Friday, August 29, 2014

The Huts

Backtracking to last week, I wanted to post a few things about the huts maintained by the AMC throughout the Whites. If you're interested in details about the history and operation of the huts, there's plenty of info online so I won't repeat it here. But I would like to share a little of my experience.
Lonesome Lake Hut

The huts are open usually summer-fall to paying guests but offer food/drink/supplies for sale to the public as well as "work for stay" opportunities for a few hikers. I stopped at many of the huts for a quick snack and a look around. The huts are all located in spectacular settings throughout the WMNF. I was fortunate to do work-for-stay during three nights of my trek. The key is to get in early and be friendly and willing to help out. The work part is usually a couple hours of chores, either cleaning the hut or helping with kitchen duties.
Zealand Falls Hut
In return, hikers would receive leftovers to dine on and be allowed to sleep on the dining hall floor after the guests retired. 
The huts were a savior for me as shelters and campsites are sparcely spaced throughout the park and the weather was very changeable. My first experience with w-f-s was at Zealand Falls. The guests and crew were so nice. And we even had a little musical entertainment by the crew after hours. I also did work for stay at the Mizpah Springs Hut and the Madison Springs Hut. I think it helped that I was hiking with a couple thru-hikers and we made a jolly crew for doing the "hut tour". The extra calories and shelter , especially on Mt Madison help me a lot and I was able to hike stronger as a result.

Probably the most dramatic and most popular hut is The Lake of Clouds Hut at the base of Mt. Washington. Situated at 5000', it's the only viable shelter above treeline. It's proximity to Mt Washington makes keeps it full throughout the season.

Madison Springs Hut, also high elevation, high popularity.

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