High Huts of the White Mountains

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Greenleaf Hut on the shoulder of Mount Lafayette

The High Huts of the White Mountains are eight mountain huts in the White Mountains, in the U.S. state of New Hampshire, owned and maintained by the Appalachian Mountain Club. Modeled after similar huts in the Alps, they are positioned at intervals along the Appalachian Trail, allowing "thru-hikers" (those who hike the entire Appalachian Trail) to benefit from their services. They are generally separated by six to eight miles, about a day's hike.

Hikers can reserve overnight bunks at the huts, which hold from 36 to 96 people each. In summer season (June through mid-September) the huts are "full service", serving dinner and breakfast. Three huts stay open the rest of the year as "self service", allowing guests to cook their own food in the kitchen.

The huts are staffed by a team of five to nine caretakers - often called "the croo," using that spelling[1] - during full-service season. Each crew member works for eleven days on, three days off. During the eleven working days, they must make four trips back down the mountain to get perishable food and other supplies, carrying heavy loads. At the beginning of each season, fuel and supplies are flown into the huts by helicopter. The huts were built and are maintained by the Appalachian Mountain Club's construction crew.

The huts are very popular, having handled thousands of hikers entering the back woods and environmentally sensitive areas above tree line. Four years and an environmental impact statement were required to get the huts' permits renewed by the U.S. Forest Service in 1999.[2]

Hut history[edit]

The following High Huts are presented in the order they would be reached when hiking the Appalachian Trail from south to north.

Lonesome Lake[edit]

Lonesome Lake Hut (44°08′19″N 71°42′12″W / 44.1385°N 71.7033°W / 44.1385; -71.7033 (Lonesome Lake Hut)) is the second lowest hut in the system. It started out in 1876 as a fishing camp on Lonesome Lake, with cabins built by author W.C. Prime. The hut officially became part of the AMC system in 1929, when the State of New Hampshire bought the land and invited the club to run it as a shelter. It has since become popular with families due to its low altitude and relative ease of ascent. It is tied with Greenleaf, its closest neighbor, for the fourth highest capacity.[3][4]

Greenleaf[edit]

Greenleaf Hut (44°09′37″N 71°39′37″W / 44.1603°N 71.6604°W / 44.1603; -71.6604 (Greenleaf Hut)) lies on a prominent shoulder of Mount Lafayette, offering spectacular views of Franconia Ridge. Its construction was the first to leave behind the stone and masonry construction technique utilized by earlier huts, and to use a team of burros to carry materials. Completed in 1930, it pioneered running water and indoor toilets, reflecting an evolution of AMC huts from simple shelters towards becoming more like mountainside hostels. Much of Greenleaf's construction funding came from Colonel Charles Greenleaf, for whom it is named. Its design — a central dining room and kitchen flanked by two bunkrooms — became the model for Galehead and Zealand Falls huts, both constructed within the next year. At 4,200 feet (1,300 m) above sea level, Greenleaf is the third highest hut in the system and is tied with Lonesome Lake Hut for the fourth highest capacity. Lonesome Lake is also the hut's closest southern neighbor, with Galehead Hut to the north.[5][6]

Galehead[edit]

Galehead Hut (44°11′16″N 71°34′08″W / 44.1879°N 71.5688°W / 44.1879; -71.5688 (Galehead Hut)) lies nearly 3,800 feet (1,200 m) above sea level on rugged Garfield Ridge. Construction on the original structure there began in 1931, using wood from the surrounding trees. It was completed in 1932, along with Zealand Falls Hut, its closest northern neighbor. A small space under the front porch was used to store perishable foods. In 1938, Galehead gained a temporary 360 degree view when the Great New England Hurricane blew over all the surrounding trees. It was replaced in June 2000 with a new Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant hut, complete with a wheelchair ramp even though it is 5 miles (8 km) of rough trail from the nearest trailhead.[7] Given its altitude and remoteness, the vast majority of the new structure's materials had to be carried in; thus mainly lightweight materials were utilized. New features include composting toilets (already in use at Mizpah Spring Hut, Carter Notch Hut, and Lonesome Lake Hut), both solar panels and a wind vane for producing power, and a foundation fastened to the granite bedrock with grouted rebar, giving the hut the ability to withstand winds up to 125 miles per hour (200 km/h). The hut is 0.9 miles (1.4 km) from the summit of South Twin Mountain and 0.5 miles (800 m) from the summit of Galehead Mountain. It is tied with Mizpah Springs Hut as fourth highest and sleeps the second fewest guests. Greenleaf is the closest hut to the south.[8][9][10]

