Gray Knob Log Book - 1906 to 1937

The early years...


July 5 - Mr. Hincks, Sarah and Carroll and Alice Stearns came up and opened Gray Knob cabin. They found everything in most excellent condition, with the exception of a few edibles forgotten the year before.

[EDITOR'S NOTE: This would suggest that Gray Knob was built in 1905, not 1906 as previously thought]

July 20 - Alice's birthday. We had...a quasi-birthday dinner and a most mild celebration. Played cards. Talked German. Carroll planned a trap for the porcupine.

September 1 - Cold day. 34 above at 8 a.m.

September 18-19 - Mr. Hincks and Carroll came prepare the cabin for winter....Caulked chinks, did up mattresses and bedding, took down stove pipe, covered hole in roof with zinc, threw away debris, put up shutters, packed up blankets to be carried down. The pathos of bidding the cabin farewell for nine months is heightened by the fact that its architect and constructor is already at the far extremity of the continent beginning a new work. Mrs. Stearns, perhaps its warmest admirer, is to start next Saturday to join him with Miss Alice.


August 18 - Wonderfully clear night... Saw comet during the night. Orion's belt was just rising, with the Pleiades some 40-odd degrees higher. The comet was at about 30 degrees on a line at right angles to the Orion-Pleiades line.... Devotions at 8:30. Bed at 9. Mercury: 39 degrees.

August 21 - Myron Stearns appeared and made a 15-minute call. He was 1 hour and 15 minutes from Sorgenfrei to the White Cairn.


July 17-19 - Bully time. Thanks awfully. [Visitors from Lafayette, Indiana, and Providence, Rhode Island].

August 2 - I must thank the little cabin for several of the happiest days of my life.

August 23 - Thanks, thanks to thee & parents, too... and all who bear the good Hincks name...Both Spur and Gray Knob Cabins share for us the heaven that comes to sight... when friendship joins the Mountains' song of joy and peace and love on Earth.

August 24 - Tis this of all places, methinks... the place to come for high jinkes.... We came on a Monday... Each day's been a fun day... We thank you most truly, good Hincks.

September 10 - If you e'er at Randolph stay, you must walk.
If you don't, then go away. You must walk.
You must walk the morn away, and the middle of the day.
And then later you must stay. You must walk.

September 14 - Had a fine chicken supper.... Take a can of boned chicken and put it in a large spider on the stove. Then proceed to dump in as many things as you an think of. The more the better. The result was so delicious that Mr. Davison over-came his theories (temporarily) as a vegetarian and partook thereof.


July 20 - B L A C K F L I E S ! Black flies galore... did draw the gore.


August 15 - We made first for Knowles Peak [from Madison Hut on the way to visit Gray Knob]. A thunderstorm broke upon us with a broadside as we approached the peak...[and] ...a bolt of lightning struck about 100 feet from us.... We tore over the rocks... while the bolts glittered and crashed around us. But it was grand! At last we waggled up to the priceless door of Gray Knob. Mr. Schauffler at once handed out dry things, built a fine fire, and we passed from Purgatory to Paradise!

August 28 - Dinner: Soup, cold pressed beef, french fried potatoes, fresh peas, mince & apple pie.

September 14 - Mammouth meal!


July 18 - A visit from the camp rabbit. He's very tame.

August 4 - Farewell to thee, Gray Knob.... We'll ne'er again find... a place half so fair... as we're leaving behind.

September 7 - Grand eats... wet feets... here's to many happy meets.

September 9 - Lynx seen... 10 yards from cabin.


June 26 - Half-grown jack rabbit gave us a most affectionate welcome.... He ate from Elizabeth's hand, inspected the interior of the cabin at our invitation, and even knocked at the door when we had closed for the night.


August 18 - Porcupine sang a sweetly mournful moonlight sonata beneath the window all night.

August 19 - After 6 years of absence in So. California, I am glad to write my deeper appreciation of the beauty of these mountains. Hurrah for old New England and her cloud-capped granite hills (S. P. Stearns).

August 31 - A glorious morning. Sunlight greets me as I say goodbye to Gray Knob cabin. Today terminates my ownership of a half interest in the pretty place and tomorrow, Sept. 1, it will belong to Mr. Hincks alone. We have been wonder-fully peaceful partners... In distant California I still take great pleasure in knowing that the cabin... is sure to greet me in any visits in many years to come. (C.C.S.)

