Saturday, August 16, 2008
Thoughts from a kinda-sorta-ex-hut kid
This piece is written by Beth Weick, currently the rotating caretaker in the Eastern Pemigewasett and a former Lakes of the Clouds Hutmaster.
For those who don’t know me or would feign not to, I’m writing this as a shelters caretaker. A new and different gig for me, and one that generates all manner of comparisons to the huts, however unfair and non-judicious that may be.
So. Guests. In shelters, we call them visitors, but we all know to whom we are referring. Those folks who come up from near and far to traipse about these White Mountains. Too many are foolhardy and stubborn, from Boston; many are also foreigners who don’t speak the language…from Quebec; and then there are the others who are from the far corners of our country, and abroad.
Let me tell you: you want your hutguests to be as inadequate as they are. Yes, guests—“goofers,” if you must—are the source of complaints, stories, expletives, frustrations, and burgeoning alcoholics. But that’s the point. Without miserably incompetent hikers, half the hutkid repertoire is gone.
In shelters, I daily interact with folks who can shoulder fairly well-packed packs, follow a map, feed themselves, entertain themselves, and infer from the rain that the weather is bad. They know that moose don’t become reindeer after age 10, they know the alpine zone wasn’t built by cutting down the trees, and they can distinguish between a wind generator and fighting mountain lions.
Boring. Not only do I have no one to complain with, I have little to complain about. Imagine what this would do to a hut.
1) You’d never miss a drinking opportunity due to late night “guided hikes.”
2) You could have meat, bread, and peanuts in every meal without hysterics and epi-pens to boot.
3) “Excuse me, sir” and “please, ma’am” would never imply “get the f*** out of my kitchen.”
4) You’d never revert to Borat-isms in a fruitless attempt to communicate with the ceaseless French-Canadians.
5) You’d never ruin a sunset moment with stock-option conversations or unsupervised rascals picking up the wilderness.
6) The tip jar would be $100 lighter because people could carry their own packs, or find their own family, or not break their ankle.
Moral of the story? Medicocrity, nay, failing at even mediocrity is never as fun to witness as in our “high mountain destinations. May guests live on as goofers in our huts, and may their obliviousness always hide them from it.
Posted by Andrew Riely at 2:15 PM