face Ibex goose down bag to sleep in, so it saw a lot of action thru the years.
When I first moved to the ridge in '87, I carried water from a well head at the bottom. Later, I discovered a small spring seep about 150 below the Tipi and dug it out and found it wet enough to form a small reservoir with a pipe and bucket-holding tank. This became my main water source and never really went dry, even during a drought. With five gallon water containers, I could load up two at the spring and hump them up at once, about a hundred pounds of the precious liquid. This was stored in the Tipi and I used very little on a daily basis. It's amazing how little water a person needs to survive, nothing like what is commonly used in a typical modern home.

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