Dogs are barking (idiom)- feet are hurting
During the fourth of July long weekend, Aaron and I went up to the White Mountains in New Hampshire. Our friend Casey who worked at Appalachian Mountain Club’s Lonesome Lake last fall (see Wizend) is a caretaker at Randolph Mountain Club’s Gray Knob this summer. We hiked up to the cabin from the parking lot at Appalachia in heavy downpour, the kind that you can later wring a bucketful of water from your clothes. At some point, it felt like taking a shower. Nature’s showerhead had better water pressure than half of the apartments I’ve lived in. At Gray Knob, Casey greeted us with hot ginger licorice tea as we ripped into a box of oreos that we brought up for him along with other food items. We made mac and cheese with bacon grease for dinner, watched the sun set dramatically, and played a quick card game called Up and Down the River. There were no other guests at the cabin. Before going to sleep, I read us a misadventure story from Not Without Peril, a collection of accidents that took place on Mount Washington and the Presidential Range.
The next morning, not-yet-caffeinated Aaron and tea-drinking Casey and myself mozied over to Madison hut. A major difference between AMC and RMC huts is the amenities. During the full-service season in the summer and fall, AMC huts provide two full meals and are maintained by a “croo” of five to nine people. RMC huts, on the other hand, are much more bare-bones but cheaper ($20 a night as opposed to $135). We went to Madison hut for free leftover pancakes and coffee. In true AMC custom, we did their dishes in return. Joined by two more friends, we went down the overgrown Buttress trail and back up on Six Husbands trail. Parts of the latter trail were steep with wooden ladders bolted on boulders. We ascended relatively quickly due to both the rapid rise in elevation and the pace our hut friends set. Having to pack out trash and pack in fresh produce on a regular basis, these hut people have legs of steel! We wolfed down our packed sandwiches and snacks at the summit of Mount Jefferson before returning to Gray Knob.
While preparing spicy burritos for dinner, I read us another misadventure story. This one stood out for it highlighted the erratic weather of Mount Washington (snow and high wind that resulted in a death by hypothermia in August) and featured a fellow Middlebury student (the hutmaster at Madison whose croo made several rescue attempts). The full story of MacDonald Barr can be found here. After a full day of trying to keep up with the hut folk, our dogs were definitely barking, and loudly too.