Zealand Falls[edit]

Zealand Falls Hut (44°11′46″N 71°29′40″W / 44.1960°N 71.4944°W / 44.1960; -71.4944 (Zealand Falls Hut)) was completed in 1932 along with Galehead and has been open in the winter season since 1973. It, like Lonesome Lake hut, is notable as a "family" hut due to its low altitude and relatively easy approach climb. It also has the lowest capacity of all the huts, sleeping little more than a third of the largest capacity hut. Zealand is neighbored by Galehead to the south and Mizpah Spring to the north.[11][12]

Mizpah Spring[edit]

Mizpah Spring Hut (44°13′09″N 71°22′10″W / 44.2193°N 71.3695°W / 44.2193; -71.3695 (Mizpah Spring Hut)) was originally built in 1964, and although there are newer buildings in the system, this makes Mizpah the newest hut site in the system. The building is designed to withstand 200 miles per hour (320 km/h) winds and was built with materials brought in by helicopter. This hut is tied with Galehead Hut for the fourth highest hut and sleeps the second largest number of people. Its immediate neighbor to the south is Zealand Falls Hut, and its immediate neighbor to the north is Lakes of the Clouds hut.[13][14]

Lakes of the Clouds[edit]

Lakes of the Clouds Hut at sunset

The highest, largest, and most popular hut in the system, Lakes of the Clouds Hut (44°15′32″N 71°19′08″W / 44.2588°N 71.3190°W / 44.2588; -71.3190 (Lakes of the Clouds Hut)) started as a shelter built in 1901 in response to the deaths in the previous year of two hikers caught in a storm on their way to an AMC meeting atop Mount Washington. Fourteen years later it was rebuilt as a hut, and has since been renovated at least five times — in 1922, 1927, 1947, 1969 and 2005. Despite its position as the highest of the huts—at an elevation of 5,030 feet (1,533 m)—it is also the most easily accessible due to its proximity to the summit of Mount Washington, accessible both by car and by the Mount Washington Cog Railway, a popular tourist attraction. It is located adjacent to its namesake Lakes of the Clouds—two small alpine tarns — and just below the 5,372 ft (1,637 m) summit of Mount Monroe. The hut is the largest of the AMC chain: It provides bunks for 90 hikers. Because of its size and popularity, it is known as "Lakes of the Crowds". Mizpah Spring Hut is the closest hut to the south and Madison Spring is the closest hut to the north.[15][16]

Madison Spring[edit]

Madison Spring Hut

Madison Spring Hut (44°19′40″N 71°17′00″W / 44.3277°N 71.2832°W / 44.3277; -71.2832 (Madison Spring Hut)), originally built in 1888, is the oldest hut site in the United States. The first overnight guests stayed in the winter of 1889, and in 1906 a fee was instituted to utilize the shelter — 50 cents per night. The original hut was expanded in that same year, as well as 1911, 1922, and 1929. However, in 1940, a fire — caused by the ignition of gasoline for the gasoline-electric power generator — destroyed much of the hut. The following year it was rebuilt and re-opened. The hut was extensively rehabilitated in the fall of 2010 and early 2011.[17]

At 4,810 feet (1,466 m) above sea level, it is the second highest hut in the chain, and it sleeps the third highest number of guests. The hut is accessed most directly from the Valley Way trail (from the Appalachia parking lot). It is generally considered the most difficult of the full-service huts to access, based on distance and elevation required to reach it. To the southwest is Lakes of the Clouds Hut, and to the southeast is Carter Notch Hut.[18][19]

Carter Notch[edit]

Carter Notch Hut (44°15′33″N 71°11′44″W / 44.2591°N 71.1955°W / 44.2591; -71.1955 (Carter Notch Hut)) is the easternmost hut in the system[20] and is open year-round. Between 1996 and 2006, it operated on a self-service basis; since then it has resumed operating as a full-service hut during the summer season, remaining self-service the rest of the year.[21][22] The site's use as a shelter began in 1904 as a simple log cabin; the building was rebuilt as a hut in 1914, making Carter Notch the oldest building in the hut chain, supposedly by Milton McGregor, aka "Red Mac".[23] There are two bunkhouses located a short distance from the main hut structure; thus from the cliffs above, the hut is viewed as a small compound. There are two small ponds located nearby, as well as a tremendous boulder field. Carter Notch helped establish the hut as a viable pursuit for the AMC, and after its initial success, the group began to lay plans for a hut system. It has both the third lowest altitude and the third lowest capacity of any hut. Its closest southern neighbor is Madison Spring Hut.[9][24]

