Gray Knob Log Book - 1955 to 1979

1955


August 2 - ...On the way down, via Hincks Path, will try to find the ruins of "Spur cabin" which was more or less near Chandler Falls some thirty years ago.-- Harry Adams, Randolph. AMC Construction Crew '55.
P.S. That confounded john floor has got to be shored up,- otherwise!!!

August 25 - On my inspection tour, to investigate reports of the john floor, etc. Everything in the cabin in good shape, except mattresses!-- Fred Phinney, RMC, Randolph, NH

September 1 - Inspecting again. Everything okay in cabin. Going down to see if john floor is as bad as all that.-- J. Denton, RMC.

September 14 - Didn't take john floor too seriously until I realized what might happen if it did break. Seems to support 130 pounds now, though. Hope John Denton got a good look at it... (no name)

1956

June 30 - ...Glad to see the Perch in such good shape... unfortunately, we forgot the signs we were supposed to put up.-- Christopher Goetze, Dan Vernson (?), Trailboys '56

July 14 - Came over after eating lunch at Crag Camp on our way to clear the Hincks Trail.-- Brian Taylor, Stan Washburn, Klaus Goetz, Dan Clemson, Barbara Goetz, Danny Clarke.

August 9 - Came to sharpen axe, probably last official visit this summer. Still hope to tackle porch supports in near future. There was a party of five here for nearly a week around August 1st. Too bad they don't sign. This camp does get used and loved. - The Management of Camps (Rolf Goetz)

August 17 - Up Lowe's Path, Randolph Path, yesterday afternoon to find Perch in fine condition - a real pleasure after passing the Log Cabin. We spent an amusing half-hour watching a bald eagle soar in the thermals on top of Nowell Ridge.... Judy and Al Hudson.

August 22 - According to the 1944 guide, the Perch was no longer in existence and all we dared hope for was a little clearing for our sleeping bags. What a suprise it was to find such an excellent place!.. Julia and Paul Lindermaier.

August 31 - Hiked to Edmands Col-- stainless steel emergency shelter located there. It is not on any maps, since it is almost brand new. It leaks, and is like a drum, and there ain't no wood for miles around.-- John Field/Peter Grigg, Braintree Ma.

1957

June 17 - Trailboys '57 came by and found the place in fairly good order. Plenty of wood outside. -- Chris Goetz, Brian Underhill.

June 26 - 2 (Two) years ago somebody complained about the john floor. It is still being complained about!!-- A.J.M.

July 14 - ....Came over for annual maintenance tour. Fixed floor of John-- at least, so that it should hold up as long as the rest of the building does. Also improved the bridge over the Grayknob swamp...-- W. Field, Prop.

July 20 - ...This trek began in Glacier National Park, Montana, was interrupted by train rides-- including one down from Montreal yesterday-- linking eastern with western mountain scenery-- I love 'em both-- Paul Carter, Montana State University, Missoula, Montana.

August 4 - What a nice place this once must have been-- liked the upstairs! Too bad people and mice can't leave it cleaner. We three are glad to see Gray Knob at last, and hope to return and do some wall-chinking?-- Barbara Sittinger, Cambridge, Mass. Pinkham Notch, 1953-'56

August 18 - Ed Hansen and Burt Moses in from Great Gulf Shelter. The solitude is welcome after enduring the company of multitudes of week-end hikers. We never have seen anyplace like this before-- quite a welcome change. Queens Village, New York.

August 24 - ...Stayed overnight, left for Adams, Madison and Glen House. Then on to Passaconaway. This must have been a beautiful place when it was new, but--
-- Bill Merrill, Ralph Page, Charlie Simpson, Jack Fisher, U.N.H. '58

September 20 - 8:10 Total darkness and thick fog. Three people lost. I've been whistling and can't hear so I'm resting here. 8:30 Still not found.

September 21 - 9:40 Lost girl found after harrowing night on the cold hill side-- (no names)

1958

June 12 - Delightful night.-- Christopher Goetz.
P.S. Trouble with the john again. This time everything but the floor needs replacing.

June 30 - Just coming down from Madison. Place looks okay but I agree with the above statement.-- Phil Rich, U.S.F.S. Patrol

July 9 - The town of Randolph has appropriated $300 for repair of Gray Knob and john, so watch this spot for future developments.-- Michael Field, RMC Concierge '57, '58.

July 13 - CP Belcher, 5 Joy Street, Boston. Alan (3 1/2), Joan and Betsy Belcher up from Randolph for the day-- Things look good.