September 28 - Most wonderful day ever pulled off in White Mts. Perfectly clear, cool and still. Foliage indescribable.

September 29 - Cloudy. Loafed all day. Cut big woodpile...


June 22 - Opened the cabin.... A swarm of huge black flies descended like a plague of Egypt.... Found 100 lbs of ice in the refrigerator and some more in the cave.

July 30 - On leaving cabin found the eternal and infernal porcupine 2 yards from front door and... was able to kill it before it escaped.

August 10 - Arrived... from Spur cabin, too hot for comfort and too bitten by black flies for our disposition...


May 25 - Lowe's trail... was almost entirely covered with snow and ice, in some places a couple of feet deep.

June 8 - Mice danced under my mattress in the loft at night and porcupines or bears danced on the roof, knocked on the chimney, and played ball with tin cans on the porch.

July 10 - About 1 o'clock we were awaked by the porcupine.

September 13 - Friends, look with awe upon this reverend pile; it was a stove! But now, 'tis mouldering fast.


September 25 - In the middle of the night we were awakened by a howling wind and heard snow pattering down on the roof. Before morning, we realized that it was a tremendous blizzard.


On opening in the spring (undated). Porkies chewed their way in during the winter and ate up most of the cabin and its contents.... Put chicken wire around the foundations and mended the floor.

July 21 - Came up and housecleaned the wreck.


June 9 - Arrived... after unexpectedly snowy climb. We were delighted to find plenty of dry wood... also to discover that no porkies had called. After starting a fire we dug in rain in 3 ft. of snow for an elusive spring, and afterwards chopped ice under a nearby cataract to enable us to fill the buckets.... [The next day] finished house-cleaning, then went up Adams.... We were astonished by the fleet of [cotton poplar seeds] that came sailing past us. Against the sunset they looked like tiny fire balloons.


July 23-24 - Gray Knob rather untidy as compared with previous years. It had not been visited by porcupines, for whom I once entered here an unappreciated defense, but by those skunks who steal blankets (and here I regret to malign the quadrupeds).


July 19 - I am leaving Gray Knob with a happier disposition than when I arrived.

August 9 - After a stiff climb up Spur, through mist and rain, from Coldbrook camp, I stopped to dry off a bit before continuing up Washington. Your cabin came in mighty nice for an hour and although I thank you for the use of it from the bottom of my heart, I suppose you wish I had never been born. But never mind, Prof., you shall be rewarded in Heaven.... GOD BLESS THE PROF.


July - For two winters Gray Knob stood on its ear as a result of wood, snow, and flood....[sp?] Hunt & son, with the aid of a 50-lb jack, let it down on new foundations about 4 feet southeast of its original site. The only substantive piece of repair in 24 years of its life.

July 25 - Brought up stove and put it up.... Cabin in good condition.

September 17 - A high wind... gave wonderful opportunity to air all the bedding, preparatory to closing camp. We leave an ample supply of wood both inside and on the porch. The shelves have all been washed down and all food, candles, matches... etc. are left in tightly-covered tins. We are leaving some dried vegetables, soups, etc.... also dried beef in jars....


August 31 - They have arrived wet and frozen, but oh boy! what a time all of us are having. No one can ever take that away from any of us.

December 2 - Yale Outing Club. Xmas Trip #2.


September 21 - As it was growing late, decided to stop at Gray Knob instead of going to Randolph. Supper of corned beef, rice and raisins and maple syrup. Used blankets which we put back as mouse-proof as possible. Replaced kindling wood, and will pack up food and candles. Had glorious time and thank owners.


September 21-22 - Miggy Arnold, artist.


August 27 - 1 a.m. and all is ill. 4 a.m. and he's gaining still. Three hours now we've lain awake, while Porky's jaws made the cabin shake. Clippers and axe, stamp and yell, have failed to send him back to hell.... With tooth and claw and quill and maw, he's swallowing the cabin raw. Now, Porky, go and chew a tree and leave our little Gray Knob be. Go masticate Mt. Adams' cone and gain thereby a great gallstone.


4th of July - With great respect and admiration for the urban luxury of this camp. [Klaus Goetze].

[Compiled by Davis Woodruff, 9/11/77]