RMC Newsletter - Winter 2006-2007

Table of Contents

President's Letter
By Jamie Maddock

"This summer was very successful for the club as a whole. The Fourth of July Tea was a vibrant event. All ages were represented in the festive crowd. The Board and I had the honor of accepting the deed for the Stearns Lodge land from the Tuckers."

Reports from Committees
By Al Hudson, Al Sochard, Doug Mayer, Blake Strayhorn, Jeff Smith, and Bill Parlett Jr.

From the Archivist, Camps News, Trails Report, RMC Merchandise, Web Site News, and Treasurer's Report.


Winter in the RMC Camps
By Judith Maddock Hudson

"Even then the winds drove snow with such force through the cracks, around the doors & windows that the entire room began to fill with snow - the gusts became so violent that the whole cabin began to shake....Being unable to sleep amidst the blowing snow & fearing a potential collapse, I retreated into the back room..."

Bill and Paula Bradley Receive Lifetime Membership Honors
By Al Hudson

At the RMC Annual Meeting this past summer, longtime RMC members Bill and Paula Bradley received lifetime memberships in the club for their decades of service in numerous capacities.


RMC Interview: Michele Cormier

"Michele Cormier has served for the past 6 years on the Board of Directors as RMC's treasurer. Recently she passed that responsibility to new board member Bill Parlett. Not quite ready to give up all her obligations, Michele decided to take on the significant role of membership director..."

Thanks to all who contributed to Stearns Lodge...

A list of all the donors to the project.


Can't Get Enough RMC
By Aaron Parcak

"Exposure to harsh weather. Shoveling giant mounds of human refuse. Putrid stench that other trail crew members can emit from the mix of many days’ sweat and dirt. Why would I continually submit myself to such physical hardships?"

Remembering Ned
By Doug Mayer

A new book has been published about Ned Green, who served on RMC's trail crew in 2000. Ned died the following winter, in an ice climbing accident in Huntington Ravine on the side of Mount Washington. Compiled by his mother Clare, Cutting A Bond with the Long Trail is a collection of Ned's outdoors journals.


A Letter to the RMC...
By Anthony Plante

"I recently completed a presidential traverse and had the opportunity to have customer service interactions with RMC. I was impressed with the high-quality customer service skills and local hiking knowledge demonstrated by the caretaker from Crag Camp, Aaron."



President's Letter

My aunt, Judy Hudson, wrote her exposé in the last newsletter on my family's penchant for taking our offspring on long forced marches across mountain ridges. This year being no exception, we headed off one beautiful August morning to traverse the Presidentials. Different groups I have hiked with have several interpretations of what constitutes a Presidential traverse. Our Maddock family definition is to start at the Pine Link off the Pinkham B Road, the farthest north and highest one can start. One then climbs Madison and proceeds down the range. All summits must be climbed, with no dodging around on the Gulfside. At the end of the day one cannot merely bail out onto the Crawford path, but must continue down the range to go over Clinton, Jackson, and the dreaded Webster Cliffs.

The RMC Board of Directos commemorates the signing of the deed transferring land for the Stearns Lodge from Dan and Edith Tucker to the club. Photo by Gail Scott.By the time you reach Webster Cliffs, you have done twenty miles or so, your feet are aching from walking above tree line on the rocks all day, and your body is quite ready to call it a day. It does not help that you have just recently passed Mizpah Hut, smelled dinner on the stove and seen all the guests relaxing outside. Once on Webster Cliffs you can see the Willey house site right underneath you. It looks as if with a good running start you could dive into the pond out front, have a nice swim and call it a day. However, from previous hikes, I know there is a paradox at this point. The more you hike, the farther you seem to get from the sharp left turn off the top of the cliffs. Once you are finally at this turn, the worst is over and it is only a quick run down to the trailhead. The trail across the cliffs is quite rugged, and compared to the previous couple of miles, this section takes forever. However, by putting one foot in front of the other, and with lots of bribes in the form of food for the kids, the end of the trail finally comes into sight.

I feel like we are at now at this stage with the Stearns Lodge. We have gone very nearly the whole distance. There is only the last mile or so to go, but we need to keep at it. The lot has been cleared, the foundation excavated and poured, the well drilled, and now the building is rising. If you would like to see the Stearns Lodge being built, just visit the RMC website at www.randolphmountainclub.org, and click on "construction update." There are weekly updates and pictures of the construction. There will also be posted opportunities for people to volunteer their time, later next spring. We still need plenty of help moving and installing tent platforms, landscaping and many other tasks. We are also looking for donated furnishings. (See the article on that topic, elsewhere in this newsletter.) Please lend a hand if you can.

In this newsletter there is a list of every donor to the project. Once again, I thank you each and all very much. It is very impressive that a club the size of ours has been able successfully to conclude a campaign of this magnitude, raising over $360,000! It is truly a tribute to how much we care about these mountains. We are planning to have a dedication for the Stearns Lodge on Sunday, July 15, 2007. Please save the date! It will be a full day of RMC events. We hope you can drop by to check out the new Lodge, and meet all the other people responsible for making this happen along with other RMC members and friends. In addition, we are hoping to have an RMC history display on the walls of the Lodge, perhaps even an RMC trail crew-caretaker alumni softball game and other events!

Barbara Wysession as Mary and Jim Baldwin as Joseph seek shelter at the "Stearns Lodge," only to be told by innkeepers Charles and Ben Umiker that there was "no room." Judy Hudson, as the lodge signpost. The Valley's word was "inn-tents." Photo by Edith Tucker.In other news, I would like to welcome our new board members, Mike Micucci, Sue Wemyss, Bill Parlett, and Derek Schott. Mike has been on the RMC board before, and is well known to many of us as a former caretaker and the owner of Moriah Sports in Gorham. Sue, one of the managers of Great Glen Trails at the base of Mount Washington, brings a zeal for outdoors activities and plenty of energy. Bill Parlett worked for AMC many years ago, and has recently moved to Randolph. A three-year caretaker of Blackburn Lodge on the Appalachian Trail along with his wife Sarah and daughter Kai, Bill has already assumed the role of Treasurer in club. Finally, many of us who have visited Gray Knob in winter are well acquainted with Derek "Storm" Schott, a former Gray Knob winter caretaker. Derek currently works for AMC on their construction crew, and brings a wealth of backcountry maintenance knowledge to RMC. This new contingent brings a lot of experience and know-how to the board, and they have already been put to work! Our longtime treasurer Michele Cormier is going off the board, but is picking up the membership chair. Both John Eusden and Mike Pelchat will be stepping down, but continue to help with trips and camps respectively. Gail Scott is also stepping down, due to conflicts with her new reporting job. Her skill at taking our minutes will be missed. Lydia Goetze has graciously volunteered to take over the role of secretary. We thank Michele, John, Mike, and Gail for their years of service to RMC and their continuing efforts.

This summer was very successful for the club as a whole. The Fourth of July Tea was a vibrant event. All ages were represented in the festive crowd. The Board and I had the honor of accepting the deed for the Stearns Lodge land from the Tuckers. The weather was less cooperative for a number of RMC hikes this year, and the gourmet hike ended up indoors. However, the rain held off for the annual picnic - we were able to hold the charades at Mossy Glen this year! It was great to see so many members there. The day continued with the annual softball game and then a benefit square dance at the Beringer's barn on Randolph Hill.

A number of club members have approached me and asked that the annual picnic be moved from the third weekend to the second weekend in August. Schools are starting classes earlier and earlier in recent years, and many members are on their way home by the traditional date. Your Board talked this over briefly at its fall meeting and would like to hear what the membership thinks. Please email me your thoughts via the RMC web site.