July 17 - RMC packing party, hauling mattresses, lumber, wire, stove, etc.-
Christopher Goetz, 71 lbs (1 hour 55 min)
Robert Underhill, 51 lbs
Bruce Butler, 31 lbs
Mike Field, 85 lbs
Klaus Goetz, 28 measly lbs

July 26 - Ready to go down after one hektic (sp) week of awful cooking and repare (sp) on cabin. Stayed from July 21-26.-- Freeman Holden

August 2 - Came up here with Sam Huntington in hopes of capturing 10 toads and 3 squirrels; unfortunately, we only got 9 toads and 3 squirrels-- a day badly passed... (no name)

August 30 - Last official visit of the summer. Came over to replace pane of glass. Brought 8x10 pane instead of 7x9... blacked stove, slopped creosote over porch and self... Mike Field, Crag etc 1957, 1958.

September 5 - Here via the beautiful Hincks trails, to put up the "can pit" sign. Everything in fine order. We are so happy that so many have enjoyed this cabin since the 'chinking party'! - Klaus Goetze

September 6 - Crag was full of 17 AMC'ers so we came back here.- Doug and Peter Grant.

November 29 - ...We left our wives at the Log Cabin, will head back there after lunch.-- Bob Berg and Bob Price

1959

January 1 - Making the rounds of all the camps to put "1959" in the log books... planned to go over the range until the weather closed in and we had to go down instead.- Bob Underhill, RMC Trails '58, Chris Goetze, RMC '56, '57, '58, Brian Underhill, RMC Trails '57

June 23 - Came over from Crag for sunset. Tomorrow hope to meet father and investigate Cascade Ravine. Possibly with a view to reopening trail.- Chris Goetze, RMC Trailcrew '56, '57, '58

August 7 - Party of nine, arrived 4:00, all of us from New Jersey. Bugs terrible, low ceiling. Place in incredibly good condition. - Gail Hooverman.

August 12 - ...Saw a girls camp on the way over here. Am leaving for Crag. - Bobby Wyman.

August 13 - Bob Currier. USFS 13:25 leaving for Madison Huts. On trail mapping detail. A very well built rustic camp, and in a very well picked spot.-- Bob Currier, Conway N.H.

August 17 - Passing through from Crag on inspection tour of camps. On down Lowe's Path to Randolph.- Marge Cross, Randolph N.H.
Taggin along with the Camp Inspector.- Moby Mudge, RMC Trails '59
Following sister on camp inspection tour.- Linda Cross
Proprietor taggin along with Linda, looking for criticism left by "camp inspector"...-- Charley Swift, prop.

September 3 - Arrived in the rain and fog from the Great Gulf shelter-- tremendously impressed by the cleanliness and good condition of the cabin... Found and left a good supply of wood. Paid a short visit to our sister cabin, Crag Camp to renew acquaintances with the outhouse with the most outstanding view east of the Tetons. We were not disappointed. Also, Charlie Swift has kept Crag in great condition, true to the training of an AMC hutsman. Returned to Gray Knob for a pleasant ham roast followed by watching the sunset from the Lowe's Path cut off...-- Bill Hoffman, Zool '50

1963

August 15 - Robert McIntosh. Range Patrolman, USFS. Been busy at repairs-- Grayknob to be reborn.

August 29 - Leaving after two nights, warm and without rain. It would have been nice to test the new roof. Please help yourselves to the supplies before they freeze. Does anyone know how to get the axe sharp? There is a file, but I am too stupid. Next year we hope to have a good renewal of the whole cabin, but even now, the upstairs has become quite snug.- K. Goetze

1964

June 23 - Through from Edmands Col and summit of Adams-- rendezvous with the Atherius Society. Back to Crag-- MaryAnne Cross, RMC

July 4 - Ninth trip (this one) -- Flooring. -- K. Goetz

July 5 - Routine Inspection trip to RMC shelters. Gray Knob, despite the efforts of the caretaker, is a bit messy. Papers and trash and unmentionables all over the place. People better learn how to take care of campsites such as Gray Knob. The present condition shows downright disrespect for what the RMC is trying to do here.-- Warren Brodhead, USFS Range Patrol

July 7 - Positively the last trip-- number ten.-- K.G. (Flooring)

July 13 - Today marks the beginning of the beginning of Gray Knob's rebirth and use as the finest cabin in the White Mountains. Am presently awaiting the arrvival of the train of experts responsible for Gray Knob's future.-- Crhis Campbell, Crag Caretaker

July 13 - Me again. It wasn't the last trip!-- K.G.

