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  1. #41
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    There is a long stretch between "below tree line" before Mt. Washington and after Mt Madison. With all of the hikers out there- both thru and section and weekend- the stealth spots are hard to come by. There is a place where camping is possible at Madison, but they instead encourage people to hike down an alternate steep trail, even at night. They didn't want their guests to see the tents in the morning. Yes, they said that to me. Nobody wants to be catered to, but a reasonable distance between campsites is not too much to ask for. This particular area adds to the perception of the "pay up or die" feeling that MANY have about the AMC.


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  2. #42

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    Quote Originally Posted by BonBon View Post
    There is a long stretch between "below tree line" before Mt. Washington and after Mt Madison. With all of the hikers out there- both thru and section and weekend- the stealth spots are hard to come by.
    There ARE NO stealth spots between Washington and Madison - it's all above tree line. To camp up there is both illegal and foolish. That is just the nature of the terrain and the environment. Not only is Madison above tree line, there is no camping within 1/4 mile of a hut per Forest Service rule, so the remark that "they don't want guests to see tents" was a sarcastic one.

    How much damage can one person do? Not much, but when that one person is repeated 1000's of times, quite a lot. If they let you camp there, then everyone should be able to camp there and there lays the problem. One thing which can be said for the AMC, they do manage a very large number of people over the course of a year with minimal impact on the alpine tundra.

    Yes, it would be nice to have a reasonable distance between campsites and given the lack of places to put campsites they are as close together as reasonably possible. If you can't deal with the restrictions for this area, you shouldn't be here.
    Last edited by Slo-go'en; 11-04-2015 at 23:19.
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  3. #43
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    The Crew at Madison Hut told me to follow the Valley Way Trail down to a small site, big enough for one tent or follow it to the bottom to a campsite.
    "Chainsaw" GA-ME 2011

  4. #44
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    There are a few stealth options in the 3 miles before Lake of the cloud Hut. If you are not lucky enough to get one, you have a long hike ahead to get below tree line. We knew this and were planning our day accordingly. One of the guys I was hiking with had a knee just blow out after Mt Washington and it took us a very long time to get to Madison Hut. We had planned to hike over Mt Madison that night to the campsite 3 miles beyond Madison Hut. ( because we ARE aware of the restrictions and WERE trying to comply) But **** happens on the trail, like injuries. So when we got there at sunset, they told us they had a place where we could pitch our tent, but first they wanted us to hike down a side trail 1/2 mile to see if tent sites were available at a campsite. They said just go on down and come back if nothing is available. They didn't mention that the trail was extremely steep, rocky climbs down in places, pretty gnarly. And it was dark, pitch black. And the campsite was nowhere to be found. It turned out, we later learned, that the campsite was more than a mile from the hut. It was so dark we never found it. We passed a few people who also could not find it and they were hiking back up to,the hut to camp. We went down about 3 miles and finally found a spot flat enough, after 10pm, right off on a side trail, to pitch one tent and we all squeezed in.
    To be clear, we did not ask the hut folks to cater to us. We just asked if we could camp where they let people camp anyway. They sent us off with bad information in the dark when they could have just let us pitch our tent. And they were sort of dickish about it. On the reverse- if they can't figure out how to roll with situations that occur when people are hiking, like injured people who are not trying to suck on the AMC teat but just need to sleep, maybe they shouldn't apply for the hut jobs. What they did was irresponsible and served no one but them.


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  5. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by Don H View Post
    The Crew at Madison Hut told me to follow the Valley Way Trail down to a small site, big enough for one tent or follow it to the bottom to a campsite.
    It's really not that far from Madison Hut to Valley Way campsite. I'd say you could probably fit a number of tents in there. In the morning, you can walk up to the Hut and you might get free uneaten food, providing the two work-for-stay hikers haven't finished it off.

