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View Full Version : The AMC in New Hampshire



Jack Tarlin
11-21-2002, 14:52
In case anyone's interested, there's a VERY lively discussion on the Appalachian Mountain Club's website regarding the Club's lodging options and policies in the White Mountains. Go to www.outdoors.org, then click on "Bulletin Boards"; then go to "Mountains and Molehills."
I'm sure some of you will be interested in this discussion and may wish to contribute, as it's certain that your comments WILL be read (and then most likely ignored) by someone at the Club. If you've ever had an opinion on this, now's the time to make it known.

Lone Wolf
11-21-2002, 14:59
Yup. I'm havin a lot of fun over there.

Blue Jay
12-26-2002, 14:08
In my humble opinion, if the AMC were truly interested in responsible use of the White Mountains, they would tear down their huts and build a few shelters with composting toilets. Other than thruhikers, use of the trails would drop more than half. All the rich Yuppies who volcano hike down to the hut on Washinton would go back to playing tennis. I do really like their camp in New Jersy, however. I got to Yogi a wedding there.

Skeemer
10-29-2003, 10:04
I don't mind sharing the Trail through the Whites with the day hikers and tourists. (I got some revenge by mooning the railroad) It is fantastic and everyone should enjoy, but I never understood why the AMC didn't build shelters and campsites designated for use by backpackers such as the thru-hiker. Or at least let trail organizations build and maintain sites that are free of charges like the rest of the AT. It does seem like commercialization has triumphed over providing a place for all to enjoy.

During my thru-hike when I arrived at Galehead Hut they were out of "work for stays. " They would not let me tent or sleep in the dining room...it was either pay the going rate for a bunk (which happened to be available) or hike on. It was too late to hike on so I had no choice as I wasn't confident of finding a tent site before dark. For me it was not the cost as much as the "lack of options"

Footslogger
10-29-2003, 12:36
I guess I was one of the lucky ones. I got work-for-stay at Zealand Falls and was allowed to sleep free on the picnic tables at Carter Notch. I avoided the rest of the huts.

It is a tad hard to understand, even with all the explanations given to me by the croo members, that there aren't some other provisions for thru-hikers in the Whites. One local even told me that they call the AMC the "Appalachain Money Club".

Been that way for a long time though and it doesn't appear that the AMC is interested in the plight of the thru-hiker so we just gotta adjust and adapt.

Lone Wolf
10-29-2003, 12:47
Thru-hikers ain't special. If one chooses to hike the whole AT, includiing all of the Whites, one needs to be creative. You're lucky they even do work-for-stays.

Sly
10-29-2003, 13:44
Next time I plan on stealthing my way through. F the Huts!

Sly
10-29-2003, 13:53
BTW, Not sure which topic on M and M's you're talking about Jack.

Peaks
10-29-2003, 17:56
Hut crews are all different. Some are much more thru hiker friendly than others. In fact, most are very thru hiker friendly. Just don't go in with a chip on your shoulder and expect special treatment just because of you are doing a thru-hike.

My advise is to talk with hikers going the other way and ask them about the crews up ahead. They will tell you which ones rock and which ones don't.

MOWGLI
10-29-2003, 18:27
Originally posted by Sly
BTW, Not sure which topic on M and M's you're talking about Jack.

Sly, Jack's original posting was from November 2002.

radar
10-29-2003, 22:50
I'm not sure why the hut system seems to tick off thru-hikers so much. I understand that there are pros and cons regarding the huts but almost all of those issues (whatever side you are on), have pretty much nothing to do with thru-hiking per se and everything to do with your perspective on backcountry "improvements" that the huts represent. So if you set aside all the issues that any old hiker (i.e. not just a thru-hiker) would have about the huts, you are basically left with thru-hikers complaining that the huts are too expensive.

Other than the Mizpah to Osgood section of the AT it is quite easy to arrange your hike, from Glencliff to Gorham, to sleep at a stealth site, tent site, shelter site, hostel or motel and avoid the huts all together (except maybe to fill up on water, which is free).