I wish you well this winter, and hope your schedule allows time for you to find yourself on RMC's paths and in the camps.


Jamie Maddock
RMC President

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Reports from Committees...

From the Archivist
By Al Hudson

Map showing current and "lost" trails at the turn of the century in the White Mountains, from RMC's Outline of Trail Development in the White Mountains. Image courtesy of Al Hudson.This has been a year of mostly routine archiving activity. However, I am happy to inform interested readers that that Guy Waterman's An Outline of Trail Development in the White Mountains, 1840-1980 (64 pp, with 15 maps) has been reprinted. This monograph is based on a manuscript supplied by Laura Waterman and edited by Al and Judith Hudson, who added an introduction and an index to White Mountain Trails. It was originally published by the RMC in 2005, but it quickly went out of print. Copies may now be ordered on line from the RMC's web site at a cost of $25.00 plus shipping and handling.

Anyone wishing to contact the archivist may use e-mail (abhudson@anthro.umass.edu), USPS (Al Hudson / 111 Amherst Road / Pelham, MA 01002), or telephone (Randolph: 603/466-5509; Pelham: 413/256-6950).

Camps News
By Al Sochard

This past Columbus Day weekend I had the privilege of being up at the camps with our fall caretaker. The weather was fantastic, a beautiful sunset was followed by a nearly full moon rising over the flanks of Madison, and the camps were full. It was great as Camps Chair to integrate myself however briefly into the caretaker life. Sharing the joys of the mountains with all the different families, groups and solo hikers, along with an invigorating hike to Adams summit on our wonderfully maintained trails, reminded me of why the RMC exists and why we strive for excellence in all our RMC programs.

Fall caretaker Cameron Martindell on the summit of Adams. Photo by Al Sochard.This summer we had two capable and experienced RMC caretakers, both also former members of our Trail Crew -- Aaron Parcak and Rachel Biggs. The summer started off with lots of rainy days, but undampened in spirit, our caretakers provided TLC to guests and visitors.  Our fall caretaker Cameron Martindell has made a big impression on our camp visitors and the RMC community. His web site is an ode to having fun in everything he does, and his reflections have been published weekly on his web site and the RMC site.

This winter we have two caretakers on tap to provide full time coverage. Matt McEttrick, a seasoned caretaker and trail crew member, returns to RMC along with someone new to RMC, Chad McLean. Matt worked at Canyonlands National Park as a river guide this past summer, and has recently been guiding at Ancient Pathways Bushcraft School in Arizona. On Matt's weeks off this winter, he will return to his job at REI. Matt comes with great hopes for a snowy winter up at the Knob. Chad has recently worked on a Forest Service crew out of Conway and was previously leading students in outdoor programs at the Howard Gardner Transitional School. On his off week, Chad will be working on a rustic cabin he is building himself.

The RMC Camps committee welcomes a new member - our 2004-05 former winter caretaker Derek "Storm" Schott. Storm already has been very helpful getting the camps ready for winter and with the hiring of winter caretakers. Mike Pelchat will also serve on the committee again this year.

I encourage all of you to make a trip up to Gray Knob this winter and stop in to say hello -- or perhaps bring your warm sleeping bag and spend the night.

Trails Report
By Doug Mayer

One day in the middle of this past summer, I found myself visiting with Field Supervisor Chris Fithian, reviewing the work to date. It was a whirlwind of activity, reflecting both the spirit of this summer’s trail crew and the wealth and diversity of RMC’s trail system. Their work covered quiet community paths, busy mountain thoroughfares, and high-elevation alpine projects.

Hiker enjoys the view from the Howks, Howker Ridge Trail, this past fall. Photo by Adina Roskies.During the course of their eleven-week season, this season’s RMC trail crew did it all. Their accomplishments include:

- Annual patrolling in early June, including chainsaw and axe removal of blowdowns, and cleaning of many hundreds of waterbars and ditches.

- Erosion control work on Randolph Path between Sylvan Way and Valley Way, and along Amphibrach. Fifty percent of the cost of this work was reimbursed by the White Mountain National Forest.

- Erosion control work on Bee Line and Diagonal. The Diagonal also received new cedar and tamarack bog bridges, as well as a short relocation between Burnbrae Path and EZ Way. The Bee Line now sports a short, new relocation to avoid a driveway walk at the top of the Bee Line. Thanks to Sandy Treddenick, who graciously gave permission for this short section of trail.

- Brushing on many miles of trails, most notably Sylvan Way, Israel Ridge Path, Castle Ravine Trail, Perch Path, Gray Knob Trail, Randolph Path, Cook Path, Ice Gulch Path, Owl’s Head, many of the trails on Randolph Hill and shorter sections of other paths too numerous to mention here.

For the third year in a row, several RMC crew members received their US Forest Service chainsaw certification. The three-day course covers important maintenance, operation and safety issues, and finishes with a practical chainsaw felling test.

Volunteers added to our accomplishments this summer, leading brushing efforts on trails from Four Soldiers to the Lowe’s Path. Thanks go to work trip leaders Peter Behling, Chris Bishop, Irene Garvey, Mary Krueger, and Aaron Schomburg.

Board member Mike Micucci with some of the merchandise available in the new RMC corner at Moriah Sports in Gorham. Photo by Doug Mayer.This past fall, RMC once again hired a part-time fall trail crew, to reclear our drainages after the leaves had fallen. Joining RMC for three weeks of trail work in October and early November were Chad McLean and Mike Finnegan. Chad joined RMC from the Green Mountain Club, where he served as a caretaker. Mike comes to RMC from the Forest Service, where he worked on their trail crew.

Many other volunteers spend considerable time on RMC’s trails endeavors, most notably Co-Chair Dave Salisbury, indisputably one of the region’s most experienced trail experts. Tami Hartley and Regina Ferreria stencil our new trail signs, and board member Matt Schomburg organizes our work trips. Thanks to all of you, and to plenty of others who lend a hand at various times throughout the year!

One question that often gets asked of RMC, is who can apply for trail crew? The answer is... almost anyone. We do ask that prospective applicants be at least 18 years of age, because the crew uses power brush saws, chainsaws and operates complex rigging systems for building rock staircases and waterbars. No previous experience is needed... just a willingness to spend the summer working hard in the Northern Presidentials -- which, as most of us know, often means a healthy dose of bugs, rain and mud, along with cool mountain breezes, sunny days and great comraderie. For more information on RMC trail crew, visit www.randolphmountainclub.org.

One of the nicest aspects of RMC’s trails is that they are open year-round! Though a mantle of ice and snow may be covering them as you read this report, we hope you’ll find time to leave the workaday world behind and enjoy the serene beauty of our mountains in winter.

RMC Merchandise
By Blake Strayhorn

Sales and interest in the new long sleeve T-shirt and the patch seem fairly strong. Mike presented a check for the past few months' sales through Moriah Sports to the club Treasurer. Our arrangement with Moriah Sports, new this year, seems to be working well and gives our merchandise increased exposure. (RMC items are also available by mail, using the membership/order form in this Newsletter, and from our web site www.randolphmountainclub.org.)

We are considering additional RMC products, including water bottles, a map of short hikes in and around Randolph, and a commemorative shirt or sweatshirt for the Stearns Lodge. We are also continuing efforts to find an attractive and reasonably priced winter hat. By the time you read this, the hat should be available for $15.

