Gray Knob Log Book - 1980 to 1989

1980


January 28 - No guests last night. Sat by the woodstove reading The Zen of Sitting and smoked my pipe. Later, to my surprise and joy, I was visited by Saint Belinda, patron saint of lonely caretakers....-- Ben.

February 8 - Attacked in the night by a ravenous white ermine, Herman. Caught in the glow of my flashlight while pirating cheese, he reacted to my sudden presence by completely ignoring my existence. When we shouted and stamped our feet, he disdainfully jumped off the table and proceeded to zoom around the room for the rest of the night. Good work Herman!...-- Gordon Bruer.

March 15 - I bet Jeff really appreciated the caravan of 14+ people following the now well-beaten path into this warm and wonderful mansion in the sky. The first steps above treeline nearly had us hang gliding to the fine towns below... Thanks, Jeff, for a wonderful time, and we'll be sure to shut the door!-- C.L.

March 16 -

We climb a trail we must blaze
Weary travelers in a daze
The climb is steep
We sack out up top-- to sleep
The morning brings a scene:
Mountains, towns and ravines
We will slide down soon--
on our bottoms-- boom, boom, boom.
The bus is waiting to take us away
oh-- how we cry inside to stay
home at last, unfortunately
but the memories; ah!

-- Dorothy Ann Stoneman

P.S. I feel I must mention the caretaker. He is a perfect caretaker. He made our stay more enjoyable and interesting. He has a sense of humor, he tells you the rules in a nice way, and he sure takes the cold well!


March 23 - Seeing how this is my fourth time up here and probably the last for a very long time to come, I figure it's time I put in a word or two.
My very fondest memory of the knob will be the moonlit night in December-- the full moon shining in absolute silence and stillness upon the thick layer of soft snow, coating every branch on the pine trees-- certainly the closest I've ever been to a fairyland paradise. So peaceful and still...
...I've certainly been blessed with some of the best weather to be found up here. Three full moons, and clear days every time.....Thanks Gray Knob. -- Irene Limessurier.

April 8-10 - Had an excellent stay by ourselves. We heard the caretaker got in an accident in King's. He may be out of it for a while. All who read this take note: this is the second fine caretaker who has gotten seriously injured (if not killed) climbing in the surrounding bowls. Paul Flanagan, caretaker winter '78-'79 died climbing in Huntington's.... -- An RMC trailcrew member and hutperson.

May 26 - Saw it with my own eyes-- Caretaker and companion dining opulently on lobster....-- Gary, Mattapoisett.

May 27 - ...Last night we had, what we believe to be, the first lobster dinner at the Gray Knob Hilton, one of the finer restaurants and taverns in the north country.... John Tremblay.

June 12 - Jack Stewart, Randolph, day hiking. Now down via Lowe's, Randolph Path and Amphibrach.

July 12 - Keep New Hampshire a secret.-- Bob Champoux, Berlin NH.

October 3 - A quiet night at the Knob, finally! The colors are starting to peak and we expect a crowded weekend...So much for hauling wood-- P.W., Caretaker.

October 13 - At last! The knob, proving ground of the White Mountain mountaineers! At last, have returned to the RMC after absence of 4 1/2 years...Visit by Mr. Klaus Goetz of Randolph to check in with Caretaker Pete...Fred Phinney Jr., Talkeetna, Alaska.

November 6 - Record low temperature reading at the 'Knob this morning. 13 degrees below 0!. Goldie is upstairs snoozing. She is fitting in to the area and rocky lifestyle here on Mount Adams quite well so far. She arrived only three days ago at a very young two months old! She will be an exceptionally rugged animal with an epic upbringing! -- Goldie's babysitter.

December 25 - Christmas Day! 33 degrees below zero. Inside, it's a balmy 45 degrees.... Caretaker.

1981

January 3 - Time to leave, after another great adventure at the old Knob-- slept at the "Quay Side Estates" for the last two nights-- 6 degrees one night, -33 degrees the next-- thank god for the old "double bag" system...-- Steve Weber

January 4 - Came up on January 2nd and the Knob was so crowded we were forced into Crag Camp for the night. We almost stayed warm by shoveling the snow out of our bunkroom, but by three am the temperature was -26 degrees outside and -20 inside. Came over to Gray Knob to thaw out and ended up spending the night. This morning we tried the summit of Adams twice, but with winds of 50-60 mph and the mercury still at -24, we stopped at Thunderstorm Junction... Alden Warner.

January 4 - The coldest I've ever seen it !! -32 Sunday evening.... Oh yea, thanks to whoever left about a half an ounce of spaghetti sauce in the 20 ounce glass jar. Real useful!-- John Tremblay, Temp CT.

January 9 - What a gorgeous day-- no clouds, 0 degrees-- and a head cold that would choke a horse.... Today's big chores: open the stream near Crag and dig the outhouse out of the drifts.-- John Tremblay.

January 12 - Off to visit majestic Mount Jefferson. No clouds and only 4 below.-- JT, Caretaker.
P.S. I'll be back to start up the stove so please be patient-- wood is under strict rationing.

Well-- I didn't make Jefferson-- too much drifted powder-- 3 to 4 feet.


January 19 - On a scale of 1 to 10, tonight's sunset scored 9.5. Multicolored storm clouds kicked by at 70 mph. So, with the eyes and body filled with as much of nature's beauty as seemingly possible, we turn back to the knob, only to be faced with a full moon rising over the Crag ridge with pale green skies in the background.... John Tremblay, Temp. Caretaker.

February 26 - The Whites are as unpredictable as they come. We went from 60 degrees and sunshine to rain, to 25 degrees and, then, a very welcome 12 inches of snow.... Thanks to the caretaker for making the stay an enjoyable one. I will leave the Knob with new vigor and love for the hills.-- Dave Roberts.

March 6 - Today marks the 6th month that I've been Caretaker here at Gray Knob. I can truthfully say that I enjoyed every minute, so much that I intend to return for next winter. (Provided the RMC doesn't mind.) Anyway, I couldn't have has such a good time without the people I met, and especially the Excentric Mountaineers...-- Caretaker.

March 16 - 5th Annual Gray Knob spring party. Good time had by all. Everyone happy and satisfied and ready for the enjoyable ride down.-- Jeff Tirey, Diane Holmes, Mike Pelchat, Mike Johnson, Kathleen Mitchell, Peter Wallace, host.

March 27 - A verse from the bible has new meaning to me: "The Heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament showeth his handiwork." Psalm 19:1. Today the snow is falling lightly, covering the whole area. Visability is near zero...-- Pastor C.L. Winningham, Community Baptist, Gorham NH

May 7 - What a switch: from 72 degrees at noon yesterday to 20 degrees at 8 this morning...-- John Tremblay, Caretaker.

July 23 - ...I am going over to the Perch and the Log Cabin, have been to Crag. Enjoy the Summer!-- Klaus Goetze. (Note in margin: "RMC President-- in his 70's!!)

July 26 - Incredible Northern Lights last night.The whole sky was lit up with curtains and streaks of pulsating light. We sat up on Knight's Castle and watched the incredible celestial fireworks.-- SMC, Caretaker.