July 17 - Today was an anxiously awaited one for me-- we came up to meet my dad (Freeman W. Holden). He has been winterizing the camp-- Gray Knob shall really be the best camp by the looks of it now!....Andrea Holden, Randolph N.H.

July 22 - Came and spent the night amidst the chaos of change and "winterization." So struck by the awesome facade of the new Gray Knob that I fell asleep in the 6th inning. Might come by soon to see if Freeman is still holding out.-- Warren Brodhead, USFS.

August 14 - Brought up 100 pounds of everything, including the kitchen sink.-- Bill Arnold, Crag '63


1973

August 14 - The new Gray Knob log book. Ending caretakers at the time: Hawley Knox III, Crag Camp. Allan Tolles Eusden, Gray Knob. This should be the last log book of the old Gray Knob, as next year there are hopes for a grand remodeling. (note in margin: But never happened!)

1974

February 7 - A fine day yesterday but snowing today. It has warmed up considerably since our arrival. Minus 15 degrees when we got here Monday through Tuesday and 21 degrees today (Thursday). The mice, squirrels and rabbit are out and around, chewing on the insulation day and night. A fine day on the ridge yesterday but poor now. 3:00 pm time to leave-- stove worked too well. All the snow around the windows is melting and leaking in. The area looks really beautiful with the new snow.... Chris Dearly and Ray Montana, Summer Forest Service Ridgerunner

July 12 - Whoever coined the phrase, "quiet as mouse" never slept here.-- E.D.

July 31 - We started at Webster. I'm too tired to write! Peter Rowan-- KMC, New Canaan, Ct.

August 8 - Sean Irlbacher was here and had a decent time.

1977

September 2 - Hello, I am your caretaker Davis. I am your host in the White Mountains. I am not your bloody servant (like many A.M.C. hutmasters are.) However, I will most always go out of my way to service any needs you might have.

September 3 - ....Crag Camp and Gray Knob are terrific! The A.M.C. could learn from Randolph Mt. Club about facilities for backpackers. Davis is a person who cares about what he's doing. It makes a difference....-- Natalie Friedman.

September 6 - ...Captain Davis-- take good care of your ship. It's looking good, but the underwear hanging from the roof can go. It's not very aesthetic.-- T. Miller/ USFS Patrol

September 10 - Almost lost Crag Camp to ashes tonight. Some boys had their stove go out of control and the fuel blew up. A bloody disaster was overted when a mattress was thrown on top of the flames. By Jesus, I was close to out of a job next summer. -- Caretaker.

September 17 - Came back from days off. Brought up a 110 pound load. So far it's my record. Took me 2 3/4 hours from Route 2.-- Caretaker.

November 1 - The winter caretaker is now here! Hope I make it through till April. Mike P, RMC.
P.S. I'd like to thank Davis, the fall caretaker, for cutting and splitting such a large amount of firewood. You're a good man, Davis.

1978

January 1 - ...This week was quite an experience. Half way through the week I went down the mountain with Sean Irlbacher to get some beer for New Year's. The beer never made it 'till New Year's. But Mike went down the day before and got more. I wish I didn't pass out before New Year's but I heard about it the next morning. Mike the caretaker is a really great guy. He brought up 2/5 of a gallon of champagne.... Curt Detzer, Danbury, Ct.

March 19 - Second Annual Spring Party. Though we're two days earlier than scheduled, we've declared that this day be the official Spring Party Day for 1978. The same crew was present again, this time the roles were reversed. Mike P and Diane Holmes were the winter residents and Mike Johnson and Kathy Mitchell were the guests... Seems we're forming a tradition of greeting spring at Gray Knob.
-- Mike Johnson, Mike Pelchat, Diane Holmes, Kathy Mitchell

April 13 - ...Mike brought me rock climbing, up a 5.6, really enjoyed it. I'm honorary caretaker for the night. Rained today, losing snow fast-- hate to see winter go. -- Bob Champoux, Berlin NH

April 16 - Goodbye, Gray Knob. I'll never forget the winter the winter of '77-'78.-- Mike P.

April 24 - Two beautiful days spent in comfortable Gray Knob... we felt like we were on the roof of the world. Wonderful cabin-- the A.M.C. should take notice on how to treat trampers.-- Bill Leukhardt.