Web Site News
www.randolphmountainclub.org
By Jeff Smith

Hikers skirt the edge of King Ravine, near Thunderstorm Junction. This is the RMC's first homepage photo from its web site debut in February, 1999. Photo by John Wilcox, November 1998.When we first started to design and plan for RMC’s web site in 1998, the web site committee made a promise always to add new content and never let the site become “stale”. I believe that we have definitely kept that promise! New additions to the site from the past summer/fall include:

- The Stearns Lodge construction update page, with weekly news and photo updates.

- The addition of RMC’s new Duo Dri™ Long Sleeve Crews and new RMC patches to the online store.

- A new RMC public message board, hosted by Google Groups.

- New caretaker journal entries from our fall and winter caretakers.

- Pictures from the trail crew’s summer project in the Town of Randolph.

Weekly updates of weather conditions and snow depth from Gray Knob will return to the web site in November, as usual.

I’ve noticed that many people have been searching for the words “trail sign” and “auction” from our home page. Yes, I did say that a trail auction was supposed to start in June, but due to low production of new signs it was delayed. However, the auction has just started! All the proceeds go to the RMC trails system, and help us pay for the materials for new signs.

If you have any suggestions or ideas for the web site, please feel free to e-mail me.

Treasurer's Report
By Bill Parlett, Jr.

Michele Cormier now faces the greatest challenge of her tenure as RMC Treasurer—training me to replace her. We recently upgraded our bookkeeping software and Michele is providing me with copious amounts of technical and other support. Thank you! The bottom line is that club remains financially stable and operationally is slightly ahead of where it was last year at this time. At the end of the 3rd Quarter 2005 we were awaiting trail work payments of $15,394; this year $7,102 remains outstanding. Plugging these figures into the attached income statement puts 2006 1st-3rd Quarter adjusted net income $890 ahead of 1st-3rd Quarter 2005.

Pledges for the Stearns Lodge now total $368,715. With construction is underway, the board recently approved, if needed, obtaining a bridge loan of up to $100K. However, assuming a normal construction schedule and slightly accelerated pledge payments, we may be able to forgo having to borrow.

Please note that for continuity and confidentiality, Michele Cormier will continue to serve as the point of contact for Stearns Lodge pledge and pledge payment matters.

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Winter in the RMC Camps
By Judith Maddock Hudson i

The earliest camps on the Northern Peaks were constructed for private owners. Built between 1888 and 1909, they were designed for summer use. The Perch and Cascade Camp were open birchbark shelters; the closed shelters - Log Cabin and Spur Cabin - were sometimes used in the off-season. Gray Knob and Crag Camp were not used in winter during the early years.

Perhaps during a hunting expedition in late November 1902, Randolphian John H. Boothman (who had constructed Spur Cabin), together with E. S. Brown (a teenager from Randolph) and J. W. Wright signed the Spur Cabin register. The cabin's owner George Moore or occasional parties of snowshoers, often AMC members, signed in between 1903 and 1915. On a visit in December 1903 Moore reported the cabin's lock frozen, the inside inaccessible. John Boothman was able to repair the damage on February 2, 1904:

Tuesday, 2:30-3:00 PM. Rosewall B. Lawrence (Rec.Sec. of Appalachian Mt. Club) and Maxwell A. Coe (both of Medford) & John H. Boothman (of Ravine Ho.) Stopped here after going to headwall of King’s Ravine. Temperature inside cabin -3o. Mr. Boothman took off the lock and fixed it.

While none of these parties seems to have spent the night, both cabins did serve as refuges for hikers and woodsmen. The register from 1906 documents a lost soul who was able to find shelter at Spur Cabin for several days.

April 28. F.E. Clark (Portland, Me.) Found Camp bout 10 o’clock. lost in the woods since Tuesday. Very week to day. Nothing to eat for 5 days. Feet very Sore. Snow very deep heare yet.

May 3. Arived [sic] at Spur Cabin April 28, 1906. will leave to day, May 3. I have been very sick the last to days. feel very well to day. Closed Cabin at 1:18. Start fur Berlin, N.H.

Spur Cabin in winter, early 1900's. Photo by George Moore.By the teens, Laban Watson's hotel in Randolph, the Ravine House, was hosting AMC snowshoeing expeditions:

made up of people of both sexes who worked in offices and in teaching and all such professions and then they’d come up there and put in a week of strenuous climbing.ii

White Mountain photographer Guy Shorey captured many of these groups on film, including a “Ravine House Party, 1916" with four men and three long-skirted ladies on their snowshoes. These trampers too would return to the warmth and comfort of the Ravine House for the night.

In the 1920s and 1930s winter use was common, the principal guests being college outing clubs, some of whose members knew the owners and, like Thornton Page from Yale (and Randolph summers), could borrow the keys for Crag or Gray Knob. The Log Cabin (owned by the RMC) and, until it was razed in 1929, Spur Cabin, were kept unlocked and open for use.

A major change occurred in 1939, when the Forest Service's leases to the private owners of Crag and Gray Knob expired, and the cabins were opened to the public. The Randolph Mountain Club (new owners of Crag and operators of Gray Knob) became heir to a whole new set of problems. The unsupervised cabins, especially in the winter, suffered frequent abuse from unidentified people (who of course never signed the log books). The earliest account from Crag that I have is dated 2/19/49:

Never have we seen this place so filthy. Whoever was up here last must be completely devoid of any decency. Almost every pot, pan, dish, etc. were filthy and full of rotten garbage. Sink was crammed with garbage & cigarette butts. Floor was covered with filth, blankets, pillows and mattresses were slung everywhere....Got up early and turned to!!! Spent about 2 1/2 hours just washing dishes.

During this period, the Log Cabin welcomed many groups, often Boy Scouts or members of collegiate clubs in fall, winter and spring, like the 13 climbers from the International Student Center of Boston, who huddled around the Cabin's wood stove to keep warm after their hike on December 13, 1952 through "3 feet of snow." One hiker, on February 28, 1953 complained that

Several inches of ice (and water, what with the stove going) cover the floor. This phenomenon has been noted previously.

The original Log Cabin had a seasonal stream that often produced a flood inside, a condition that led to the re-siting of the shelter when it was rebuilt in 1985.

Another climber, writing at length on March 8, 1958, described

Considerable difficulty in following the trail. Many if not most of the blazes were buried or so close to the snow line that they were difficult to detect. We wandered off the trail because of this about a half dozen times. The Cabin was completely covered with snow, with not even the door free. It took nearly 20 minutes to clear the door enough to slip in.

Thirteen winter climbers from Boston's International Student Center warm themselves at the Log Cabin's stove, December 1952. Sketch from the log book.Before the 1970s, hikers usually had to break trail, whereas today most paths receive intense winter use so that losing the trail is an infrequent complaint.

As camping equipment improved (becoming warmer and lighter weight), winter parties, especially over New Year's, became more frequent. Many of these groups filled the logs with accounts of their drinking and the cabin with empty bottles and cans that had to be carried out by others. By December 1958, RMC president Klaus Goetze was reporting:

The favorite R.M.C. camp is, of course, Crag, which gets used for nearly twelve months in the year...In the off season very few blankets are there, so sleeping-bags must be brought. The supply of firewood is meant to be used only during the time when snow makes the gathering of wood an impossibility.iii

The problem of cleanliness persisted, however. In March 1969, when the Goddard Alpine Society reached Crag after struggling up the mountain, they complained:

the cabin was filthy, virtually no wood and the sink was full of grunge-covered dishes. We spent the entire next day cleaning up and cutting wood.