So any logistical complaints about arriving at a hut and not finding any cheap space to stay for the night (work for stay, dungeon, crash on the floor, or a cheap bunk because the croo was accomodating) is really just whining about poor planning on the hiker's part. I know this sounds harsh but if you know that you don't want to or can't afford to spend the money for a full stay at the huts then don't plan to arrive there at dusk and bitch and moan when that is your only option other than night hiking perhaps above treeline.

So that leaves the issue of paying for tent or shelter space ($8/night) at the non-hut fee sites. Simply put, I think that these areas get so much use that a small user fee is appropriate to help maintain them. I know that this is a completely different situation than thru-hikers have been accustomed to over the previous 1700 miles but there really are a lot of hikers in the Northeast and it is pretty easy to avoid most of the fee sites anyway with stealth or town options.

OK, I know this is getting long but I do need to go back and touch on the part of the trail thru the Whites that really has the fewest alternative options: Mizpah to Madison (really Osgood). This is the longest stretch of the trail above treeline and even a fast thru hiker is going to spend many hours on the exposed ridge. It doesn't take more than 60 minutes for the weather to change drastically in the Whites so you have to be prepared for that possibility.

If you have good weather it is a long day but certainly achievable to hike from Mizpah to Osgood tent site or even Pinkham if you are really moving. If that is too much or the weather changes you have only a few choices:
1) drop down a side trail to a shelter or stealth site (sucks because of elevation loss)
2) stay at Lakes or Madison (sucks because of the fee)
3) take the Cog or auto road down (sucks because of the fee and time)

I think that a change in hut policy would help in this section. One idea that might help would be to offer a "bunk only" rate (no meals) that is *only* available on a first-come first-serve basis. It should be a set rate, not one made up by the hut master and it might mean sleeping on the floor if there are no actual bunks available.

This would address the expense problem to a certain extent, at least it would mean that someone would only have to plan for *one* moderate night in either Lakes or Madison ($15-$25?) instead of $70.

Out of fairness, the AMC should also have a set, consistent policy regarding work for stay. It is quite frustrating to hear that on one night 8 thru-hikers got to stay and did little or no work while on the next night only two stayed and worked for three hours each.

Sorry about the long rant.

Israel
10-30-2003, 00:32
I won't get into the discussion of the role or place of the AMC, but as a two time thru hiker and former croo member (after my second hike) at Lakes I could give this little bit of advice....
It is amazing how much different croos will respond if you come in with the right attitude. Most of the croos are young and traveling types and will have genuine interest in your travels and they are more than glad to let you do some of the meanial tasks for work for stay. But I can tell you that when you come in with an attitude, unfortunately, you will be often times met back with an unhelpful attitude.

By far, one of the things that i saw that was the worse and no names will be mentioned, but what ever you do....If you are apposed to the AMC huts, think they are wrong, etc. either keep those thoughts to yourself while you use their facilities or elect to not patronize them crossing through the whites (not easy but possible). I can't tell you how amazed I was that thru hikers would come in, basically sit down at the croo dinner table and then proceed to literally bash the AMC for an hour. THere is nothing wrong with discussing forest use policy, but to take someones food and sit at their table and blast them for being there is rather akin to biting the hand that is feeding you. Very poor taste.

rickb
10-30-2003, 08:36
1) drop down a side trail to a shelter or stealth site (sucks because of elevation loss)

_____________________

That was the only part of your post I think I would take exception to. The hike over to the RMC (Randolph Mountain Club) sites is worthy-- like an extension of your trek through an extrodinary area. Its not like a straight no view down-hill trudge at all. Its a bonus. What's more, a planned stop at the Perch will give you another day to experience different weather in the Presidentials.

Is it Wolf who teases us about there being a great stealth site down the trail from Lakes of the Clouds Hut?

Rick B

Blue Jay
10-30-2003, 08:40
Radar, I like your idea about a bunk only fee but the AMC would not go for it. People would stop buying their expensive (but good) meals. Israel, I agree thruhikers on a work for stay should not "bite the hand that is feeding them". However, being harrassed by and harrassing thruhikers, like hauling 100 pounds up the mountain and finding frozen Yuppies, is a major part of the job of being a member of a Hut Croo. As others have said if you hate the AMC avoid the Huts. My major problem with the AMC is hypocricy. They claim to want to protect the Whites, while their Huts clearly promote over use.

rickb
10-30-2003, 08:47
"My major problem with the AMC is hypocricy. They claim to want to protect the Whites, while their Huts clearly promote over use."
says Blue Jay.

