Randolph Mountain Club
P.O. Box 279, Gorham, NH 03581
 

Board of Directors 2000-2001

Mike Pelchat, President              Lynn Farnham                        Steve Maddock
Laura Brockett              David Forsyth                        Gail Scott
Mary Brown              Chris Lake                        Jeff Smith
Michele Cormier              Jon Martinson                        Lisa Teczar
John Eusden              Doug Mayer                        Ginny Umiker

February, 2001

Dear RMC members and friends,

I happily lay down my ski poles and ice tools and take up a computer keyboard to write you these brief mid-winter notes on the status of the Randolph Mountain Club.

During my association with the RMC - which began in 1976 - much has changed but our traditions remain the same. We have new camps, improved trails and a trail maintenance facility - the Klaus Goetze Workshop. We have a web site, more members and more complex finances. What hasn't changed are our beautiful mountains, summer events that bring us together, volunteers who help wherever needed, and a strong spirit among club members to promote the enjoyment of the mountains through hiking, trail development, upkeep of camps and shelters, and sharing our collective knowledge.

In the following summaries our RMC chairmen bring you up-to-date in their fields. The authors are Camps Chair and Club Web Master Jeff Smith; Trails Chair Doug Mayer; Membership Chair Laura Brockett; Events Chair Mary Brown; Archivist Ginny Folsom Umiker; and Treasurer Michele Cormier.

Camps

After a few years of below average snowfall we now have plenty of the white stuff to the delight of our camps' guests. The shelters were at capacity during the Columbus Day and Thanksgiving Day weekends. Our winter caretakers - Ed Walsh and Sarah Heidenreich - are doing an excellent job at Gray Knob as did our fall caretakers - Matt McNamara and Mariah Keagy. A new base radio, commercial-grade antennae, and two 12-volt deep-cycle batteries have been installed at Gray Knob to improve radio transmissions to the valley as well as to the Mt. Washington Observatory and the Pinkham Notch Visitor Center. Reliable communications are necessary to handle emergency situations. Projects for 2001 include construction of a vestibule around the west door at Crag Camp, repairing a tent platform at The Perch and refinishing the floor at Gray Knob. Cynthia Drake, of Glens Falls, NY, will be at Gray Knob for the month of April and Sherri Fabre, our Field Supervisor for 2001, will be at Gray Knob for the month of May.

Web Site

The web site continues to grow with the addition of a printable application form and excerpts from the old Gray Knob logbooks. The gallery has 89 photos. A new trail sign auction has begun (ends May 1). Many new and current members are using the online membership form to pay their dues.

Over a recently observed period of 75 days the site recorded 14,812 hits, with most people checking out the weather conditions at Gray Knob (4,879 hits, averaging 65 a day). The home page averages 27 hits a day. Our link on the Mt. Washington Observatory's web site has been the most successful, prompting 5,955 RMC site hits. Visitors are from countries such as Brazil, Thailand, Ireland, France, Australia, Mexico, Germany, and Armenia as well as the U.S.

Trails

Thanks to the generosity of Dan and Edith Tucker the club has finally solved its trail crew housing dilemma. For decades we've pieced together seasonal housing for the trail crew in less than ideal arrangements. Dan and Edith have donated the use of a cottage they recently bought, adjacent to their farmhouse. The cottage has been named the "Jones Cottage," in honor of Miss Elizabeth E. Jones who lived in the house and also served as treasurer of the RMC from the mid-1920s through 1947. For many years she painted RMC's trail signs. The Jones Cottage will be the center of activity for the crew, providing housing for the field supervisor as well as cooking, dining and bathroom facilities for seven other trail crew members.

To house the crew the RMC needs to build seven tent platforms and purchase semi-permanent canvas tents for each platform. The total cost of this effort will be more than $10,000. The RMC has already applied to the American Alpine Club and American Hiking Society for support. More than $500 in donations from Moriah Sports and Eastern Mountain Sports has been received for the project. Recent donations from the Reavis Foundation and New Hampshire Charitable Fund will also be applied toward trail crew housing.

But the club needs your help to make this happen. Being a small organization, we rely heavily on our membership when opportunities such as this arise. We hope you can make a contribution to help us take advantage of this great opportunity. The crew arrives the first weekend in June and we'd like nothing more than to provide them with a real base of operations at long last.

For the coming summer the senior trail crew will be finishing up an erosion control project on the lower half of Lowe's Path. The SCA crew will be working nearby on the fine day hiking trails on the north slope of the Presidentials, including Sylvan Way, Fallsway and Brookbank. The US Forest Service and the National Recreation Trails Fund provide funding for these two projects. The NRTF is administered in New Hampshire by the Bureau of Trails. The crews will also undertake basic maintenance, including patrolling trails for blowdowns in early June, brushing and blazing. Several volunteer trail work excursions are in the planning stages.

By the time this newsletter is in your hands, the senior crew will be hired. The SCA crew will be hired in March. If you know anyone who might be interested in applying for the first year, SCA crew, encourage him or her to check out the application information on the RMC web site.

The club is now starting the planning for two new trails through the recently acquired Randolph Community Forest. The new trails will likely be a loop, in places following the location of the old Pond of Safety and Carlton Notch Trails. The new trails will be carefully located to be as dry as possible to avoid further erosion problems. The two trails will total more than six miles in length. One trail will pass on the north side of Mt. Randolph, to the pond, while the other will start in the vicinity of Carlton Notch and also end at the Pond of Safety. Trail layout will occur this summer and construction will take place during the summer of 2002.

Thanks to all those who volunteered time, ideas, and money to make the Klaus Goetze Trails Workshop a reality. The workshop has proved to be an enormous asset to the club. Our tools are stores securely and can be better maintained, now that we have a permanent, safe, functional workspace. And, our caretakers finally have a secure location to store supplies for the cabins. Thanks to all who helped with this effort!

Events

The Fourth of July Tea, the Gourmet Hike, the Charades and Annual Picnic, and Annual Meeting will take place as usual this summer, but dates and locations have not yet been set. Look for a complete schedule in the June letter.

Membership and Directory

The RMC has 506 contributing members. Last year the club published a directory containing name, address, telephone number and e-mail address of those members who indicated they wanted to be included. The directory has distributed at the Fourth of July Picnic and at the annual meeting. There are 160 directories left. We plan to update the directory in 2002. If you would like to be included in the update or would like to purchase and existing one for $5 ($3 plus mailing), please contact Laura Brockett.

Archives

The archives have been put into chronological order with two discrete files of annual letters and treasurer reports. Two portable fireproof files ensure the safety of irreplaceable items. The archives are stored in a private residence but we hope to establish a permanent home for them. The RMC would be happy to accept any memorabilia that members would like to donate.

Finally the board offers special thanks to past president Ben Phinney who broke new ground, streamlining and clarifying the jobs of future presidents and board members. Thanks, too, to members of the RMC board for their dedication to the success of the club; to camps caretakers and trail crew; and to all of you, RMC members. You are the people who keep the RMC trails open so everyone can enjoy the message of the mountains.

Sincerely,

Mike Pelchat
RMC President