Still, the sheer beauty of the high altitudes and the challenges presented by winter dominate many log entries. Let's continue with those of Steve Jacob, our Goddard diarist:

Thurs, 18th. Early in the morning we rose to find rays of light burning through the clouds - so we packed up and headed for Mt Adams (oh mountain of cosmic vibrations and ancient Atherianiv ladies). Whirling snow in swirling clouds & lo - we walked up into the enchanted heavens. We had stumbled along in an intermittent white out, when near Thunderstorm Junction we climbed above the clouds....In hope of being suffused by said spirits and vibrations we set to work building an igloo on the top of the sacred summit. Finding a few too many obsticals (i.e.rocks) on the very top, we moved our site to a snow field some 30 or 40 yards down on the SW side facing the Great Gulf.

With twilight came oranges and reds glistening over the islands and then we bid a hasty retreat back to Crag. [There follows a very long account of ascents back to Adams the next day.]...For several hours we wandered about completely lost - Tim thought we were north of Adams near King's Ravine, Mark thought we were west of Sam Adams and I was completely befuddled...[They wandered around for some time, and eventually found cairns and followed them down to Gray Knob.] ....The moral of this little ditty is - carry a compass at all times no matter how well you know the terrain! [They eventually spend a night in the igloo on top of Adams; two of the group go home, and Steve Jacob gets new supplies from Gorham, goes back up to Crag and endures a huge storm on March 25th.] And what a storm! In the middle of the night I woke to the crash of the door being hurtled open & howling driving snow onto me. The gusts were so strong it was all I could do to force the door shut and hammer more nails in to hold the latch.

Even then the winds drove snow with such force through the cracks, around the doors & windows that the entire room began to fill with snow - the gusts became so violent that the whole cabin began to shake....Being unable to sleep amidst the blowing snow & fearing a potential collapse, I retreated into the back room - which being entirely buried underneath a drift of snow was like an igloo, and therefore largely protected from the violent shaking and quieter too. [The storm continued most of the next day, and abated by evening. Jacob subsequently went back to the igloo, dug down into it, finding dead calm inside only 30 yards from the raging summit.] Finally left on March 28th. -Steve Jacob

Throughout the 1960's, climbers made increasing use of the camps. Crag, Gray Knob and the Log Cabin all had wood stoves, and Crag also had a working fireplace. In the winter months, hikers often cut nearby trees, both live and dead, in an effort to keep warm. Crag, still nestled in the trees in a photo from 1964, was now exposed on all sides. Sometime after August 1970 even Crag’s second pump organ that had been installed in 1957 was burned. In 1972 the Forest Service responded to the indiscriminate cutting of wood, decreeing that stoves were to be removed from all the cabins, although wood fires were still allowed at the Perch.v Because Gray Knob was heavily used in the winter, RMC Board members pleaded for maintaining the stove at Gray Knob. The Forest Service agreed but insisted that green trees not be cut, and the RMC tried to enforce this. The absence of stoves at Crag and the Log Cabin changed the patterns of usage, establishing Gray Knob as the favorite winter camp.

Gray Knob, which had been insulated by 1964, became noted for the groups who often left bottles, beer cans, and other detritus from their parties. And many ignored mailing in the listed fees in the envelopes provided at the camps. By the fall of 1971 the Board authorized Jeff Bean to hike to Gray Knob on weekends (for a salary of $5 per weekend) as well as during Christmas and spring vacation ($20 per week). Weekend caretaking improved the conditions in the camps, and by 1975 it was evident that the caretaker collected substantially more than his/her salary: $438 was collected that year, more than double the previous year’s take.

Gray Knob nestled among the trees, 2004. Photo by Adam Hale.In the fall of 1976 the RMC was ready to employ a full-time winter caretaker. Mike Johnson was hired at a salary of $66 per week. Thus began a new era in Club history, as energetic winter hikers Mike Pelchat and Kathy Mitchell (Johnson), Paul Flanagan, Mike Pratt, Jeff Tirey, Pete Wallace and John Tremblay assumed caretaking responsibilities. The RMC absorbed these new mountain lovers into its organization. Former caretakers soon became active participants in managing and guiding the Club as it was transformed into a year-round operation.

Life as a winter caretaker at the highest manned hut in the Whites is a challenging existence. Many caretakers at Gray Knob started their winter climbing careers as neophytes but soon acquired all the tricks of winter mountain travel that Mt. Adams had to offer. Winter caretaking became a training ground for subsequent successful expeditions in the world's higher mountain ranges. Tragedy occasionally struck as climbers pushed themselves in order to learn how to master severe weather. In February 1979, during -25° F temperatures, winter caretakers David Shoemaker and Paul Flanagan climbed O'Dell's Gully in Huntington Ravine. After they had completed the ascent, a horrendous winter storm made it impossible for them to cross the Alpine Garden, and they chose an emergency escape, rappelling down from the Pinnacle. Their ropes jammed, and they both died. They were training for a new route in the Mount St. Elias range.

The next year on a suddenly warm Easter Sunday, Jeff Tirey and a companion had completed an ice climb in the Great Gully, and as they were headed back up to Nowell Ridge, the treacherous wind slab they were standing on broke loose, tumbling them a great distance down into King Ravine. Despite serious injuries, two years later Jeff, together with Mike Pelchat, made the season's first ascent of Mt. McKinley in early April, 1985.

The winter caretaker had a lot of worries: cutting his wood supply for the winter, monitoring his guests and protecting the cabin from pressure stoves:

“Your stove gets the prize!...I heaved it out the door just in time to see an explosion that would have done the Wizard of Oz proud.” Paul Flanagan November 29, 1978

Gray Knob's windows need shoveling. Photo by Jeff Smith.Snow and ice presented special challenges. Winter storms often covered the Knob, obscuring the windows. The snow was often heaviest in April:

April 6, 1982. 20-30 inches of snow and more coming! This brings our approximate total to 230 inches. Noon. More snow. Shoveled out the downstairs window. Dug a four foot hole and found the top of the window, it’s enough light. The snow was drifted to within three inches of the upstairs window, and three inches of the downstairs kitchen windows. Caretaker Pete Wallace

The next week, taking advantage of all the snow and trying to do something to fill his lonely hours, John Tremblay spent three days creating

a snowcave, complete with entrance tunnel, a sleeping deck, and an approximate life-span of a week. Located 15 feet from the front door of Crag, just another trailside wonder brought to you by the RMC...I had to do something to kill time. No people. [April 15, 1982]

Maintenance of the outhouses, especially with very low temperatures and high winds, presented difficulties. With the rebuilding of Gray Knob in 1989, the standard outhouse was replaced with a Shasta bin system, meant to dehydrate the solids while draining the liquids. Since cold temperatures forestalled any dehydration or composting action, by early spring the level of waste in the toilet climbed to unmanageable heights, requiring caretakers to "knock down the cone," an unpleasant task at best.

A guest suggested that it would be good to change the sign in the outhouse to "Please take seat" instead of close lid. The consequences could be disastrous despite the wood seat.--Jinx & Jesus & Noah, 12/26/92

More drastic was the overturning of the Gray Knob outhouse:

12/29/93 An eventful week. High winds on Dec 21-22 blew the Gray Knob outhouse clear off the foundation onto its side. With help of 3 very helpful Canadians, the 2 caretakers managed to get it back up (and nailed down more securely). The same winds stove in the window in the caretaker's room at Crag Camp. Christmas Eve was very quiet here. Then the cold weather moved in. As of this date, we've gone 6 days without the thermometer ever getting uphill of +10° and 3 days with a high of -7°. On the morning of Dec 27 it hit a nice round -30°, coldest temperature recorded at Gray Knob in several years.

(On Mt Washington they recorded -36°, and had the coldest Dec 26 and 27 on record, and their coldest reading since Jan 14, 1988.)

