National Geographic : 1961 Aug
Jogging up Mount Madison, student Gerry Whiting carries 85 pounds of food for the Madison Spring Huts. His Yukon pack, ten pounds of wood, rope, and canvas, puts most of the weight on his bare shoul ders. Young, sturdy hutboys, all enthusi astic outdoorsmen, carry 90 percent of the supplies needed to serve thousands of meals each year in the seven AMC huts in the White Mountains. Ringer! Dirt flies as a horseshoe finds its post. The midmorning break relieves a long day's work for Madison hutmaster Douglas Kirkwood. Rising at dawn, he and his as sistants prepared breakfast and trail lunches for 50-odd hikers. Cleanup and packup fol lowed. Afternoon will find them cooking for a new wave of guests. To get the picture, photographer Kath leen Revis crouched behind the post for some 150 pitches. Dirt pelted her in the face, and each ringer sounded like "a shot from a gun." Fearful that she had missed her picture, she hiked seven miles for a return visit-only to discover later that she had caught this view on the first roll of film. made ice cream - a long hike, I thought, from the nearest source of ice. Though three of the huts have generators for electricity, only Pinkham Notch Camp has a refrigerator. But ice, I learned, lingers far into the sum mer in the rocky crevices of Carter Notch. When I awoke next day I folded my blan kets, as hut guests are expected to do, and stepped out of the men's bunkroom into a morning that sparkled with a heavy dew. George and I went to the lake's edge to wash up before taking to the trail. We stood in silence for a while in a stand of mountain ash, watching the "square tails" - brook trout - dimpling the surface. I turned away reluc tantly, for this is a spot that invites, almost compels one to linger. So, too, is Lonesome Lake, at the western most end of the chain of huts. Lonesome is a quiet mountain pond sitting above Fran conia Notch, where the Old Man of the Mountains dominates the countryside. Little sun reaches the trail into Lonesome even on a bright June day, I observed. Yellow and paper-bark birch, hemlock, and rock maple lock branches overhead, infusing the air with a soft emerald hue. White-throated sparrows kept us company along the broad path of crumbling rock and entertained us with their refrain: "Old Sam Peabody, Pea body, Peabody!" Young Visitor Arrives on a Packboard We exchanged greetings with a family group headed for the Lonesome Lake Huts. The youngest was a boy of five. I was not surprised, for one comes to expect all ages on these trails. George Hamilton's youngest son visited the huts when he was barely able to walk - carried papoose-style on a packboard. And fully 20 percent of the huts' guests are supervised groups from children's camps. Yet I have encountered more than a few hik ers well into their seventies.