August 13 - Another deluge is over. I swear, I try to like camp groups, I really do. I went to camp, I was a camp counselor. But this group last night... Perhaps the emphasis of these camp groups should be low-impact, wilderness camping, not coming to a small hut, and taking it totally over and leaving an incredible mess that they decided they didn't want to clean up... I don't mind cleaning up, but this group should have had the courtesy to wash my dishes that they used. Maybe a groups size limit should be made mandatory by the Forest Service and the RMC. I don't mean to get down on this one particular group, but big camps in an area this fragile can be big problems.-- Steve Mark Chase, RMC Caretaker.

P.S. Every time a camp group shows up, they break a window.


August 15 - This is to certify that Steve Chase and John Tremblay cruised Lowe's Path in 1 hour, 5 minutes.(Going up.)-- Steven Chase, John Tremblay. (signed)

August 29 - Well, down today. Welcome Pete Wallace and Goldberry for the next 8 months. One thing I am convinced of is that Gray Knob is the best place in the Whites to stay...-- Steven Mark Chase, Gray Knob 1981 Caretaker.

August 29 - The change-over has taken place once again. It was said that if a winter caretaker was to apply for a second year he wouldn't be hired, because they would think he was nuts. Well, I am, and here I am again for the second year in a row. -- Pete Wallace, winter caretaker, '80-'82

October 13 - ...not used to the crowds, haven't seen this many people in a while... Monday, as the mountains were clearing out, I was cruising around the summits and got the idea to bivouac on the summit of Adams. I came home, had supper, watched a beautiful sunset on a cloudless sky. Then I hiked up into the twilight, with an alpine afterglow of crimson orange and blue on the western horizon, only to meet the moon on this side of Adams...Reached my destination at the summit of Mount Adams, I set up my bivouac, eased into my bag and drifted into a moonlit slumber, only to be awakened by blazing colors from the east...--PW, Caretaker.

October 19 - A blustery evening. All by myself, a beginning of winter. This is the second time it really snowed... 26 degrees and snowing hard...- PW, Caretaker.

November 19 - This is a marvelous place to come to in winter and well appreciated. The woodstove is nice and shows a wise and conservative use, not exploiting the surrounding forest. I don't think I approve of the many large huts in these mountains, but this one is just right.-- (anonymous)

November 22 - ...9 days in the clouds...-- Caretaker.

December 11 - First annual High Performance Alpine Sledding was done today. The tests proved satisfactory, more snow and it will be unreal.-- Caretaker.

December 20 - Awful lonely in these here parts, hasn't been anyone here since December 12. Heck, that's only eight days...-- Caretaker.

1982

March 26 - ...As always, we really appreciate the coziness and comfort of this cabin and especially the hard work and conscientiousness of caretaker Pete Wallace in maintaining it well.
Hope for many more good times here, with many more enthusiastic young people, in God's great mountains! "For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace; the mountains and hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands." (Isaiah 55:12) -- Glenn Ackroyd, Jamie MacDonald, Earl Gage, Gorham

April 6 - Zero degrees, snowed all night... The snow was two feet above the downstairs window... If you didn't know any better, you'd think it was winter. A look outside brings reminiscences of December when this was a no-man's land... this place never ceases to amaze me...20-30 inches of snow and more coming! This brings our approximate total to 230 inches.-- Caretaker.

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. It's winter, not spring, break out the snowshoes.-- Caretaker.


April 7 - ...I swear Pete, if you don't start getting out there with the snowblower right after these snowstorms, I'm just not going to visit anymore.-- John Tremblay, X-RMC-CT

April 15 - Three days of hard work but it's done! Introducing 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. Oh well, I had to do something to kill time. No people.-- Temp. Caretaker, JT.

April 27 - Losing track of the days. I think today is Tuesday. Rainy and drizzly, this weather's no fun. Last year at this time there was bear ground right here, this year the snow is just below the window sill. Somebody is testing me... Caretaker.

May 5 - ... It's time for another solo bivouac. This time it will be Sam Adams... If anyone is around tonight, come on up, it's a nice night for a moonlight cruise... be back in early AM.- PW, Caretaker.

May 23 - ...Many, many, many folks around this weekend. Especially compared to the last two or three weekends... I just survived a Canadian holocaust. Next weekend it's the American holocaust, Memorial Day.-- Caretaker.

May 30 - 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, travelled 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.

May 31 - First entry as official RMC caretaker. Gray Knob will soon be getting a new roof and I will remove to Crag as soon as there's running water and a gas bomb and stove. Cheers. -- Charlie Breunig.

June 4 - G&S (Grunt and Strain) lumber corps is back, but not with wood. We've got this funny stuff called tar paper. How much, you ask? Too ^%*&^% much.-- John Tremblay, Steve Chase.

June 17 - Took 2:50 to come up the Amphibrach and Hincks with two bundles of shingles...whose shingles?? There were ten bundles left at Lowes, so naturally I assumed... there ain't (*(&*%# here... don't tell me they're Gordy's bundles. A man can only take so much. -- JM, RMC TC.

June 24 - So there we were, on the Gray Knob roof, figuring it would finally stop raining. It didn't. It hailed instead....-- SMC, RMC CC

July 31 - STEVE: STOP SENDING PEOPLE TO CRAG. It's only 2:00 and there's 21 people.
But they wanted to go.-- SMC.

August 10 - "Development improves our environment"-- James Watt, August 9, 1982.

September 10 - "...Started at Pinkham... five in the group went on the Lake of the Clouds while my mother (77 years old) and I came down here..."-- Janie Hunsburger

September 13 - Who knows what evil lurks in the heart of the mountains? The Caretaker knows! Yes, Crag Camp has been broken into.."-- CLB

September 19 - Yes, Charlie I did make it and I'm here to stay-- until mid-April anyway. Yes, folks you guessed it. I'm the winter caretaker. That Pete Wallace guy wanted to do it again but we had him locked up before he could apply. Sorry Pete. -- John Tremblay, Winter Caretaker '82-'83

September 29 - Well, it never fails. Every time I climb up to see the caretakers they're always gone...- Mike Pelchat

October 2 - Quiet night? Not quite. Over 60 people in the area. -- Caretaker.

October 27 - Points to ponder: How does the outhouse get locked from the inside overnight when I'm the only one here? -- Caretaker.

December 1 - This may be a dangerous request-- but if they're going to call this winter, let's just do it. December already and still no snow cover to speak of.-- John Tremblay, Caretaker.

December 5 - ...Spent the day chasing down and educating some kids from Gorham who slipped out without paying. Ha Ha Ha! Surprise!-- Caretaker.

December 6 - ...Changed the charts on some instruments, and from my calculations it was a short winter. Did you see any avalanches, John? Well, that's alright, because I've changed my thesis topic to "Drug Habits of Natives of the West Indies." So, I'm off to the sunny Carribean..."-- Brad.

December 30 - "G&S (grunt and strain) corps has accomplished yet another great feat. 146 pounds of woodstove (one piece) up Lowe's Path with icy and verglassed conditions. 4 hours, 5 carriers.-- Caretaker.

1983

April 5 - Wet, windy and quiet around these parts lately. Been here for six months and 16 days. Only 25 days left 'til the end of my stay. Sure will miss living here... Got a family of red squirrels living in the cabin now. They're fun as long as you don't mind getting up at 5:30 every morning when they decide to ransack the place and knock pots all around the cabin...The least they could do is wait until 7:00 when I like to get up. Then I wouldn't be so tempted to try and lance the suckers with darts.-- Caretaker.