This cold has been associated with high winds too. So, maybe it's been cold, but at least it's been breezy. Mosquitoes no problem. Happy 1994 to all the wonderful guests of Gray Knob.

--Guy [Waterman], Gray Knob co-caretaker, 1993-94

Mike Pelchat excavates Crag Camp's outhouse. Photo by Jeff Smith.A new system, the Bio-Sun composter, was installed between 1994 (Crag) and 1997 (Gray Knob), which actually "sort of works year round" because they were sized to accommodate winter waste. High levels of snow can conceal the outhouse entirely, making it necessary for the caretaker to excavate the entrance so it can be used. And then there are the unthinking users of the cabins to be dealt with:

Guests caught urinating thru snow grates will have a new punishment this year: being guinea pigs for buck-naked hypothermia research at the Quay.
-Paul Neubauer GMC4 RMC2, November 17, 1994

Although the cabin was packed at times, a caretaker could go for some days without company, even as late as May:

If someone doesn’t show up soon I’m going to go stark raving mad....And of course, to make things all the more enjoyable, it’s raining again. Well Herman, another game of fish? (Ever seen an ermine deal cards?) Paul Flanagan May 18, 1978

Guests were not always human, and various creatures often provided the caretaker's only company. Mice invade the cabin, getting into everything and creating wild ruckuses in the small hours of the morning.

September 10,1984. [Albie writing to the mice]: ...I have no qualms about you cleaning up leftovers but please wait until I'm done with my meal before coming after it. And why must you perpetually gnaw on my bedpost throughout the night? Remember guys, Jazz-Bo, that recreational killer cat-- is still looking for a home. If that Snickers bar you got into last week was mine, the cat would be back. All I ask for is a small amount of consideration so we can harmoniously share the cabin. Please leave any comment or response below. Thanks. Albie [Pokrob]

Wildlife abounds: a bear, a fisher, and hares. The weasel was a visitor from the first, as documented by Charles C. Torrey on September 21, 1905, at Spur Cabin:

Approaching, heard cries for help. Looking in at the door, saw Mrs. M[oore] seated on the table, in a Turkish attitude, while a weasel was running about in the middle of the room. Mrs. M was armed with a piece of board, and whenever the creature came too near, she pounded vigorously on the table; but it was plain that the weasel had got beyond caring much for this. Entered, and the animal disappeared. Mrs. M came down from the table in the course of the afternoon.

Dubbed "Herman the Ermine" by generations of caretakers, weasels have subsequently been welcomed for their mousing prowess.

March 8, 1988. Ermine under glass, anyone? Came out of my room to see Herman the Ermine in my grease jar. So, I played a dirty trick on him and put log book on top of jar. He didn't like it too much, but I got a good laugh...-- Caretaker [Sean Irlbacher]

April 8, 1988. ...As always, it's so refreshing to return....Nice to find an old neighbor back too. Herman the Ermine has frequently visited and done an exquisite job of keeping mice away. He is a most welcome guest at Gray Knob and anyone harming or harassing this little guy will be permanently banned from RMC huts and forced to pay AMC rates..-- Albie

Even an occasional moose wandered by Crag Camp!

After two winters caretaking, I saw an amazing thing over here on my last night. A huge set of moose prints coming down Spur Trail, past the lodge & outhouse, continuing down the old route. I was here just 2 1/2 hours ago. I must have just missed him/her. Paul Neubauer, April 12, 1995

Caretakers spend considerable time hiking to the peaks. They also indulge in other outdoor activities: skiing the Great Gully or down brooks, "bumbogganing," and wild sliding down the Spur Path on a plastic toboggan, as recounted by Albie Pokrob in 1986:

...decided to celebrate the New Year by riding my new red plastic toboggan down the Spur Trail. The first run was so exhilarating that I immediately went for a second. Unfortunately, an unseen stump put a hole in my new red toboggan... at first, I thought, 'at least I fared better than the sled.' Then I remembered, it doesn't have to deal with the outhouse at -20 degrees.

Today's caretakers still engage in such exploits, though technology has improved:

For those unfamiliar with the Swiss-bob, this simple invention has revolutionized winter hiking for me. It's a small plastic sled, about the size of a phone book with indentations for your butt and handles for your hands. It's light and straps easily to your pack. You too can get one at EMS in a range of colors for only 25 bucks. One can turn and stop and generally maintain control while sliding once you get the hang of it. It goes really great above treeline or down on the trails that have been packed out by snowshoes.

On Wednesday morning I walked from the cabin to the top of Adams with my gloves hanging from the idiot cords around my wrists. Spent about a half-hour lounging on the summit. Swiss-bobbed around for the afternoon. Tried to go right from the summit of Adams but there wasn't quite enough snow....On Thursday morning I made it from the cabin to the parking lot at Lowe's in just over 40 minutes on the Swiss-Bob. Beats walking any day. Chris Fithian, "Caretaker Journal '05-'06" RMC website

Spur Trail in a near white out, 2002. Photo by Doug Mayer.Caretakers and guests alike savor the beauty of the heights, from glorious sunsets and moonrises to philosophical musings:

12/15/92 Mountain time has its own qualities, measured by sunrises and moon cycles rather than time clocks,...but it flies by just as quickly. Better to measure both in memories, I guess: The Saturday night three weeks ago when, not one, but two records were set here at Gray Knob. First, in the course of one hour three stoves were heaved meteorically out the door, and record, there were more women (9) than men (6) here...! Or the time at Lowe's Store when Mr. Lowe actually said "hello" first...Or the Sunday morning when Mark Parent from AMC showed up with a whole tin full of fresh chocolate-chip cookies,...or the night of the eclipse last week, when I hiked up to the summit of Mt Adams by headlamp as the moon darkened, unrolled my sleeping bag on the summit and over the next two hours watched the ridge light up with a surreal, otherworldly glow (hoping like hell the Atherians didn't choose that night to call in their flying saucer transports)..or just yesterday, up on Mt Madison in a t-shirt in the 40 degree weather, with skies clear enough to see the Adirondacks 100 + miles away. Craig Jolly, caretaker

Thanksgiving Day - November 25, 1993

A breathtakingly beautiful Thanksgiving Day in the Northern Presidentials. Minus one degrees at midnight, our first minus reading of this winter (I think), but it warmed up to +7° by morning. Incomparable visibility. You could see individual ski trails on Mount Mansfield, and the Mt Washington observers reported sighting Adirondack peaks. Windy and cold, but not too windy and not too cold. Only about a dozen people in the Northern Presidentials all day, but they had a rare treat.

On the walk back from the Perch at sunset, the trail before me was backlit in golden glow as the sun descended majestically among the silhouetted skyline of the Green Mountains. A bright moon tonight.

It is also Joe Dimaggio's 79th birthday. This caretaker was privileged to have seen him play - the classiest of centerfielders. 50 years later it is an equal privilege to walk back in sunset glow on the path from the Perch. Lucky to have both privileges in one lifetime. Happy Thanksgiving, Laura
-Guy - Gray Knob co-caretaker 1993-1994

2/12/94 It was so calm on Adams today you could have lit a match. The sun was warm and with no wind it felt like spring was here to stay. I was last here on the first day of this year. I've been looking forward to seeing Gray Knob, Paul & Cali and the mystical winter wonderland since I left. Not only was the top of Adams an unexpected and much relished pleasure, there is to be a talk on avalanche safety tonight....I'd like to think that there are some things that are permanent. One of them being the wilderness and all its mysteries and wonders. -Kryzstof

Winter caretakers experience an intense relationship with the mountains and Gray Knob. Among themselves a spirit of camaraderie is developed. For years an annual reunion of former caretakers (and friends) at the Knob resulted in a real party.