  6. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by BonBon View Post
    There are a few stealth options in the 3 miles before Lake of the cloud Hut. If you are not lucky enough to get one, you have a long hike ahead to get below tree line. We knew this and were planning our day accordingly.
    So you were planning to camp illegally?
    One of the guys I was hiking with had a knee just blow out after Mt Washington and it took us a very long time to get to Madison Hut. We had planned to hike over Mt Madison that night to the campsite 3 miles beyond Madison Hut. ( because we ARE aware of the restrictions and WERE trying to comply) But **** happens on the trail, like injuries.
    The Hut Croo can't advise hikers to pitch a tent where it is illegal to do so. One, it's illegal. Two, it then makes them liable if something happens because they could then claim AMC told them to do so. If it's a true emergency, then people need to do what they have to do. If injured, the decision to hike 5.4 miles from Mt. Washington to Madison with a hiker with an injured knee and no guaranty of accommodations at Madison wasn't well thought out. You could have descended from Mt. Washington via many other trails to closer camping areas below treeline. You likely could have got a van ride down on the shuttle, or on the Cog, or asked a private person, especially if the injured person was experiencing such difficulty hiking.

    As to complaints about the AMC business model: It's a non-profit organization. For 2014, 43% of AMC's $25M in revenues came from outdoor centers. They spent slightly more, 44% of that $25M, running those centers. Another part of its business involves oversight of large parts of the extensive trail system in the Whites. The AT is routed over several of these trails. Hiking the AT either as a thru or section hiker confers no special status. Hikers are hikers. The huts and campgrounds cannot service the number of hikers that use the trails. People should plan their hiking day so that they can camp where allowed (below treeline) if they do not want to reserve hut space. Many camp areas are first come first serve, and many charge a fee. Again, hikers need to plan accordingly. If people choose not to make reservations, they should expect to hike down below treeline to camp, and expect that finding a site off the trail will be difficult in the mountainous terrain of NH. It shouldn't then come as a shock.

    ALL OF THIS INFORMATION IS AVAILABLE EITHER FROM ATC OR AMC. It's on their websites. It's frequently discussed on WB and other hiking sites. It's detailed in the various thru-hiker guidebooks. It's written about in most thru-hiking books. It just isn't a secret by any stretch of the imagination. So if some prospective thru-hiker just throws on a pack one fine morning, departs Springer Mtn. and shows up 4 months later in NH complaining about the AMC, then they are quite simply not going to get a lot of sympathy from most people for failing to responsibly plan and educate themselves about their journey. They should take responsibility for knowing what they are doing. It's THEIR hike. They CHOSE to hike including everything that comes with that choice, and that includes the restrictions and limited camping options in the Whites and the associated costs of hiking.
    Last edited by 4eyedbuzzard; 11-05-2015 at 12:30.
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  7. #47

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    The Valley Way tent site is about 100 feet off the trail and is marked with a really obvious white sign at eye level, and is indeed 1/2 mile down the trail, but it might seem a lot farther due to the roughness of the trail and it being dark and your being tired. There are two large dirt tent pads there. You pretty much have to descend all the way to the valley to find a tent site after that.

    There is one tiny spot right on the Valley Way not far from the hut which is just big enough for an individual to cowboy camp since it's about 3x6 in size. For the 100th time, there is no camping within 1/4 mile of the hut. Period. To allow anyone to do so is breaking the law, which is why they are dickish about it, it's not suppose to happen at all.
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  8. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by BonBon View Post
    There are a few stealth options in the 3 miles before Lake of the cloud Hut. If you are not lucky enough to get one, you have a long hike ahead to get below tree line. We knew this and were planning our day accordingly. One of the guys I was hiking with had a knee just blow out after Mt Washington and it took us a very long time to get to Madison Hut. We had planned to hike over Mt Madison that night to the campsite 3 miles beyond Madison Hut. ( because we ARE aware of the restrictions and WERE trying to comply) But **** happens on the trail, like injuries. So when we got there at sunset, they told us they had a place where we could pitch our tent, but first they wanted us to hike down a side trail 1/2 mile to see if tent sites were available at a campsite. They said just go on down and come back if nothing is available. They didn't mention that the trail was extremely steep, rocky climbs down in places, pretty gnarly. And it was dark, pitch black. And the campsite was nowhere to be found. It turned out, we later learned, that the campsite was more than a mile from the hut. It was so dark we never found it. We passed a few people who also could not find it and they were hiking back up to,the hut to camp. We went down about 3 miles and finally found a spot flat enough, after 10pm, right off on a side trail, to pitch one tent and we all squeezed in.
    To be clear, we did not ask the hut folks to cater to us. We just asked if we could camp where they let people camp anyway. They sent us off with bad information in the dark when they could have just let us pitch our tent. And they were sort of dickish about it. On the reverse- if they can't figure out how to roll with situations that occur when people are hiking, like injured people who are not trying to suck on the AMC teat but just need to sleep, maybe they shouldn't apply for the hut jobs. What they did was irresponsible and served no one but them.


