National Geographic : 1961 Aug
Camel-sized Load Arrives Atop Youth in a Zebra Vest Back-straining bundle, 185 pounds of gro ceries, eases off the shoulders of William Belcher, assistant hutmaster at Lakes of the Clouds. Eighteen years old, he packed the load 1'/2 grueling miles downhill from Mount Washington, where supplies are trucked in. Perhaps even harder than climb ing, downhill packing requires steady foot work and balance. Slippery rocks invite spills. "The boys sort of stagger down the moun tain," photographer Revis observed. Swells and peals of an organ enliven evenings at Zealand Falls Hut. Assistant hutmaster Henry A. Zoob plays; Navy chaplain Capt. A. R. Cook, his wife, sons, and daughter join in song. The organ, like all else, was packed in. HS EKTACHROME( NATIONAL GEOGRAPHICSOCIETY for cots or even sleep on dining-room tables. Beyond Galehead Hut the trail jogs up and down through thick stands of timber, past rivulets and springs where I like to put my face to the cold, pure water. We opened our trail lunches on Mount Garfield, where a fire tower once stood. We lay on smooth granite on the lee side, a bright sun warming the rock. The only sound was the whistling of the wind. The only move ment was the scudding of white clouds and a hawk that soared gracefully high overhead. "No traffic," I sighed. "No exhaust fumes," Kathleen added. "No people," said Paul. "Not even a telephone," George murmured happily, eyes closed. We pushed off down the trail to Garfield Pond, a small, shallow lake fringed with lily pads, and slaked our thirst at Elizabeth Spring, barely large enough for dipping, where the water stays at about 38° on the hottest summer day. George and Paul paused to examine a sharp-clawed track, strange to me. They nodded in agreement: a fisher. This large 218 and ferocious member of the weasel family flourishes in the White Mountains. "They call him the 'forester's friend,' "Paul said. "For a good meal he'll wade right into a porcupine, which does a lot of timber damage up here. The fisher's as fast as he is tough, too-one of the few animals I know that can run down a red squirrel in his own tree." Grouse Attacks Human Invaders Game is more abundant in this area than in others served by the huts. This is a favor ite haunt of the Virginia deer. Bobcat sign is frequent. And I always see snowshoe rab bits here. Once, on an earlier hike with George Ham ilton, I lagged behind while he disappeared around a bend. Suddenly I heard him laugh, shouting, "We're being attacked!" When I caught up, I saw a hen spruce grouse, mottled with reddish, golden-brown feathers, charging him over and over again. Red marks above her eyes gave the illusion of genuine anger. Only when her brood of half a dozen chicks had reached cover did she retreat and leave the trail to us.