Dining al fresco at Gray Knob. Photo by Doug Mayer.The coming of spring encouraged many caretakers take the time to write about their feelings upon departing:

May 30, 1982. Let it be written, on whatever it is that they write it on up there. Pete Wallace spent 8 months from September 7, 1980 until May 3, 1981 and August 28, 1981 until June 1, 1982 for nine months and one week. Yes, folks, I'm sick. I spent two winters at Gray Knob. I lost my mind several times, traveled Lowes Path over 127 times (I lost count), made 120 trips to the Perch and countless other miles, hauled and burned four cords of wood in two winters. All in all a great year and a half. I'd like to thank the RMC and all the folks who showed up when I most needed it, even the ones at 2 or 4 AM. My mind will always be at Gray Knob and I imagine eventually my spirit will be too...
Take care, Caretaker. Peter Wallace

Pete was the first of a number of caretakers to spend two years in the job. Another caretaker who returned many times was Albie Pokrob. A huge bear of a man, Albie was a legend in his time, who wandered the hills, often with a volume of Thoreau. His log entries encompass a wide range of subjects, and he paid special attention to flora and fauna:

April 4, 1986. Juncos are back, the spring is flowing well, most of the snow has gone, and my motorcycle is back on the road so I guess my winter stay is over and the time to move on has arrived. I will miss the quiet, peaceful nights of solitude beside the woodstove, sunsets from the Quay and frost covered trees. I had a couple of cans of Michelob to toast those memories, but decided that Perch water was a far superior and more appropriate toast. Gray Knob is my truest love. - Albie Pokrob

Craig Jolly also spent two years, 1991-2 and 1992-3:

6/1/92 6:15 am. Well, today, after nearly seven months here as the Winter Caretaker, I head down Lowe's path for the last (the 55th, give or take a few) time. I wish I could say I were leaving on a blue sunny day,...Alas, I woke today to a cold drizzling rain, with a final huge load to carry down Lowe's waterslick path, and one hell of a nasty cold in my head and chest which barely allows me to talk. However, I would only expect as much from these mountains, which are on occasion cordial, but never friendly (an insight, perhaps, into the mercurial disposition of Mr Lowe, who, after all, has spent more years living around these mountains than most of us will ever see). And tomorrow, no doubt, the sun and warmth will be back, this cold will be on the way out, and a part of me will wish I were waking up in the White Mts again. But, as with friends and lovers, sometimes we need time apart, to renew our vigor, clear our heads, and heighten our appreciation. As it stands, this is to be only a temporary separation, since I have already made plans with the RMC to return, in the steps of Peter Wallace and John Tremblay, for yet another winter as Gray Knob caretaker. A glutton for punishment, I guess...To everyone with whom I crossed paths here the last seven months - let's do it again next year, (except, perhaps, for the three guys who trashed Crag, whose day of reckoning is still imminent)... -Craig Jolly, 91-2 Winter Caretaker

In Jolly's second year as caretaker (1992-93), the RMC hired two people to share the job, a system which has been used off and on in the years since then. The great advantage was that the regular rotation provided days off for each caretaker. In 1993-5, Paul Neubauer spent two years - the first together with Guy Waterman, and the second solo. He composed his farewell to Gray Knob twice:

4/4/94 Wow! It's over. The people coming through here have made this a great winter, but the RMC is what made it all possible. I've seen the surrounding mtns abuse some people and seen some people abuse the surrounding mtns. I've seen Gore-Tex suits and wet Levis. I've fallen on powder, slipped on ice. I'll miss just about everything except people who hold a grudge when I don't start the woodstove. Until next year - -Paul Neubauer GMC4 GK 93-94

4/12/95 After almost 200 nights up here over the last two winters, my second stint as Caretaker has come to an end. The mountain gods have been
very good to me. I've learned so much from so many folks up here (I knew nothing about mountaineering when I started): Guy Waterman, Mike Pelchat, John Deleo. Everyone has been very generous to me (the Lowe family, thank you!). But people like Bill Arnold & Doug Mayer are what keep volunteerism, pride, and clubs like the RMC alive. I owe lots to you two, and to the RMC. Thanks, I'll never forget this place.
-Paul Neubauer RMC 93-94; 94-95
GMC 91, 92, 93, 94

The RMC's winter caretakers have set high standards for winter hospitality at 4,400 feet. Guests are constantly impressed with our operation, though they may complain that the stove should be lit when the temperature is still above freezing. (More than one caretaker has suggested that these folks carry up wood for their personal use. Some do!) Caretakers love the mountain environment, and communicate their enthusiasm to others; they advise hikers on conditions; they bake bread which they share; they join the parties, story-telling, and various games their guests use to pass the time. Caretakers have made sure that the camps are properly cared for (although occasional abuse still occurs) and are largely responsible for the safety of the many winter hikers who pass through Gray Knob.

Footnotes:

i The materials for this article are drawn almost entirely from RMC camp logs in the Club's archive. I'd like to thank Doug Mayer, Jeff Smith and Mike Pelchat for their help with photos and comments.

ii Guy Shorey, “Looking back on a half-century,” Appalachia:32;167 (December 1958).

iii Klaus Goetze, note in Appalachia:32;275 (December 1958).

iv John Mudge, The White Mountains, p. 4 mentions that Mt Adams is revered as one "of ten holy mountains of the world by a group that calls themselves 'Atherians.' They believe this mountain is 'charged with an alien force.'"

v That summer the RMC removed all the stoves and the following year closed up Crag's fireplace. The Perch received much less winter use, not only because it was an open-faced shelter, but also because it was typically buried in deep snow for much of the season.


I am interested in any additional comments, corrections, anecdotal materials, or relevant photographs that my readers might have. Please contact me at 111 Amherst Road, Pelham, MA 01002; (413)256-6950; or by E-mail.

Judith Hudson has been coming to Randolph since the age of four or five. Her parents, the Drs. Stephen and Charlotte Maddock, first visited Randolph in 1923 or 1924 at the invitation of the Cutter family. Active members of the RMC, Judy and her husband Al have served in a variety of RMC jobs, including the presidency. Al is currently the Club’s Archivist, and Judy is working on a history of the RMC.

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Bill and Paula Bradley Receive Lifetime Membership Honors

Editor's note: At the RMC Annual Meeting this past summer, longtime RMC members Bill and Paula Bradley received lifetime memberships in the club for their decades of service in numerous capacities. Active, generous and friendly volunteers, Bill and Paula received a standing ovation. Al Hudson wrote the following tribute, which we share here.

In recognition of their long service to the RMC and to the Randolph community, the Board of Directors wishes to appoint Bill and Paula Bradley as lifetime members of the club.

Bill and Paula Bradley receive their honorary membership at the RMC meeting in Randolph this past summer. Photo by Samarjit Shankar.Over the years Bill and Paula have done it all: Board member, secretary, treasurer, trips chair, vice-president, president. From 1967 to 1974 Paula and her son Paul provided the RMC with its trail and "path" signs, and in 1972 began producing RMC-style signs for sale. Encouraged by the success of sign sales, in 1986 Paula, abetted by Barbara Wilson, began the production of RMC T-shirts, a product line that continues to this day.

Of course, for those of us who have known them over the years, the Bradleys have offered much more beyond the organizational life of the RMC. I remember wonderful conversations that developed on hikes and elsewhere with Paula and Bill. And for those present, who will ever forget the riotous evening, not too many years ago, of "Off Mossy Glen - Underground Charades". Class, wit, humor, brevity of expression and a sense of style are hallmarks of the Bradley personae.

