Thursday, July 1, 2010

Across the Ridge

Earlier this week, I hiked up to Madison Springs Hut, where an old college friend, Ari Ofsevit, is working this summer. Nick Anderson, a croomate of mine two years ago at Zealand Falls, had croo switched over for the night - here he is on the Airline, by the lip of King Ravine, to which we scuttled after dinner to take in the sunset.

Madison, the next morning. The hut is to be demolished this fall and rebuilt. Despite its charm, the hut is cramped, and its systems simply do not work very well. Indeed, the plumbing was having fits during my stay. The altitude is too high for composting toilets, and the old flush system has particular difficulty with cold weather. In this picture, Nick is helping the huts manager, Eric Pederson to put up the anemometer on the hut roof. The cook, Carly, happened to be washing dishes at the same moment.

Nick, Ari, Caitlin McDonough - an AMC researcher - and George Heinrichs - another former hutmate of mine from Galehead - headed over to Lakes of the Clouds on my second day. Here, the Gulfside Trail looks almost like a road. Indeed, it was carefully crafted over a century ago by J. Rayner Edmands and a team of Italian workmen he hired up from Boston. Freeze-thaw cycles seem to have broken the treadway less here than along most of the winding path it traverses through the Northern Presidentials.

A dwindling snowbank that looked like the skin of a giraffe.

Mountain Heath.

New growth on the alpine balsam.

Monticello Lawn on the southwest flank of Jefferson.

Nick, Caitlin, and George near Sphinx Col.

At the junction of the Gulfside and Westside Trails.

Looking west from Washington towards Bretton Woods.

Traversing across the bulk of Washington, beginning to close in on Lakes.

The sunset that night was spectacular. In some ways, haze is more beautiful at dusk than clear air.

It was hutmaster set at Lakes - every hutmaster in the system had convened at Lakes for three days, ostensibly to mull over the responsibilities of leadership.

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