April 9 - Good luck to Mike Pelchat and Jeff Tirey, who by now should be camped comfortably somewhere on the NE fork of the Kahiltna Glacier on their way to the summit of the Big Mac- Alaska. Keeping Gorham and the RMC on the map.-- Caretaker.

May 3 - Lowe's Path still quite icy, below that it's wet but nice. First spring wildflowers in bloom at the base-- yellow violet, trout lillies and spring beauties. Beautiful place...."-- Albie (acting caretaker)

June 17 - Alpine plants are gorgeous, this place and its caretakers are great.-- Woody Bousquet, Swannanoa, North Carolina.

June 18 - There aren't many jobs where one can say it's great to be back, after days off. 'I was rich, if not in money, in sunny hours and summer days and spent them lavishly'- Thoreau. -- Albie.

June 26 - "I don't care if real men eat quiche. Real men don't work for the A.M.C. Real men work for the R.M.C." -- Doug Mayer, quoting Mike Pelchat.

June 29 - John from up at Madison told me that I stink too bad to stay up at the hut. So he told me to go down to the RMC Ghetto with the rest of the poor, wretched and the homeless. -- Mike Curran, Maine to Georgia.

August 4 - Today marks yet another turning point in Gray Knob history. The first anniversary and reconstruction of the Gray Knob Memorial Bridge. Another mute reminder that time marches on, though as god has deemed, Gray Knob remains timeless... in the land of the Watt Mountain National Forest, may Jim's eyes never be cast upon this hostel of weary souls.-- A.C./Trail Crew

August 12 - "Sure I'd like to meet a real trail legend," I replied. "But what do I have to do to meet him?" The grizzled trail veteran then said, "Well, just go up on Mount Washington and stand around for a while, Albie will find you." The advice seemed highly questionable when I arrived at the summit only to find dense throngs of tourists. Some guy in a London Fog trench coat was snapping pictures of me like I was a gorilla in a zoo.... I was trying to relieve my depression at the cafeteria when there he was-- that renowned hiker and real smart guy, Albie... the Appalachian Trail never ceases to amaze me. One thing I've noticed about these incidents, the big breaks always seem to come when they're most needed. Thanks so much for your hospitality, Albie!-- Tom "Frankenboot" Carey.

September 6 - Another summer has come and gone but not without many fond memories. I often thought of Thoreau's words while at Gray Knob, "I was rich, if not in money, in sunny hours and summer days and spent them lavishly."... Albie, Caretaker.

September 8 - A visit to this part of New Hampshire always rejuvenates my morale. It is often weakened when I become wrapped up in a humdrum routine of working, eating and sleeping. Once I fall into this stagnant phase of my life I look for some kind of outlet. A lot of times I find myself here in the Whites. It's then that my spirits get a lift. Somehow I had forgotten-- that one of life's greatest yet simplest pleasures has been here and always will be here. It's not just nature that invigorates me but also memories of well spent days with good friends....-- Jamie.

September 10 - (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.

September 21 - My first time back to Crag and Gray Knob in 32 years! I was RMC hutmaster for Crag and Gray Knob in August '47 but I've lived in Palo Alto and Seattle for 30 years... Things are better maintained now, but both huts have kept their character....On a clear and glorious day like this (30 knot wind) the White mountains are as difficult and rewarding as most NW trails...-- Otis Pease, Seattle Washington.

October 20 - Gray Knob is magical-- its wonders never cease to amaze even those most accustomed to it.... Pete Wallace.

1984

January 5 - Two climbers go to Madison hut to check for vandals, then to Madison Gulf for an ice climb. But no! What do they find? A group of hikers, one with a broken leg. Oh well, no climbing today, eh?-- SMC, RMC Caretaker Emeritus

January 21 - ....Presently -16 degrees outside. Outhouse trips no fun, but a nice 32 degrees inside. No trek to the Big W today-- -96 windchill, a bit too cold.... Jon and Sandy

April 14 - Was out playing "search for the Perch" today. Still buried in snow with just the front roof peak showing.... G.C., Caretaker.

May 11 - The Perch is finally opened up (still like a snowcave, though). Unbelievable amounts of snow!-- Gary Chabot.

May 31 - Five days out of sight and Thriller the wonder rabbit has returned. I'm blessed-- she's saved-- thank God!-- G.C.

July 25 - Today, boys and girls, we're going to learn about the nice mountains and the nasty weather on the top. Adiabatic lift-- can you spell adiabatic lift? Nice try! Now put on your nice wool clothes and sweat sweat sweat up the nice mountain! See how the rain comes at you from below-- that's one of the neat reasons we came up here!...... Oh look, we're at Mount Washington, I can tell, see the train load of geeks in high heels and suits, see all the cars with screaming kids and dogs, see all the nice buildings, can you spell overdevelopment? can you spell desecration? Good!-- Anonymous.

August 15 - A Haiku:
Lacking basic sense
Goofers wander upward
Draped in orange plastic
-- Anonymous

August 19 - We made our early morning ascent leaving Appalachia at 1:30 am, only to experience the sight of one of the most beautiful sunrises I've ever seen! Thank you Lord... We're all here to celebrate the 75th birthday of Crag Camp. Happy Birthday!-- Susan Scarinza.

September 5 - Ah! Gray knob is such a relief after being subjected to the AMC *******. It's good to see some sanity still exists in the Presidentials. Thanks a lot, Gary, for home baking... To the people of Gorham: it would be wise to get your women and children off the streets before we arrive. Look out civilization, here we come!-- Greg Mullin/ Ga. To Me.

September 6 - ...My days are now numbered here at "Rancho-Knobbo." It's been a terrific summer living and working here-- my heart and soul will always remain. Yes, Albie, Thoreau said it best: "I was rich, if not in money, then in sunny summer days and I spent them lavishly." One thing that amazes me about living here five months is the incredible amount of stuff that can accumulate. (Did I really bring all that stuff up here?) So folks... here we go with pack load number 1... so long, Gary.

September 8 - I'm back! Now to begin the long winter vigil, keeping the cabin warm and ready for cold, weary souls who wander in from the winter woods. I. Phil Knight, alias Randall the Restless, will be your jolly caretaker all the winter long. Fall, too. This is my first attempt at caretaking and I'll try my damnedest to do it right. I hope you-all will help me make this a fun-filled winter season. I'll do the same for you. -- PRK, RMC Caretaker. P.S. Goofers beware! ATO Brownshirts will be patrolling regularly, and will be merciless!

September 13 -

Outside the wind
is shaking the trees
it's more than a whisper
it's more than a breeze
howling and shrieking
the night's on the move
air with a purpose
and something to prove.
Step on outside
you might be laid low
by fast-moving vapors
which batter and blow
So remember the wind!
It has no remorse
No on knows its purpose
and no one its source.
-- Randall the Restless.


September 14 - Amazingly, the cabin still stands after the assault by the Laraway School. Actually, they weren't that bad, except for their exploding stoves. I awoke this morning to roaring flames outside my door-- their stove out of control for the sixth time! They almost torched the place... but the errant stove was hurled outside... One of their members bolted back down to Lowe's and no one knew where she was, so I had fun calling the valley by radio, telling Bill A. the awful situation... all in all, a jolly visit. -- PRK, RMC Caretaker.

September 15 - First snow of the year. First row of split wood piled in the shed. Four rows to go. -- PRK, Caretaker.