In conclusion, I offer a brief, but representative example of the Bradley style, Paula's "Report on signs" at the 1968 RMC annual meeting:

Barb'ra Wilson, with card file and scout
Told Paul Bradley what signs he should rout.
So with saw and pencil,
And paint brush and stencil,
He made some new signs roundabout.
In the past fiscal year-oh
He's made one-two-zero;
Of which - it is boasted -
Fifty-five have been posted.
For those who like math:
Add thirty for "path" -
With arrows included.

This report is concluded.

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RMC Interview: Michele Cormier

Editor's note: This is the first in what we hope will be a regular series of brief profiles on the many hardworking volunteers behind the scenes at the RMC.

RMC volunteer extraordinaire Michele Cormier, with the Northern Presidentials behind. Photo by Doug Mayer.Michele Cormier has served for the past 6 years on the Board of Directors as RMC's stalwart treasurer. Recently she passed that responsibility to new board member Bill Parlett. Not quite ready to give up all her obligations, Michele decided to take on the significant role of membership director, as well as continuing to oversee the contributions to the Stearns Lodge project.

Along with her husband Paul, a builder, cabinetmaker and Senior Guide for International Mountain Climbing School in North Conway, Michele has lived in Randolph for the past 3 years.

You spend a lot of time as a volunteer on RMC projects. Why?

Living in Randolph means identifying with the community. One way is to volunteer for RMC. The Club is an integral part of Randolph. It gives us common ground.

What do you do when you're not watching RMC's bills, dues or donations?

Michele & Bill Arnold on a hike to Gentian Pond. Photo by Barbara Arnold.My alter ego is an accountant. I practice with a local CPA firm out of Berlin. Away from the office my true love is hiking. So, I am out on the trails year round. Paul and I like to travel as well, so most of our traveling takes us to foreign lands where we climb mountains, explore the back- country and experience other cultures.

Anything else we should know about you?

I just can't get enough of volunteering, so I also serve on many boards and assist other organizations. These include the new cooperative school board in Gorham, Randolph and Shelburne; Weeks State Park Association; NH Outdoor Council; Friends of the Randolph Public Library; Androscoggin Valley Search & Rescue. One of my favorite groups is a local book club, which meets about once a month to discuss a book. If the book is less than captivating, we move directly to gossiping!

What's your favorite RMC trail? Least favorite? Why?

I have a lot of favorites, mainly based on my mood. If I want to go up above tree line, I love the upper Randolph Path. A favorite springtime flower walk is up to Mount Crescent. For a quick run after work, I like the Diagonal and Pasture Paths. My least favorite is easy: Howker Ridge! What an endless slog!

If you could change one thing about RMC, what would it be?

I'd like to see more turnover in the board and volunteer positions. None of us is indispensable and we really need to cross train. It would be great if several people could step into the treasurer's shoes at the drop of a hat, or serve as the Trails Coordinator or the Camps Coordinator.

What's your favorite RMC moment in the past year?

I think I was most afraid last fall when we announced the fundraiser for the new Stearns Lodge. But what I didn't expect was the incredible outpouring of gifts from the extended RMC community. When I started opening envelopes and saw that kind of generosity, I was overwhelmed. From the $10 gifts to the multiple thousands, each one was a gift from the heart. What affirmation for the Club!

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Thanks to all who contributed to Stearns Lodge...

Adam, William T
Adams, Harry
Alden, Jim
Alexander, Bea & Heywood
Aman, Catherine
Aman, Ellen McMillan
Anonymous (10)
Ansara, Jim
Antos-Ketcham, Pete & Katie
Arbree, Roberta & Robert Potter
Archambault, Laurie
Arnold, Bill and Barbara

Babson, Katherine
Baldwin, Jim & Harriet
Barrow, Thomas & Julie
Barschall, Anne
Bates, Robert
Bean, Jeff
Bell, Jack
Bellisio, Jules & Carol
Beringer, Elizabeth
Beringer, Geoff & Dana
Beringer, Maire
Berry, John & Mary Clay
Blatchford, Ed & Claire
Blatchford, Laurel & Bernie Kluger
Boas, Richard
Bradley, Paula & Bill
Breunig, Betty
Brinton, Ted & Toni
Brodien, Dan & Doris
Bromberg, Mike
Bronnert, Michael & Katie Wolff
Brown, Barney & Lisa Parker
Brown, George
Brown, John & Mary
Brunton, Chris & Sandi Marra
Bullis, Edmund & Anne
Burckett-Picker, Jenifer
Burns, Elisabeth
Burroughs, Jon & Anita
Button, Charles

Callen, Jerry
Carr, Art
Caulkins, Thomas
Cedrone, Jim
Chase family (GM Smith Fund)
Chauvin, Jane & Marc
Choukas-Bradley, Jim & Melanie
Connor, W.L.Jr
Cooper, Harold
Corcoran, Charles & Anna
Corey, Alex
Cormier, Paul & Michele
Cotnoir, Ray & Heather Wiley
Crary, Alexander
Crary, Jonathan & Suzanne
Crary, Stephen & Eleanor
Cross, Alice & John
Cross, Jane
Cross, Sam
Cutter, Louis & Ann

Danielski, Althea & Terry Isert
Darlington, Joan
Davis Conservation Foundation
Davis, Euan G
Davis, Nancy Bennett
Davis, Pete & Linda
Dean, Lawrence
DeGirolamo, Janice
Degitz, Paul
Deland, Frank
Demers, Bill & Lucie
Demrow, Carl
Denton, John
Deveau, Hubert
Donoghue, Brian
Dunham, Renee& George

Eagan, Tom
Eagleton, Jim
Eagleton, Mary
Eisenberg, Ben & Arlene
Eisenbud, Monika & David
Emerson, David
Erwin, Bob
Eusden, Alan & Lynn
Eusden, John & Josie
Evarts, Roger
Evert, Elizabeth Cutter

Falk, Sigo
Fay, Andrew
Ferreira, Regina
Fields Pond Foundation
Fischang, Bill & Peg
Fiske, Kat & Bill
Folsom, Hank & Clare
Forsyth, David & Anne
Fowler, Brian & Betsy
Friedman, Michael & Theresa Michalski
Frueh, Mike & Nancy

Gallop, Sarah & Andy
Galvin, Patrice & Thomas
Gellens, Martha & Sam
Godson, G Nigel
Goetze, Lydia
Goetze, Rolf & Julie
Goldstein, Barry
Goundrey, Paul
Gourley, Carol
Govatski, David
Grant, Margaret
Greeley, Quentin & Dorrie
Gregory, Douglas
Gulick, Anna

Hamm, Simon
Harris, Larry
Hatch, Robert
Hess, Betsy
Hirshberg, Nancy
Hudson, Al & Judy
Hunt, Lynn & Jim
Huntley, Douglas

Int'l Mountain Climbing School
Ireland, Charles

Jenkins, Larry & Yvonne
Jesseman, Ralph
Jeziorski, Michael
Johnson, Gay G
Johnson, Rebecca & Lawrence Weisberg

Kapp, Joseph
Kellner, Wayne & Ann
Kirk, Susan
Kirmmse, Bruce
Kitson, Ann & Steve Snook
Knight, Bill & Ruth
Knoll, Richard
Kopitsky, Joe
Koster, William & Virginia