Table[edit]

Hut Location Elevation Capacity Sleeping arrangement 2017 season dates
Carter Notch Hut
Carter Notch
3,288 feet
40
Two bunkhouses — coed rooms for four to six people
Full service June 1 – September 16, self-service the rest of the year [20]
Galehead Hut
Edge of Pemigewasset Wilderness Area
3,800 feet
38
Four coed bunkrooms
Self service May 5–28, Full service June 1-October 21 [9]
Greenleaf Hut
Mount Lafayette
4,200 feet
48
Two coed bunkrooms
Self service May 5–28, Full service June 1-October 21 [6]
Lakes of the Clouds Hut
Southern shoulder of Mount Washington
5,030 feet
96
Coed bunkrooms
Full service June 3 – September 17 [16]
Lonesome Lake Hut
Cannon Mountain
2,760 feet
48
Two bunkhouses — coed rooms for four to six people
Full service June 1-October 21, Self-service the rest of the year [4]
Madison Spring Hut
Col between Mount Madison and Mount Adams
4,800 feet
52
Two coed bunkrooms
Full service June 1-September 23 [19]
Mizpah Spring Hut
Mount Pierce (often referred to as Mount Clinton)
3,800 feet
60
Coed bunkrooms for four to eight people
Self service May 5–28, Full service June 1-October - 21 [14]
Zealand Falls Hut
Zealand Notch
2,637 feet
36
Two coed bunkrooms
Full service June 2-October 21, Self-service the rest of the year [12]

References[edit]

  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ Forest magazine (Dec. 2000): "A Rough Stretch of Trail."
  3. ^ "Historic Profile: Lonesome Lake Hut". AMC. Archived from the original on 2006-09-29. Retrieved 2009-04-22. 
  4. ^ a b "Lonesome Lake Hut". AMC. Retrieved 2009-04-22. 
  5. ^ "Historic Profile: Greenleaf Hut". AMC. Archived from the original on 2008-12-27. Retrieved 2009-04-22. 
  6. ^ a b "Greenleaf Hut". AMC. Retrieved 2009-04-22. 
  7. ^ Carey Goldberg (August 17, 2000). "For These Trailblazers, Wheelchairs Matter". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-04-22. 
  8. ^ "Historic Profile: Galehead Hut". AMC. Archived from the original on 2008-12-27. Retrieved 2009-04-22. 
  9. ^ a b c "Galehead Hut". AMC. Retrieved 2009-04-22. 
  10. ^ "Galehead Hut Blends the Best of the Old and New". AMC. Archived from the original on 2008-12-27. Retrieved 2009-04-22. 
  11. ^ "Historic Profile: Zealand Falls Hut". AMC. Archived from the original on 2010-01-16. Retrieved 2009-04-22. 
  12. ^ a b "Zealand Falls Hut". AMC. Retrieved 2009-04-22. 
  13. ^ "Historic Profile: Mizpah Spring Hut". AMC. Archived from the original on 2009-02-15. Retrieved 2009-04-22. 
  14. ^ a b "Mizpah Spring Hut". AMC. Retrieved 2009-04-22. 
  15. ^ "Historic Profile: Lakes of the Clouds Hut". AMC. Archived from the original on 2009-08-06. Retrieved 2009-04-22. 
  16. ^ a b "Lakes of the Clouds Hut". AMC. Retrieved 2009-04-22. 
  17. ^ AMC News: Rebuilding Madison Spring Hut
  18. ^ "Historic Profile: Madison Spring Hut". AMC. Archived from the original on 2009-02-15. Retrieved 2009-04-22. 
  19. ^ a b "Madison Spring Hut". AMC. Retrieved 2009-04-22. 
  20. ^ a b "Carter Notch Hut". AMC. Retrieved 2009-04-22. 
  21. ^ "2009 White Mountain Hut Rates". AMC. Retrieved 2009-04-22. 
  22. ^ "AMC Carter Notch Hut Returns to Full Service in Summer 2007". AMC. October 11, 2006. Retrieved 2009-04-22. 
  23. ^ Perry, Tristan. Ghostly Legends of the Appalachian Trail. Wever, Iowa: Quixote Press, 2008. Pages 77-91.
  24. ^ "Historic Profile: Carter Notch Hut". AMC. Archived from the original on 2009-02-14. Retrieved 2009-04-22. 

External links[edit]