October 5 - Twenty degrees, two inches of new snow on top of six inches of old snow. Wind chill on top of Mount Washington -40 degrees. Brrrrrrr. -- PRK. P.S. 130 mile visibility.

November 6 - At Gray Knob did the RMC
A stately pleasure dome decree
High upon a windswept peak
Beyond the reach of mild and weak
It is the place for you and me.
-- Randall the Restless

November 17 - Who was the ******* that left the seat in the outhouse? I had to walk back with it frozen to my butt, and wait for it to melt off.-- PRK.

December 12 - Back from a high altitude bivouac. What a night! Clear, still, mild. Clouds filled the valley like snow, lit up from below by city lights. Above, the Milky Way, occasionally crossed by a meteor. Venus setting over Mount Lafayette. Orion, poised above Mount Madison, aiming his bow at the moon, which rose like a big orange balloon. To the North, the Aurora formed a huge glowing arc over the big dipper. Too much!... PRK.

December 29 - Lots of soggy, steamy souls in here last night, and utterly miserable weather-- second day of it. How can I handle much more of this? No snow left, only deep pools of dirty slush. A change must come! I want a real winter.-- PRK.

1985

January 5 - Made a solo ascent of King Ravine's "Central Gully" yesterday. First pitch-- superb grade III water ice! My approach route, a descent from Knight's Castle, is NOT recommended.-- PRK.

January 17 - Fine climb today! The season's first ascent of "Thermal Gully" (King Ravine, NEI III)... PRK.

February 12 - Jeff Tirey and I strolled over to the Observatory for a social call and some tea. Crazy winds on the ridge made things interesting. A wild storm is brewing up outside. This place sure feels like home!-- PRK.

February 13 - A real storm at last! I feared the cabin would blow over during the night. 15" of new snow, still falling hard... PRK.

March 8 - 6 MONTHS as caretaker. Do I get a prize? -- PRK

March 15 - Well, well, tonight I had the pleasure of testing the fire extinguisher courtesy of some chumps from NYC. Fortunately for all involved, it worked. Down with Peak One stoves!-- PRK.

April 21 - 1985's first ski descent of the Great Gully, on 195 cm downhill skis. Getting back up the headwall in ski boots was something else all together!-- PRK.

May 2 - Thanks to all my friends for helping me get through the winter. And thanks to the RMC for a great paid vacation. (5/3) After nearly eight months as caretaker, it's time to go... So long-- Phil Knight.

July 12 - ...P.S. Andy, I have a bone to pick with you! You are an irresponsible young man and deserve public humiliation. You have had as many nights down in the span of ten days as I have had since I've been here and you have done nothing to deserve it! From now on, you have to do the Perch until you have legitimate days off!-- JD, Caretaker.

August 15 - Spent a superb evening here with good company and pleasant conversation in this relaxed atmosphere... I'm glad there's the RMC oasis of realism in this AMC hub of commercialism. This place is hip.-- Bumble Dan, Valley Forge. GA-- ME. '85.

August 29 - Ralph and Don stayed at the Log Cabin, the first official night the cabin was open.-- Ralph, Wickford R.I.

August 31 - Spent two quiet, peaceful days at Crag waiting for the weather to break. This afternoon 4,000 kids invaded Crag, so we packed up and here we are at Gray Knob. Crag is great, but today Gray Knob is the place to be. Jessica said if she got everything under control, she would probably join us over here for the night. I wouldn't blame her one bit. She's real good company and deserving of her title, "Princess of the Presidentials."-- Ken and Paul, Fitchburg, Mass.

September 27 - Heavy rains and high winds made snowmobiling across the ridge difficult today. We're planning to go down Lowe's Path and hope the RMC has done a better job maintaining it than it has others. The Randolph Path was so bad that Elmira grounded out twice and I had to walk a section. What's the matter with this club? Doesn't it have any morals or concern for those of us who detest hiking? How unconscionable and downright unscrupulous of you. And where's the jacuzzi, bar and dancing girls? One could die of boredom in a foresaken spot like this. Let alone die of nausea from all the damn communist propaganda plastered on the walls. I'm going home to Corpus Christi, Texas, where decent Americans live. God bless America, Ronald Reagan, the NRA; and shoot the ********* who disagree.-- Elmira and Ebenezer, Corpus Christi Texas

September 29 - Peak gust on Mount Washington-- 127 mph with 3.6" of precip in the past 12 hours from hurricane Gloria. One cracked window at Gray Knob blew out, but otherwise it, Crag and the Perch weathered the storm well. Water was knee deep between here and Crag, and the stream by the Perch was a gushing torrent, well exceeding its usual course. Great day.-- Albie.

October 7 - Moderate snow flurries and 32 degree temperatures. Mice decided it was time to pack up their belongings and move in for the winter. It was an arduous task, but the steady convoy seemed to have settled in by early morning. I had to get up several times to ask them to be more considerate of other inhabitants, such as myself. They cooperated and not much sleep was lost.
But this morning, while taking off the morning chill with a cup of hot chocolate, I was dismayed to find mouse droppings floating in my hot chocolate. How unappetizing. Practically ruined my breakfast.
You guys have overstepped your bounds and outstayed your welcome. Any further acts of such disrespect will be met with severe measures.
I've gone to check Madison and Crag Camp. Have your belongings packed up and moved out before I return-- about 5:30 pm.-- Albie, Caretaker.

October 14 - ...Great weekend, even if it was Columbus Day Weekend and there were around 70 people in the cabins and shelters. Had one of the best groups in here Saturday night. If all the groups were like that group I believe I'd have to give myself a pay cut... Caretaker #2, filling in for #1-- Jerry.

October 19 - Beautiful day, warm and windy and full of sun... in the morning it was clear with good views of Mount Mansfield and Camel's Hump... Laurie Ford, Lebanon NH

October 29 - 16 degrees outside, 29 degrees inside at 9:00 am. Almost wintery.

October 30 - 39 degrees outside, 28 inside. Something's not right. Had to open the doors to warm things up. Almost time for the woodstove to be hooked up.

November 1 - Followed fox tracks between here and Crag yesterday. Still waiting for Herman the Ermine to move back in... Albie.

November 1 - Emerson to Thoreau: "Why are you in jail, Henry?"
Thoreau to Emerson: "Why are you not, Ralph?"
Jerry to Albie: "What are you doing at Gray Knob, Albie?"
Albie to Jerry: "What are you doing down in the Valley, Jerry?"

November 13 - The mice have quieted down some the past week and today I discovered what may be responsible for their subdued behavior. A sleek dark brown fisher cat gracefully made its way past the cabin and into the woods. Incredible sight. Hopefully he's decided to take up residence in the neighborhood for the winter. -- Albie.

November 15 - "Going to the mountains is going home." -- John Muir. It's great to be home again.-- Dick Hudson, Croton-on-Hudson, N.Y.

November 20 - All the frost feathers, snow and ice have vaporized with record warm temperatures. 47 degrees on Mount Washington is a high for this date. Hawkeye said it was 71 degrees at his house in Randolph. My thermometer was inadvertantly broken by a group of Boy Scouts last weekend. Inside at 6 o'clock it is 50 degrees (without the woodstove).-- Albie.

December 19 - -30 degrees on Mt. Washington with a peak gust of 126 mph. -22 degrees here at 8:00 pm. I wasn't up at the crack of dawn to see if it got any colder outside. It was cold enough inside, +12 degrees. Twelveth straight day without any visitors here or at any of the other camps.-- Albie.