May 9 - The outhouse blew down. Pieces all over the mountain. Big fun in store.-- Paul F, caretaker.

May 18 - If someone doesn't show up soon I'm going to go stark raving mad. Maybe I am already. Six days, I feel like I'm in solitary. And of course, to make things all the more enjoyable, it's raining again. Well Herman, another game of fish?-- Paul F. (Ever seen an ermine deal cards?)

June 1 - AH!! Memorial Day Weekend is over and it has been intense! People just mobbed the huts like I have never seen. Summer is here!!-- Paul F., Caretaker.

June1 - Future Caretaker's Take Note: Davis and Jim G., if a rather large and loud group from Burriville, Rhode Island show up at these huts, kick them out on their lazy asses. Those Buffoons left at least 150 pounds of trash at Crag, along with numerous empties. They made a sneak exodus down the Spur and when I showed up at 7:30 am they had already left.... Well, you've been warned, throw a few into King Ravine for me.-- Paul F.

June 1 - ...I learned a lot up here, being exposed to the elements, as well as talking to you. You're definitely okay. Remember that going up St. Elias, when the ice and snow begin to work you over. You can do it... go for it my friend. Love, Virginia.

June 3 - Intense. Never forget these last few days. NEVER.-- Paul F., Caretaker.

June 14 - IF YOU WANT A JOB THAT COMMANDS RESPECT, MAYBE YOU CAN BE ONE OF US. CONTACT YOUR R.M.C. RECRUITER OR SEE YOUR CARETAKER. THE FEW. THE PROUD. THE R.M.C.

June 29 - ...As one thumbs through these pages, a diversified accumulation of stories are written in various styles that denote many characteristics of people who have stayed in this famous hostel. As I look over the many entries from people all over the world, I can only wish I could have met and partied with those people. May Gray Knob exist forever for those who seek good company, comfortable accomodations and fine memories.
-- Davis Woodruff, Caretaker, Fall of '77, summer '78

July 3 - Good bye Gray Knob. See you next winter... Good luck to Davis and Jim up here this summer...-- Paul Flanagan, Spring Caretaker RMC.

July 3 - Yesterday was one of the most peaceful days I have spent in the moutains. Have come to really love this area...Davis, the jolly troll, the king of the forest, keeps us laughing, makes us feel welcome... his treasure trove is filled not with diamonds or rubies or even incense and magic powders; it is an ice cave hidden in the forest greenery, filled with Heineken and Miller High Life... Paul, our intrepid mountain climber, guardian of the cliffs and boulders, his private playground over which he beckons one and all to climb and scramble... today he ventures forth beyond our forest world, to bring back tales of glory and adventure on the slopes of Mount St. Elias... scaling a 3,000 foot ice-covered headwall, 18,000 feet up from sea level in the middle of the Alaskan wilderness... Thank you to those forest creatures-- Davis, Denise, Paul and Jim for sharing their mountain kingdom with us and for making us feel so welcome...-- Gary and Alan.

July 18 - The life is here and living is now! So live it now and leave the other for later!
-- Take Care, Caretaker (Davis)

July 15 - Davis-- Jack Stewart and Chips will be up for 'surprise' inspection on Tuesday.-- Jim Grant.

July 18 - Today is the day I leave and it's all so terribly sad for me... lots of good times, sunsets, and people who have come and gone. Back to PA. to work until September when I join Davis in Nashua...-- Until next time, Denise.

August 2 - Brought up the tin siding for Crag Camp. I truly love these huts and I'll do just about anything to keep them around for my kids to use. 19th time up and down this year...-- Davis.

August 12 - I really appreciate the hospitality that the RMC provides for beings that come to the Whites to enjoy themselves, rather than the hassle that the AMC gives you behind the desk of their hut system (hotel chain)-- you guys really create a homey athmosphere-- I hope whoever reads this doesn't get the wrong idea, because the AMC does a tremendous job on NH trails, and I'm sure the RMC does too!-- Mark Hatfield.

September 20 - The winter caretaker is now here. I'll try to stick it out 'til April 1. Hope I make it. Over the course of the next month and a half I will be cutting this winter's wood. All would-be lumberjacks are welcome to help. See me and I'll have you chopping like Paul Bunyan in no time.
-- Paul F., RMC.

September 20 - ...I still think it would be easier to move the cabin to the wood supply...-- Glenn.