________________

Uh, My major problem with ALDHA and White Blaze.net is hypocracy. We claim to want to protect the TRAIL, while websites and Gatherings clearly promote over use.

JUST KIDDING! But there imay be a point in there somewhere.

Blue Jay
10-30-2003, 09:38
I know you were kidding, but the difference between the Northern NH section of the AT and the rest of the trail is that the Whites are over used by the AMC's own studies. The rest of the AT, for 10 months of the year, is almost completely empty. White Blaze does not promote over use because an outsider coming here would think that all hikers are gun toting, bear fearing, chlorine drinking, drunks (now I'm kidding). In order for White Blaze to be hypocritical, we would have to agree about something. Like that's going to happen.

radar
10-30-2003, 12:26
Blue Jay wondered if the AMC would ever go for a "bunk only" fee at the huts since they might loose some of their business.

If such a thing was *only* first-come, first-serve (i.e. walk-ins) then I don't think too many of the existing users are going to do that. Most folks using the huts have planned ahead quite a bit for the hike. I don't think they are going to wing it on the availability of accomodations. I could be wrong.

Kozmic Zian
02-18-2004, 11:36
I think it's mostly related to impact on the Trail. You won't see fire pits and trash all over the alpine region in NH. The big Huts along that section, kind of funnel all the hikers, day, section and thrus in to their respective areas, keeping the camping sprawl off of the fragile environment. Not a bad idea, for the Whites, and the AMC....I'm sure the best conservation experts in the region have hashed 'The Hut' situation and impact on the Trail over and over and have come up with the best solution for their respective system. [email protected]

Kozmic Zian
02-18-2004, 11:41
Yea.....Peaks. You got that right. I stayed at the Lonesome Hut, I think it was 50.00 a nite fee, for shoveling s*** in the enviro-composter for 2 1/2 hours....phewww. Talk about humbling.....think I cared after walking from GA.....S*** No! Dig in baby, gettin' there's all the fun. [email protected]

betic4lyf
09-13-2005, 20:38
i have worked repairng trails with the amc on washington and greylock, and i see certain benafits for what they do.

1. it gets more people on the trails. this means more peopl have a direct connection with the trails. the more poepl that love the outdoors, will vote withe their ballots and dollars acordingly.
2. it helps the amc raise money so that they can keep the trails from washing away, and also build cairns.
3. it lets the croo tell the hikers about not hiking on all the vegetatian.

frieden
09-14-2005, 11:54
I've never been to that area, so I can't give my opinion here, but as a thru hiker in planning, I'm very interested in the topic. Hiking with my service dog, I am not expecting to get a work-for-stay option anywhere along the AT. Mostly, we'll be in the tent. The huts are too expensive? How expensive? How difficult is it to tent in the Whites?

Jeff
09-14-2005, 12:33
Huts in the Whites this year are $77/day and includes dinner & breakfast.

Plenty of stelth tenting sites below treeline. Just practice leave no trace!!

frieden
09-14-2005, 13:16
Will do! Thanks!

rickb
09-14-2005, 13:37
I'm very interested in the topic. Hiking with my service dog, I am not expecting to get a work-for-stay option anywhere along the AT. Mostly, we'll be in the tent. The huts are too expensive? How expensive? How difficult is it to tent in the Whites?

In the Whites you have four choices:

1. Stay at a Hut
2. Camp legally
3. Camp illegally
4. Stay at a designated campsite/shelter

Logistically, there is no need whatsoever to stay at a hut, except possibly at Lakes of the Clouds which is in the middle of a long stretch above treeline. Even that can be avoided if you are reasonably fit (which as a thru hiker you will be) and plan your day in the Presidentials a day in advance. Topo Maps are always a good idea, but they are a REALLY good idea in the Whites.

If you don't feel compelled to camp above treeline or within 1/4 mile of a man made structure (Road, hut, tent platform, etc.) you need not camp illegally. As a thru hiker you will probably feel like you should be able to camp anywhere, but such is life in the Whites.