1986

January 1 - Survived a New Year's Eve with the A.T.O. (Appalachian Terrorist Organization) and 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 whole 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. Sitting on the cold, icy seat is difficult enough without a sore buttocks on top of it. I must remember, A.T.O. members are not whimps or woosies... Happy New Year-- Albie.

January 2 - Average monthly temperature for December on Mount Washington: +3.7 degrees, 5 degrees below normal. 52" of snow for the month.

January 12 - ...It was indeed very windy up on Adams. Incredible, actually-- the most intense wind I've ever experienced, and it was just too much. Actually, it may be better than making the summit-- it's nice to know in this technological age that man does not always win! Chalk one up for Mother Nature! Many thanks to Albie for a comfortable stay-- this place is great...Dave Shepard, Marshfield, Vermont.

January 13 - George Wallace (Brother of former caretaker Pete Wallace, but no relation to the governor) arrived last night with a faction of the Connecticut A.T.O. I overheard their plans of sabotaging the cog railway. Apparently, Cog and AMC officials were tipped off to the scheme, because minutes after they arrived a SWAT team of 8 showed up. They are from Richmond, Virginia and are obviously professionals at dealing with terrorists. They set up base camp at Crag, where they can keep an eye on the A.T.O.
With temps of -20 and winds gusting from 60-75 mph on the summits, George decided to try to outmaneuver them by blowing up Madison Hut instead. I followed the A.T.O. to Mount Adams, at a safe distance, of course. From Thunderstorm Junction I could see the SWAT team making its way up the Spur Trail, armed with ice axes and crampons. I hastily made a retreat to the Knob, without much hope of seeing the CT. A.T.O. again. I was not too upset, since Madison's removal is not as crucial as that of the Cog. Besides, they left a lot of good gear that may come in handy on these cold days at the Knob.-- Albie.

January 14 - Coldest Day of the Year. -30 degrees at the Knob with gusty winds. Mount Washington reports -35 with 112 mph winds. Wind chill = -140 degrees. Group of eight at Crag suffered some frostbite, so they made a hasty retreat to a valley motel, leaving behind foam pads, stuff sacks, gloves, a crampon, food, and unfortunately, a bag of garbage.
It's 49 degrees warmer inside Gray Knob, making it a balmy +19 degrees. Where's the bus to the beach?-- Albie.

January 20 - ...Today Mount Washington sets a high temperature record, as the mercury reached 41 degrees.

February 9 - Wouldn't it be nice if all guests at Gray Knob brought a large pizza with the works, and shared it with the caretaker, like Jerry and Peter. Even a few brownies and a pint of Ben and Jerry's White Russian ice cream would do. Remember, we must all do our share to end world hunger. -- A.P. (Caretaker)

March 8 - Snow has drifted above the SW window and door for the first time this winter. The spring at Crag also dried up for the first time this year. Morning temperature: -23 degrees. The chickadees singing their spring mating call last week were a bit premature. Winter hasn't relinquished its hold yet. -- Albie.

March 15 - When I left to come back up yesterday, Alan Lowe said, "you'll probably get a few fools to hike up in this freezing rain and sleet." And, of course, he was right. Trapper Jeff was out in his Celtics cap... But today Bob and Carey arrived carrying 20 lbs of dry cherry and oak boards for a warm fire tonight. They even brought up my rain jacket, which was left in the trail by the Old Pro Caretaker himself, yesterday.... Alan says he thinks of us on these cold wet nights, and then rolls over and turns the thermostat up on his electric blanket... Albie.

March 24 - 36 degrees inside and I am contemplating lighting a fire tonight. Earlier in the year I held steadfastly to the 32 degree mark as a determining factor, but have softened since then. What would my nine predecessors say? And what about H.D. Thoreau, who said that the luxurious are not simply kept warm, but unnaturally hot?... Perhaps I'll use Walden to light the stove and ignore the ghost of Henry.-- Albie.

March 28 - Ten years of winter caretakers!-- Bill Arnold.

March 28 - ...This makes then tenth anniversary of the Annual Spring Gray Knob Caretaker's Party, and I find it hard to believe... the trail was icy but our spirits were strong. On to Alaska.-- Diane Holmes.

April 4 - Juncos are back, the spring is flowing well, most of the snow has gone, and my motorcyle 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... I'm moving on to bigger mountains but certainly not better. Gray Knob is my truest love. Take Care, Albie.

A-Lone
"Most people don't understand why I chose to be alone. They don't understand that being alone is not the same as being lonely. Too bad. They will never understand the joy of being alone, only the fear of being lonely." -- B. Weller.

Quote of the Day:
Caretaker: "Where are you going today?"
Answer: "I don't know-- I never think much or have any good ideas, so I just follow and get along well that way."


April 7 - ...We were fortunate enough to meet two of the White Mountain's finest caretakers, Albie and Cam. Albie had been here since September and seemed to fit into the environment like this cabin fits into Gray Knob. I could see and feel his sadness at leaving... The caretakers here never give you the feeling that you are a guest, just part of the large Gray Knob family...-- Dave Belager, Oxford CT.

April 30 - Moose tracks right outside the cabin this morning. Just stretching out on a fine spring day, I guess.-- Cam.

June 3 - Just passing through on a day hike. Stopped in at the Perch and the tent platforms I built six years ago in celebration of Ben Campbell's life. I rebuilt a couple of pillars in the corners... it's great to see the new Log Cabin and hear plans for a revitalized Perch. I really admire the volunteer spirit in the RMC...-- Allan Doyle.

June 4 - Jack Stewart, RMC, checking trails. Up to Crag and over to Perch and down via Log Cabin.

June 5 - Back again. I'll never forget my car keys up here again. Down, up and down Lowe's Path in one day is a bit much. Saw moose and deer tracks lower on Lowe's today... nice to know there's some wildlife left in the wilds (besides the two legged kind).-- Steve Weber, Gray Knob Caretaker.

June 25 - Merry Christmas! 32 degrees, snow flurries, rime ice... huddling around Coleman lantern to stay warm... hope July is a little warmer, please. One consolation, though: no black flies! -- Caretaker.

June 29 - Good Lord-- we're under attack! Within seconds, the ground is covered with 1/4" of hail. Gray Knob is being pelted on a cosmic scale! Lightning, thunder. Thunderstorm of major proportions-- the weather has gone beserk! Temp dropped at least 15 degrees, down to 40. Worst weather in America-- you bet!-- Caretaker.

July 13 - With dry socks upon my feet I am much more able to reflect upon the frantic journey which took place last night. Miserable. A good word. Miserable truly depicts the weather induced slipperyness we encountered as we made our way to the Perch-- only to find an already crowded shelter. ".7" the sign said-- "Gray Knob". At 7:30 pm, wet throughout, Gray Knob and the ".7" did not inspire great visions of comfort, but more an overriding sense of the meaning of fate. The warmth encountered by walking through the Gray Knob door overwhelmed us... After learning that the Knob warmed the bodies of countless others for near 70 years, we felt a grand sense of gratitude for the contributions each has made towards the form of Gray Knob today. Now, warm and rested, we will once again test the White Mountain fate.-- Boston 3.