September 23 - First day of fall. Beautiful clear, crisp day, foliage is nearing its peak. Up today with Francis and Farrell O'Conner To help Paul cut some wood for the coming winter...-- Mike Pelchat, '77-'78 Winter Caretaker.

September 30 - Up to set up some survey markers on the summits of Madison, Adams and Jefferson for the Museum of Science mapping project... Gray Knob is great!-- Dave Buchanan, AMC.

October 2 - Back up today, with Oakleigh. The joint is in one hell of a mess-- but at least the weekend crowd didn't burn 'er down... the weather is a mess too, good time for woodcutting. "Clear cut, anyone?" There's enough gas and oil up here to cut the, "Mount Adams Auto Road."
"Low gear is best on Lowe's" -- Caretaker.

November 12 - Well, folks, the mouse population (153+ and growing) is about to be decimated by the new mouser, Casey Jones. Six claws and ready for action... Another close call at Crag tonight-- FIRE! Contrary to some people's belief, gas stoves don't suddenly put themselves out when they're about to explode. Ah, well, life goes one... Fog has rolled in, the valley is obscured... this past week has been comparable to June, high 50's with tons of sun...-- Paul, Caretaker, Hotel Gray Knob, RMC Scenic Area.

November 29 - J.T., your stove gets the prize! A Molotov cocktail if ever there was one... I heaved it out the door just in time to see an explosion that would have done the Wizard of Oz proud. Thank God for heavy gloves...-- Paul, Caretaker.

1979

January 11 - Up from Randolph-- a beautiful moonlit, cold evening. Although trails were unbroken, the cold, windless weather made for fast ascent...-- Dave Andersen.

January 12 - Fast ascent, 55 minutes with a light pack. Feel like Chouinard all over again...-- Paul F., Caretaker.

January 22 - Gray Knob, home to thousands of hungry mice, one human exile and an occasional weary mountain traveller. The mountain sleeps tonight, the weekend has passed with hardly a knock on the door. Heavy snow has changed previous ice capades situation to a game of "Giant Step". May there always be a deeper challenge and a better line.-- Dave Shoemaker.

February 12 - Token "Frigid February Entry". Mad crowds here this weekend...28 below and more. Many cold toes and frosted noses. "Stick 'em in the fire, mate!"-- P.F., caretaker.

(Note: the rest of this logbook is empty, except for a few newspaper articles about the deaths of Dave Shoemaker, Paul Flanagan and Davis Woodruff.)

April 9 - Nothing like a winter storm warning to send everyone to the valley.-- Mike Pratt, Caretaker.

April 15 - Today is the last day I will spend at my beloved Knob. It's taken me three months to get my courage up... Of course, I made the ascent during the still of the night (like old times) and a quarter moon guided my way. Somehow, though, even with people inside, the knob was still empty. I miss Paul so much... every peak, star, tree, bird or outhouse I see reminds me that he is still alive up here.... I brought some dirt from his Peabody grave up here. I sprinkled some at Crag, the Quay and Gray Knob. I'm taking some from up here and bringing it to Peabody and his mom.... Love always, Joan Kendall.

June 12 - I'm up here for the first time as Linc and I explore the region around our Madison Hotel. I can't think of a more peaceful place to be than this Gray Knob which maintains a mountain simplicity that the AMC gave away to Boston socialities looking for cocktail conversation.... Mike Torrey, Lakes '78, Madison '79

June 25 - It's been toooo long! I'm finally up for a classic view after missing the Knob for sooo long! This place beats all.-- Davis Miller Woodruff, Caretaker Fall '77, Summer '78

September 17 - Day 1 for this caretaker-- seven and a half months more. Let the snow and cold come soon... time for life in the slow lane.-- Jeff Tirey.

September 19 - Snow!! Wimps beware. Winter is upon us... Jeff Tirey.

September 29 - ...this is one of the nicest cabins I saw on the whole of the Appalachian Trail... -- Larry Zaleski.

October 30 - Announcing: Due to the recent completion of renovation work on the roof, the R.M.C. is happy to announce the (re) opening of the Gray Knob Hilton. Enjoy the warmth. -- Jeff Tirey.

October 31 - Mice 0 Caretaker 2.

December 31 - ...I can't believe that Jeff did all this stuff for us strange New Year's Eve hikers-- beer, brownies, fruitcake, champagne, etc. and goodwill and friendship....Jack Pobuk, President, WPIOC.

[Compiled by Doug Mayer]