Landaeta, David
Lee, Ken & Marcia
Lee, Roger
Lessard, Michael
Loiselle, Maurice

Maclennan, Helen C
Maddock, Jamie & Sue
Maddock, Steve & Margot
Malick, Jean & Craig
Marsh, Rick & Jane
Mayer, Dale
Mayer, Doug
McLaughlin, Ellie
McMillan, Andrew T
Meadows, Paul
Meiklejohn, Brad
Meiklejohn, Scott
Meloni, Greg
Micucci, Mike & Sally
Molinari, Sam
Morneweck, Sam & Leslie
Mortenson, Peter & Barbara
Moynihan, Claudette
Mudge, Eleanor
Mudge, George & Istar
Mudge, John
Muehl, Ruth & William

Newton, Bill
NH Charitable Foundation
Nichols, Bill

Ogilby, Ludia P
Ossoff, R M

Page, Frank Edward
Parlett, Bill & Sarah Clemmitt
Pelchat, Mike & Diane Holmes
Penney, Jim & Nancy
Pepper, J B
Perera, Guido
Pfeffer, Angela & Bill
Phelps, Timothy & Helen Winternitz
Phinney, Ben and Barbara
Plante, Paul
Plummer, Richard
Post, Avery & Margaret

Raczkowski, David
Randolph Foundation
Rising, Joan K

Salisbury, Dave
Schenkel, Jeffrey
Schomburg, Matt
Scott, Gail
Senter, Peggy
Sexton, Peter
Shankar, Samarjit & Tara
Shannon, Jim
Skofield, Jane & Herman
Sloan, Mary Margaret
Small, Mary & John
Smith, Anne & Win
Smith, Jeff & Melanie
Smith, Ron & Kim
Snyder-Grant, Jim & Dana
Sochard, Al
Sponsler, George & Bridgit
Stanton, Wayne
Stearns Foundation
Stever, Guy & Debra
Stever, Horton Guyford
Stever, Sarah Newell
Stewart, Jack & Deb
Stoddard, Elizabeth & James
Stoddard, Sanford
Stoddard, William
Strayhorn, Blake and Dell
Student Conservation Assn

Tacchi, Edward
Taub, Abner & Liliane Sznycer
Thaler, Warren
The Boston Foundation
Tibbetts, Alice & Norris
Tjader, Rick
Tomlinson, Dave & Alison
Trevvett, Herbert
Troy, Lisa
Tucker, Dan & Edie
Tucker, Sarah
Turmelle, Raymond

Underhill, Lawrence

Virk, Usha & Preetinder

Walker, Michael
Walsh, Wendy & Steve Hartman
Walter, Matthew
Wang, James & Sarah
Wang, Sarah
Weatherly, Bruce & Margaret
Weatherly, John
Weed, Lincoln & Margarette
Wells, Anne
Wells, Charles
Wells, Heidi
Wells, Robert
Welty, William
Wemyss, Howie & Sue
Wenk, David
Westberg, Dana
Whiston, Lionel
White, Joel & Jean
Wiley, Constance
Wiley, William
Willcox, David & Doris
Williams, Robert
Wilson, Barbara
Wilson, Roger
Wintturi, Walter
Woodruff, Marian
Woodruff, William

Young, Percy

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Can't Get Enough RMC
By Aaron Parcak

Hump over 100 pounds up the mountain, while salty well-worn leather packboard straps dig in to my shoulders. Throngs of blood-thirsty insects. Exposure to harsh weather. Shoveling giant mounds of human refuse. Putrid stench that other trail crew members can emit from the mix of many days’ sweat and dirt. Why would I continually submit myself to such physical hardships?

This past year, Aaron served as RMC's Crag Camp caretaker. Here he is with Gray Knob caretaker Rachel Biggs. Photo by Al Sochard.These are only a few of my favorite things that reinforce some of the more sublime reasons why I have worked for the RMC for eight consecutive summers. I truly appreciate the lovely view from the Jones Cottage front yard and ambling through these rugged white hills. Trail-work has stirred a great passion in my heart. RMC's trail work has a long and prestigious past, and will continue to preserve, protect, and provide education about our cherished natural resources here in the White Mountains.

Even as a young lad, I always enjoyed hiking, getting dirty, and moving large heavy things. Trail work allows one to accomplish all of these things on a daily basis. But working for RMC has become so much more than something only to enjoy. It has afforded me the opportunity to be a part of something bigger and more enduring than myself. I am grateful to be a part of such a caring network of selfless volunteers and friends.

The work itself is always a learning process and always grueling. I know my body can't take this abuse forever, so I'm glad to be in a position teach others about the work I dearly love. I feel it is a personal duty of any caring steward to make a contribution, however they can. In that, I hope to pass on a good work ethic and quality of skills that will continue the RMC's high work standards. As Laura Waterman has written, "the age of stewardship has dawned".

The RMC breeds a sense of comraderie that is difficult to find in other parts of life. And trail crew provides a place to be myself, feel accepted, and be of some use. The closeness and strong bonds I've made with crew members over the years is a feeling not often encountered in every day society.

This place we call Randolph has it all: great hiking, sweeping views, majestic water falls, fantastic, energetic, giving people and lots of good times. That's why I can't get enough of the RMC.

Editor's note: Aaron Parcak worked on RMC's trail crew from 1999 through 2005. He was also on the fall trail crew in 2002 that constructed the new Four Soldiers and Underhill Paths to the Pond of Safety. This past summer, he worked as Crag Camp caretaker for the club. We thank Aaron for his many years of very hard work and leadership by example.

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A Letter to the RMC...

28 July 2006

Dear RMC,

I recently completed a presidential traverse and had the opportunity to have customer service interactions with RMC. I was impressed with the high-quality customer service skills and local hiking knowledge demonstrated by the caretaker from Crag Camp, Aaron.

This young man introduced himself, sure that our basic needs were addressed, was inquisitive concerning our hike of that day and what our plans were. He was able to offer up valuable and accurate information concerning our goals for the next day.

He was obviously very knowledgeable, but not demeaning in his efforts to further our knowledge. He acted like someone most people would enjoy hiking with. He was actually looking forward to his 1.6-mile hike back to Crag.

Over the 20 years that I have hiked on RMC trails and stayed at their shelters, I have never had a poor experience or issue with the staff. I have had the pleasure of meeting some extraordinary young men and women, excited to do all they could to aid their fellow hikers.

If the Randolph Mountain Club does employee evaluations, and customer service is as much of the role as being a resource/educator, than the young man at Crag deserves high praise.

Thanks for your continue efforts on the Northern slopes.

Respectfully,
Anthony Plante

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Remembering Ned
By Doug Mayer

A new book has been published about Ned Green, who served on RMC's trail crew in 2000. Ned died the following winter, in an ice climbing accident in Huntington Ravine on the side of Mount Washington. Compiled by his mother Clare, Cutting A Bond with the Long Trail is a collection of Ned's outdoors journals.

Ned was truly one of those rare, larger-than-life characters, who was well known in the New England mountains. While caretaking Gray Knob after his summer on the RMC trail crew, Ned penned the following entry:

August 13, 2000

My stay, however brief, has come to a close, and the cabin is silent except for a drip into an empty bucket. Clouds outside swallow up the mountains and freeze them in their belly. One week left in these gorgeous mountains.

The summer is gone, fall creeps in clutching the ragged tendril of a beaten Gore-tex parka. Apple cider, maple leaves and the promise of a cold winter. Ah, New England and a tinge of romanticism races through my bones.

Enjoy People,

Ned

Proceeds will go towards a Ned Green scholarship at his local high school, and to the Green Mountain Club, where Ned spent a number of years. Copies can be ordered for $18 from Clare Green, 71 Athol Road, Warwick MA 01378.

Ned, with his mother Clare, at the Quay on Mount Adams, when Ned was caretaking Gray Knob, August 2000. Photo courtesy of Clare Green.

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