July 15 - Back to "The Knob" and Crag for the first time in 19 years-- time has not changed the ambience or the mountain much... I had two great summers here back in the swinging 60's and I'm glad to see the old place again...hope it won't be as long next time-- Dave Nichols, Gray Knob '66, '67. Fort Myers, Florida.

July 16 - A rare and wonderful place, thanks to RMC, many good caretakers, and the Hincks family, whose last member Caroline T. Hincks died this past April 8... Ed Blatchford.

July 22 - ... Have been on Gray Knob for Brad Washburn, surveying and setting a bench mark. Gray Knob above here is exactly 4481' above sea level. The survey station is marked by a stainless steel pin... good luck-- Casey Hodgdon.

August 20 - Glad to be back again... John Denton, Crag Camp '55

August 28 - It seems odd to me that over the last five days no mention has been made in this record of the man who died Sunday on Madison. We've spoken of it, but I think few have grasped the significance. This is, after all, the month of August. You know-- August-- warm, sunny days, blueberry bushes ready to graze upon, and even a warm summer afternoon rain. Yet on Sunday a man in a T-shirt and shorts wandered from his two companions, got lost, and died of exposure from the cold wind, snow and ice.
We can all blame his wandering off for this. That was his mistake, and we're too smart to make the same error, aren't we? Then again, look back through the entries for this summer. The weather has been poor, as it always is. How many people have written about how cold, wet and tired they were when they got here?...
Even in the summer, we've got to understand that these mountains are killers. There will always be goofers who will not comprehend this, so let's try and wise them up before they go above treeline in the wind and rain and fog.... Above all, let's be thankful for the RMC huts and respect them, goofers and mountaineers alike.-- Dave Makris.

September 3 - Back to the 'Knob for the duration. Gettin' settled in. Cinnamon, "the knob cat," formerly "the Crag Creature" will help make this a mouse-free dwelling. Glad to be back, after six weeks at Crag....time to start winterizing the cabin and cutting and lugging and splitting and stacking wood. With luck, we'll have electric lights here this winter. Look out Knob, here comes the 21st century! Should we go for satellite TV? ...maybe that is a little bit too far.-- Swebco (Steve Weber)

September 13 - ... fall foliage a week and a half early, with yellow birches far below in evergreen gullies and ravines glowing in the sun. A fairly stiff west wind that pushed away the humidity of the past two days, and temperature in the 40's and 50's. Someone turned the air conditioner on full blast atop Mount Adams. Late in the day clouds began to build up on the northern and western horizon and a rain squall passed through about 7 pm. The next morning at Gray Knob was fog and 28 degrees, with frost coating the trees. Full house at both Crag Camp and Gray Knob.-- Fred Fenger, Boston.

September 16 - Surprise! First major snow of the season! 4" and still coming down... not at all ready for this yet. Did I miss a month or two somewhere? --Swebco.

September 18 - The Perch has been reworked for your hiking and camping enjoyment. The shelter has been re-roofed (no leaks), refloored and straightened out (more or less). Joe and Jack did a super job, as is their trademark.... Also, tent platforms were reinforced and re-leveled as an extra bonus.
Thanks Joe and Jack for a job well done.-- Swebco.

September 18 - The new Gray Knob electrical system is now in partial operation with the acquisition of a 46 amp hour battery and a gas powered battery charger... Courtesy of Lighting Productions Inc.

September 21 - Day of late starts and slow motion due to an evening of high spirits (there's a double entendre in there somewhere). Small rodent escaped the flashing jaws of death (Cinnamon)... Back to the concrete wilderness to be threatened by angry herds of people. Yet, the days pass quicker knowing that fog shrowded Gray Knob sits content in its new found electric splendor. Have a pleasant winter, Steve. May the camp groups be lost in fog and end up in New Jersey.-- Craig.

October 5 - 7:00 pm, light snow flurries coming down. Treeline iced over, winter setting in again after a short reprieve in late September. I wonder if that was Indian Summer? Got maybe 1/2 of my wood in, good start but still a lot of work to go. Cuttin', Luggin', Splittin' and Stackin'! Winter is a-comin'! (And it's coming much too fast!) --Swebco.

P.S. Thanks to the inventor of the wedge! Fall contest: pick the day of the first wood fire and win free heat!


October 17 - And here I thought Goofer season was over--- three people show up, dressed for death (all cotton clothes), no stove and asking, "where can we have a fire to cook out food and keep warm?" No place, I say. So I cook their food, hook up the wood stove, and still they leave their trash. Well, thanks, the trash man comes up Thursday. Leave the trash at the curb.
It just goes to show, goofer season is never over. There will always be people who wander up here who are ill prepared to deal with the weather or other emergencies. Cheap equipment and cotton clothes can kill you up here. Some learn, some don't. It is amazing more people don't die up here... Swept the chimney and cleaned the pipes, hope it helps reduce the fire hazard. Fired up the stove for a test run, works pretty good-- no leaks. Hope I don't need it much for a couple of weeks-- still have a lot of wood to get. -- Swebco.

October 21 - The Gray Knob electrical system continues to grow. Today I added several more lights in strategic locations, also an improved directional swivel mount. Cabin blaster and two-way radio area also connected to primary batteries. Next, lights are to be installed upstairs in the loft.-- Swebco.

November 13 - 3:00 pm, 2 " of fresh powder outside, temperature of -2 degrees and dropping, hit -10 degrees for low. Here we go----

November 20, 21 - First major dumping of the season. Over 12" of snow and still coming down. Truly formidable snow drifts. Time to get snowshoes? 18" final total.

November 23 - Hey, I've been here six months now!-- Swebco.

December 5 - To my dad James Boulette the first day was a little ruff (sic). I know you had to push a little harder but I understand. I am having fun I am glad I came with you. Shane Boulette.

December 7 - Fifth consecutive day winds on Mt. Washington have exceeded 100 mph...Mighty breezy here too. Snowing also.

December 8 - Winds stopped, got 3" of new snow. -10 outside. Burr.

December 13 - 2" dusting, -14 degrees this morning, massive ice floe outside door.

1987

January 4 - It's all over, the crowds are gone, once again the Knob is peaceful. 24" Northeaster sure was fun. Mega-snow out there now.-- Swebco.

January 8 - Cold out today-- 0 degrees-- coldest in a while... The snow is getting DEEP! There must be 4'-5' of snow in most places-- drifts over your head in others. I'm going to be walking on top of trees real soon. Time to dig out the window again.-- Swebco.

January 15 - January thaw, sort of. 40 degrees in the valley, drizzle and freezing rain-- not a great day to do the round trip for supplies. But it's got to be done.... Finally recovered from "Deadly Flu Virus 'B'." Almost feel normal again, can't wait to get type "C". This time I'm prepared-- a large bottle of vitamin C pills. By the way, I had a birthday the other day, now being an amazing 34, I just might be the oldest Gray Knob caretaker. And after a day like today, I feel every minute of those years. And after almost eight months and four more to go, what the hell am I doing up here anyway? Well, it beats working for a living and I do see some amazing weather and some weird people of all kinds! But all of good character (well, the vast majority). So that's that and good night.-- Swebco.

January 18 - Had 27 people trample the trail this weekend. What a showing! 5 below zero last night, but 60 degrees downstairs. Amazing, the heat 17 people produce.... Swebco.

January 20 - Fine day for a cruise above treeline, went to Madison hut. Yes, it's still there intact. Played on the snow fields. All in all a nice day.