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    OR

    having an injured member in your hiking party and knowing you were headed into an area where camping was going to be problematic and if you didn't make your intended destination for the night you could have done the responsible thing and bailed on the hike at any of the dozen or side trails out you passed on your way to madison hut.

  9. #49
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    OMG relax brothers.
    A) Our plan was to hike and camp LEGALLY. We did the previous 1800 miles that way, so no reason to deviate at this point. (There are, however, published stealth spots in the Whites, that many hikers use. If you don't smoke pot, jaywalk, or roll through stop signs at lonely intersections, please feel free to judge).
    B) The side trails were not an obvious solution to the problem,- in fact, many of the casualties in the whites have occurred on these side trails-(according to the signs at the summit of Mt Washington)
    and C) Not every AT hiker- if fact, I would guess the VAST majority, do not carry detailed maps with every trail and bail out listed. Most of us rely on our AWOL or ATC guides. Judge us if you really feel you must, however, we were not whiney baby hikers. Just hikers that ran in to a bit of bad luck. Were we going to hit the SPOT for a knee injury? Hell no. (Imagine the fallout in cyberland from THAT) But I will say this- regardless of the "rules"- you know, the ones that make us "slaves" in our real lives, there is no rule or no reason to prevent one from simply being nice.
    It is very interesting that the "sages" of this online community resort to "if you can't handle this ..or that.. maybe you should not be hiking."... in so many threads. Is that really all you have to offer, with all of you years of experience? So many judgements and negative commentary. I say this: being new and fresh and not yet jaded- that is the best part of hiking. Let the sages whimper and whine and call foul from behind their keyboards.. Go out and hike and see for yourself what the trail can throw at you. You will figure it out, as we did. And just like in "real " life, sometimes we bitch about stuff we don't like.. Like about traffic for example. But we still drive, right?

  10. #50
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    NOT carrying maps especially in the white mtns. is absolutely foolish

  11. #51

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    How did this thread go from the Mohican Outdoor Center to getting through the Whites???

  12. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by deacon View Post
    how did this thread go from the mohican outdoor center to getting through the whites???
    a---m---c.

  13. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by Deacon View Post
    How did this thread go from the Mohican Outdoor Center to getting through the Whites???
    AMC hatred by THRU_HIKERS

  14. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by Deacon View Post
    How did this thread go from the Mohican Outdoor Center to getting through the Whites???
    Apparently hikers hate these things...

    Colorless green ideas sleep furiously.

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    Who stole the back end of your car?

