Karl Seckinger

Karl "Trout Whisperer" Seckinger is an outdoor enthusiast and resides in northeastern Minnesota.

Fire’s… make my wood smoke

Posted by: Karl Seckinger Updated: January 13, 2013 - 4:50 AM

I think the wood smoke from this last winter camping trip had the best nasal flavor of the entire year. Quite by accident, At first we gathered the easiest, the highest, the driest kind of wood and it was a stumbled upon recipe by us that Betty Crocker herself would smell and come running for. It was a mixture of exposed shoreline, high and sun dried cedar.

Waves all last summer had washed off the bark scrubbing against shoreline rocks. Most of the logs somehow last fall during freeze up eased up and were sticking out for easy pickings. Our kinda firewood, the lazy kind. Little did we know. We sawed it off above the snowline, filled the sled and logged it up back at the tent. Cedar sawdust laying brown on the snow looked like woodland gravy and oh lord it smelled so fragrant.

Then in the woodstove it was a merlin’s magic potion so perfect with morning coffee steaming back at the stove. I’d be hiking back from the lone lake trout hole that tossed us a few trout and the scent of that drifting smoke led me home by the nose full.

Day after day, night after night, all that cedar went full flame setting it on some peeled poplar off an exposed but abandoned beaver lodge. Grayed, barked and cured at least one full year made it snap and pop in the stove. It gets ridiculous thinking about the amount of time you spend hand sawing, axing and hauling firewood to cook and keep you warm.

The thing was once we touched off the first fire, no other wood was gonna work for us, for the trips duration. It’s not so silly when it smells so good. We could a burned wind topped red pine or hacked into down’d birch which has its own brand of air borne aroma I enjoy but this cedar atop toppled poplar if ever turned into pipe tobacco would be a million dollar idea sure to go up in wood smoke and make somebody truly rich.

So the last few days we worked for our wood. We worked farther each day but was it ever worth it. I can still smell it in my red wool shirt now, many electrically home warmed days later.

The trout whisperer

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