January 22 - The wind's a-blowin' and the snow's a-driftin' as the second real whopper of a storm racks the knob. Should get a good two feet tonight and tomorrow....

January 26 - Went above zero for the first time in three days. But not for long. -6 and dropping now.

January 30 - Fourth snowiest month on record ever.

February 3 - ...16 degrees, highest it's been since early November....

February 4 - Tried to find the Perch Path today, but could not find it. Snow drifted on top of trees. Fifty foot visability with blowing snow made landmarks impossible to find and trail difficult to follow.

February 5 - Lovely skiing up the Airline, Shortline, Randolph Path and Spur Trail. A highly recommended novice trail...Who says you can't ski the backcountry in the East? -- Jeff Leich, John Barley and John Halupowski.

February 8 - The sport of the week? "Bum-bogganing" down the Spur Trail. Proper sliding pants are the key.-- B.D.

February 15 - What a crowd! 42 people in the RMC hut system last night-- showed the Gray Knob video to the crowd last night (this is a high tech zenith for Gray Knob)... there was miraculously enough room for everyone... coldest weekend of the year, -25 or so both nights....-- Vulgarian Ramblers Lethargy Group, Mike Bromberg, Mason NH and Tom Houghtby, Somerville MA.

February 17 - Thanks to the five guys who lugged 50 lbs of hard wood up here-- Swebco.

February 24 - Old Farmer's Almanac completely wrong all month...-- Swebco.

March 21 - The snow off the Quay is up to my armpits. The trail has filled in three times since my original effort this morning.-- JD/ sub caretaker.

March 22 - A low key Spring party-- most snow I've ever seen-- Mike and Kathy Johnson, Mike Pelchat, Cindy and Jeff Tirey, Jessica, Albie, Bill A., Steve Weber (caretaker).

March 22 - Eleven years of winter caretakers and Spring parties.-- Bill Arnold.

Official List of Winter Caretakers: 76-77: Mike Johnson, 77-78: Mike Pelchat, 78-79: Paul Flanagan/Mike Pratt, 79-80: Jeff Tirey, 80-81, 81-82: Pete Wallace, 82-83, 83-84: John Tremblay, 84-85: Phil Knight, 85-86: Albie Pokrob, 86-87: Steve Weber.


March 25 - Spring has sprung, time to run.
After ten blissful months on this mountain,
it's finally time to move on.
I don't know who will miss the place more,
me or the cat.
Thanks to the hundreds, or was that thousands
of people I've met and all the goodies I was
treated to.

And, of course, most importantly,
Thanks to the RMC for the paid vacation!
'til next time-- Steve (Swebco) May 23, 1986/March 23, 1987

March 25 - Back for yet another two months of fun. Sorry to have missed Steve, who was last seen tearing out of Lowe's parking lot with Florida as a destination....-- Albie.

April 1 - April Fools Day. 16 degrees and 13" of new snow. -- Albie.

April 9 - ... Only visitor this week was a Fisher cat. Saw tracks right up to the window yesterday, and caught a glimpse of him running down the Hincks today.-- Albie.

April 13 - Jeff Tirey spots deer tracks between Sam Adams and Adams 4.-- Albie.

May 14 - White throated sparrows are back. Moe spots a porcupine near the Quay. -- Albie

May 23 - 7:57 pm, "Iron Man" Farrell just walked through the door with a record pack of 96 beers, plus a half can of beef stew and a blanket...-- anonymous.

June 11 - Hey Albie-- What's the deal with all of these Thoreau quotes?...What you need are a few choice sayings from Doug's personal savior: Lt. Col. Oliver North!-- Doug Mayer.

June 13 - Randolph the Red returns... it's been too long. Another friend has passed along to another place. Bill Womble was a true Gray Knob personality. I'll always remember waking him up in the Caretaker's bed at 4:00 am after an epic hike up Thanksgiving night. His spirit will alway be here.... RMC Caretaker Emeritus Steven M. Chase.

June 13 - Caretaker gone to repel contra insurgent gunfire above treeline. Watch out for heavy artillery explosions.-- Caretaker. P.S. Also went down Hincks to post R.U.A. signs.

June 16 - Fatigue, mes jambes ont vieilli, je suis content d'etre ici...le "caretaker" est parti pour la nuit. Je serai seul. Je n'ai rien a faire. C'est merveilleux, je suis heureux.-- Alain Oullet.

July 2 - Beware! Hornets-- and I do mean big hornets, live in the summit marker on Jefferson.-- Sean, Caretaker.

July 16 - Outhouse at the Perch has got to be emptied! Just can't wait for you, Doug. I know it's going to break your heart.

(Later that same day:) Went to the Perch, saw my duty and I done it!-- Caretaker.


July 23 - Well, that ought to teach me! Went down yesterday and was supposed to be back last night. But because I had a few hundred beers and stopped at a friend's I didn't make it back 'til today when much to my surprise some (^*%$&^ camp group stayed last night and left me 15 pounds of THEIR garbage and left the cabin trashed, not to mention the door wide open. Well, I'm paying for it, 'cause I got to clean and carry out that garbage..... If you carry it in, then damn it carry it out.-- Sean Irlbacher, Gray Knob Caretaker.

July 24 - Well, it seems Doug remembers you. Not only that, but you were also careless enough to leave your camp's mailing address at the Log Cabin. Guess what? I'm going to send the fifteen pounds of garbage that you left parcel post right to the Camp Director.-- Caretaker.

July 28 - Hi there campers! I'm distressed to hear that stupid camp groups are still leaving trash around. But remember: "if camp groups are outlawed, only outlaws will leave trash in the privy."... Brian McD, x-ct and tc.

July 30 - Yesterday someone came into Gray Knob and broke into the caretaker's room and stole 55 dollars of the caretaker's personal money. All RMC camps money was brought to the treasurer. Needless to say, I am extremely disgusted at such actions...why don't all you trash leaving, money stealing *&%& go make reservations with the AMC hut system.... Sean Irlbacher, Gray Knob Caretaker.

July 31 - Death by hypothermia to all who steal from the RMC.-- Caretaker.

August 6 - It's been just a beautiful week with cool, dry air and clear nights. Only one person stayed here this week, an ex-Israeli soldier. He's heading all over America and off to South America. He served me some coffee from Israel with spices used by the Arabs who live there. He was most interesting and very friendly. It's people like that who make this job what it is: the best!-- Caretaker.

August 20 - 2pm. I was caretaker of Crag and Gray Knob 40 years ago this month!... I was last here in '83-- before that in '51. You guys come back here in 2027-- the RMC huts will still be here... Otis Pease, Dept. of History, University of Washington, Seattle.

August 25 - Gray Knob-- lots of memories of packing building supplies in the 1960's for the Knob. Cold day, 47 degrees at 12:23. Hiking in the Whites to get in shape for expedition to Makalu I- Nepal this fall. Samuel C. Phinney here too.-- Fred Phinney Jr., Randolph.

September 7 - This was a summer that I will never forget... Just to have the opportunity to be a summer caretaker is something to be proud about. Thanks to all the interesting people who helped make the experience all worthwhile.-- Caretaker.

September 13 - "Unit 91 this is unit 92, do you copy?" Caretaker receives call from Doug Mayer. After a summer at Crag Camp the valley scene must be getting to him by now. Hey Doug-- if you can't handle the traffic, get back to the woods."-- Caretaker.