A designated campsite (tent plantforms and shelter) costs $8. They might be appreciated since flat tentsites in the woods (especially ones near water) might be hard to find where you would like them. Dogs of any sort are always permitted at the designated campsites, whether a service animal or not.

Skyline
09-14-2005, 14:09
I think that a change in hut policy would help in this section. One idea that might help would be to offer a "bunk only" rate (no meals) that is *only* available on a first-come first-serve basis. It should be a set rate, not one made up by the hut master and it might mean sleeping on the floor if there are no actual bunks available.

This would address the expense problem to a certain extent, at least it would mean that someone would only have to plan for *one* moderate night in either Lakes or Madison ($15-$25?) instead of $70.


Exactly the sort of thing I thought was a good idea on a recent AMC thread...though I called it a two-tiered rate structure. You described it better.

Kind of like the difference between "first class" and "coach" on Amtrak. "First class" you get your meals included, and better sleeping accommodations. "Coach" you buy your food or bring it on board with you, and get reclining seats to sleep in. The price difference is significant.

Blue Jay
09-14-2005, 20:05
Exactly the sort of thing I thought was a good idea on a recent AMC thread...though I called it a two-tiered rate structure. You described it better.

Kind of like the difference between "first class" and "coach" on Amtrak. "First class" you get your meals included, and better sleeping accommodations. "Coach" you buy your food or bring it on board with you, and get reclining seats to sleep in. The price difference is significant.

Actually if they stopped serving food altogether they would actually fulfill their charter and help to limit the over use of that very precious area.

Blue Jay
09-14-2005, 20:06
I've never been to that area, so I can't give my opinion here, but as a thru hiker in planning, I'm very interested in the topic. Hiking with my service dog, I am not expecting to get a work-for-stay option anywhere along the AT. Mostly, we'll be in the tent. The huts are too expensive? How expensive? How difficult is it to tent in the Whites?

You may have answered this some place else, but why do you have a service dog?

boarstone
09-14-2005, 20:52
Just a thought, after reading the posts on the issue of the huts of the AT going thru the Whites: I haven't experienced them, so just from my perspective on the readings: where does the AMC take over the use of the AT, seeing as how the AT volunteers made the trail, and then the AMC comes in and builds these HUTS so THEY can CHARGE the use of them...? my solution though not feasable. move the AT away from the AMC reach thru the Whites or arond them and charge them to BUILD or so called-- make improvements--then charge lease fees for each improvement they deem necessary per year) they seem to think are needed to the max.. the local land use commission of NH(if they have one) should be held liable for these not needed IMPROVEMENTS...there goes the "wilderness" experience!
:dance

Lone Wolf
09-14-2005, 20:54
The AT uses AMC trails which were there long before the AT was conceived.

frieden
09-14-2005, 20:58
Blue Jay, my service dog allows me to safely go out of the house, and does a number of things for me. If that sounds vague, it's because it is. I don't want to be rude, but I don't feel comfortable discussing things like that, with people I don't know. I hope you can understand. I went into a little more detail in hiking with dogs.

DavidNH
09-14-2005, 21:41
hello,

I just thought I would mention..that the Mountains and Molehills BB on the AMC website (www.outdoors.com (http://www.outdoors.com) then click on bulletin boards) has been closed by the AMC.

There was a very lively discussion about the AMC huts..and If I recall..I myself was the orignally poster (having been a little upset at the price 0f 80 bucks a night for bunk dinner and breakfast).

The AMC does do a good serice regarding edcation of ecology and LNT principles and perhaps they encourage conservation through exploration. But for sure they are out to make money first and formost. It costs now 50 bucks a year JUST to be a member.

I best stop here before I really get ranting. yeah I am a member myself..have been for years.. but I plan to let membership lapse. They truly do cater primarily to the upper class!

DavidNH

Lone Wolf
09-14-2005, 21:46
There are PLENTY of folks willing to pay the hut rates and annual dues. You won't be missed by the AMC.

rickb
09-14-2005, 21:57
$96 in 2006.

And they don't even put a mint on your pillow, much less turn down your bed at night.