September 14 - High winds and heavy rain last night. Today we have a thick fog and 50 degrees with more rain expected for later this afternoon.-- Caretaker.

September 15 - Believe it or not, there was a young bull moose in Star Lake. Hopelessly lost, I think, but beautiful nonetheless.-- Mike.

September 26 - Alright! 26 degrees, rime ice and snow.-- Caretaker.

October 1 - ...The really cold weather is just around the corner. Wood cutting is going slow, but should have enough by the end of the month to make it to April....-- Caretaker.

Whoe'er thou art, go view the White Mountains
Their cloud cap't tops and crystal fountains;
Ascend and breathe the healthy mountain air,
and view the prospect spread so wide and fair,
Then view the Notch, my friend, return and tell,
Could you have spent your time and cash so well?
-- M.F.M. Waterford, Jr.


October 4 - Freezing rain and generally inclement weather. The famous tree with the "toilet" and "Crag Camp" sign has finally fallen down.-- Caretaker.

October 18 - After 22 years of hearing my grand-dad Earl describe how he came here over 80 years ago to build this cabin with the "Boston Little Wanderers" I'm finally here... I can just picture the little guys, orphans all, crawling all over this hollow, chopping trees and piling rocks. I made it Grand-dad!-- (no name)

October 26 - Saw a she bear with three cubs at the top of the rock slabs just below the Inlook Trail, while I was cleaning waterbars on the Brookside Trail. That's the second bear sighting I've had. The other was a single bear, about two years old, crossing the Amphibrach in September.-- Caretaker.

October 27 - Temperature in Berlin 16 degrees, temperature at Gray Knob 38 degrees. Sounds crazy, but it's true.-- Caretaker.

November 30 - Lots of people over the weekend. Bodies bivvied everywhere... First ice climb of the season in the Great Gully.... Caretaker.

1988

January 1 - Ten years ago a man came to Gray Knob... he endured, and survived nights of terror from mice... Mike Johnson, you are a legend....-- Caretaker.

February 17 - "Evening Magazine" got up at 4:00 am to climb Adams. Made the summit at 8:30 with great shooting on the way up. EMS Joe Lentini does it again.. Thanks for putting up with Hollywood at Gray Knob-- still the best place to stay in the Whites during the winter.-- Roy.

February 17 - The guides from EMS helped out TV crew haul 8,925 pounds of camera equipment, batteries, cables, etc. to the summit. I believe they need psychiatric attention.-- Barry Nolan.

March 8 - 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.

March 9 - Spring is in the air today. You can see it, feel it, smell it if you try. Warm winds from the south are making the trails here around Gray Knob wet and slushy and I love it. -- Caretaker.

March 21 - 22 degrees below zero, winds 70 mph gusting to 90. Wow, it's cold. -- Caretaker.

March 31 - Nine months and nine days have past and my stay is over. Never shall I forget the warm summer days, fall colors or below zero nights during my winter stay. Caretakers may come and go but Gray Knob will live forever in the hearts of those who love her most. Long live Gray Knob.-- Sean Irlbacher '87-'88.

April 8 - ...As always, it's so refreshing to return. In all my travels I haven't found a more peaceful or special spot...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. Last year at this time I skied from the summit of Adams to Gray Knob. Not this year, but there are still some snowfields which Cam nicely cut up on Tele's yesterday.-- Albie.

April 17 - One and one-half feet of snow fell over the last two days, which amounts to the second biggest storm of the winter, even if it is spring. -- Caretaker.

April 20 - 15 degrees and more snow. In five days Herman the Ermine has changed from pure white to half brown. Must have gotten into some Grecian Formula.-- Albie.

April 26 - Snow, snow and more snow all week. Mount Washington has totalled over 70 inches in the past 8 days. The valley is bare but the summits are buried.
Visited Crag for a few hours today and found bear prints beside mine as I returned. It was apparently above treeline, crossed the path about 100 yards from here and headed down through the woods. Hope he was just up for the view and not lunch!-- Albie.

May 1 - Monthly weather summary for April on Mount Washington:
Average snowfall for April: 29 inches
Previous record: 88 inches
This April: 110.9 inches

May 5 - Lots of snow-- skied from the door of Gray Knob to the summit of Mount Washington and back. -- Caretaker.

May 22 - 27 inside Gray Knob on Queen's Birthday weekend, 29 at Crag, 11 at the Perch. Most people I've had sleep inside the cabin in my four different years here...-- Albie.

June 6 - Nature's first green is gold
Her hardest hue to hold
Her early leaf's a flower
But only so an hour
Then leaf subsides to leaf
So Eden sank to grief
So dawn goes down today
Nothing gold can stay.
-- R. Frost

--Not even this 82 year old golden cabin can stay. The thought of this special place being torn down when I return next year makes me melancoly. A part of me will go with it...-- Albie.


August 30 - Caretakers have returned from fly-out in Edmands Col. Rescue went smoothly-- 18 people: RMC, AMC, State Park. Patient was fasting for five days at the col and fell off a cliff today after not eating since Friday. (Today is Tuesday.) RMC definitely made a difference: Medflight flew off with our litter, special sleeping bag and blankets! But at least we were able to keep the patient warm on a drizzly and cloudy day... As for other news, my Limmers self destructed today. May they rest in peace. I also said goodbye to Bill today. I will surely miss his voice on the radio.-- Caretaker.

September 5 - Day one: The Caretaker kills a mouse. He is shocked at how easily the roving rodent succumbed to a well-placed blow from his broom handle.

September 27 - Sitting here now, I find it hard to believe I don't live here or that I ever left this cabin. This place leaves a certain mark on its caretakers that will never go away. Can't wait until the new Gray Knob is born-- it will be nice to be warm up here for once. That I'm sure will be no argument from anybody.-- Swebco.

October 28 - We return once again to our favorite spot in all of the White Mountains, and once again found it to be a civilized respite from the hostile world outside. Thanks to the RMC.-- Dave Makris, Bill McDonald.

December 31 - Today the brave caretaker Keith and trusty sidekick Brian climbed into King Ravine and up the headwall. Conditions were rough-- cloudy and snowing with winds gusting to 40 knots. With the wind and snow blowing straight into their faces they struggled down Knowles Ridge to find a cabin filled with people. They said, "hi" and we said, "hi" and that was about all. But, the fire was lit (eventually) the faces were red with wine and the brave citizens set to, to celebrate New Year's Eve.-- Brian.

December 31-January 3 - ...Midnight (New Year's Eve) we all went out to the Quay and did the countdown and yelled "Happy New Year" to the valleys and mountains, then we raised the drinking age to 65. At 6 am I was up, out the door at 6:30-- got Madison, Adams and made it to Edmands Col. Too tired for Jefferson. One of the greater days in my life...-- Caretaker.

1989

January 24 - So what if the trail's not broken-- it's only a mile. How deep could it be, anyway?-- The Waist Waders.

March 18 - 13th annual Spring Party for the Winter Caretaker. Congratulations on another winter, well done Keith. Next year will be a whole new environment.-- Kathy Mitchell, Mike Johnson, Mike Pelchat, Jeff Tirey, Cindy Robertson (in absentia). Last party at the Old Gray Knob. We'll miss her.-- Bill Arnold, Chris Campbell, John Stevens, Doug Mayer, Swebco, Sean Irlbacher.

[Compiled by Doug Mayer]