  16. #56
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    Quote Originally Posted by BonBon View Post
    OMG relax brothers.
    A) Our plan was to hike and camp LEGALLY. We did the previous 1800 miles that way, so no reason to deviate at this point. (There are, however, published stealth spots in the Whites, that many hikers use. If you don't smoke pot, jaywalk, or roll through stop signs at lonely intersections, please feel free to judge).
    B) The side trails were not an obvious solution to the problem,- in fact, many of the casualties in the whites have occurred on these side trails-(according to the signs at the summit of Mt Washington)
    and C) Not every AT hiker- if fact, I would guess the VAST majority, do not carry detailed maps with every trail and bail out listed. Most of us rely on our AWOL or ATC guides. Judge us if you really feel you must, however, we were not whiney baby hikers. Just hikers that ran in to a bit of bad luck. Were we going to hit the SPOT for a knee injury? Hell no. (Imagine the fallout in cyberland from THAT) But I will say this- regardless of the "rules"- you know, the ones that make us "slaves" in our real lives, there is no rule or no reason to prevent one from simply being nice.
    It is very interesting that the "sages" of this online community resort to "if you can't handle this ..or that.. maybe you should not be hiking."... in so many threads. Is that really all you have to offer, with all of you years of experience? So many judgements and negative commentary. I say this: being new and fresh and not yet jaded- that is the best part of hiking. Let the sages whimper and whine and call foul from behind their keyboards.. Go out and hike and see for yourself what the trail can throw at you. You will figure it out, as we did. And just like in "real " life, sometimes we bitch about stuff we don't like.. Like about traffic for example. But we still drive, right?
    you were carrying a spot but no maps?

    its funny you talk about negativity when you had plenty of negativity to share, dont you think?

  17. #57
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slo-go'en View Post
    The Valley Way tent site is about 100 feet off the trail and is marked with a really obvious white sign at eye level, and is indeed 1/2 mile down the trail, but it might seem a lot farther due to the roughness of the trail and it being dark and your being tired. There are two large dirt tent pads there. You pretty much have to descend all the way to the valley to find a tent site after that.

    There is one tiny spot right on the Valley Way not far from the hut which is just big enough for an individual to cowboy camp since it's about 3x6 in size. For the 100th time, there is no camping within 1/4 mile of the hut. Period. To allow anyone to do so is breaking the law, which is why they are dickish about it, it's not suppose to happen at all.
    So in your opinion is the small 3X6 site on the VW trail a legal site?
    I don't know if it's 1/4 mile from the hut, it might be, and it seems to be below tree line, although just barely.
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  18. #58

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    Quote Originally Posted by Don H View Post
    So in your opinion is the small 3X6 site on the VW trail a legal site?
    I don't know if it's 1/4 mile from the hut, it might be, and it seems to be below tree line, although just barely.
    NO, it's not legal by any stretch of the imagination, but no doubt it's frequently used. It's simply too well defined not to be and is the only spot in the area where one could conceivably get away with illegally camping. You'd be wise to do the dark to dawn thing there to avoid notice and beg to use the restroom facilities at the hut in the morning, as there is no way you can bury your poop up there.
    Last edited by Slo-go'en; 11-09-2015 at 12:19.
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  19. #59

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    That so called site is in the shelter of the trees from the prevailing winds, it gets some use in winter when the winds are high up at Madison Col. I am pretty sure its below the Yellow USFS Danger sign but above the 1/4 mile RUA for the hut. In winter it can be dug down to form a platform. In the summer it is quite rocky, a foam pad would not do much to make it very comfortable lying down. Its definitely an emergency spot to hunker down rather than any semblance of place to set up a tent. Much better to head downslope about 10 to 15 minutes. The surrounding trees are pretty small, probably not suitable for hanging. Beyond it being off to the side of the trail I expect setting up camp in the middle of the trail would be just as suitable.

    A lot of the distance downhill to legal camping issue is psychological, folks frequently underestimate the time required to go from LOC to Madison and fixate on the hut as a goal. They wish and hope that they will get a spot in the hut and when they don't, they act like children and resist having to follow the rules. Unfortunately given the amount of thru and short term backpackers many with similar stories, AMC ends up being the bad guy. Hiking down any unknown trail after sunset with a sometimes marginal headlamp is challenge anytime and add in a poor attitude and its gets even more difficult. If the hiker disagrees with the hut crews assessment that their situation is not a valid emergency, the AMC will generally offer to contact NH F&G who most likely will suggest the same options as the hut crew. The reality is that is just about impossible to get lost on Valley Way even with marginal or no lighting so it all comes down to choice on the hikers part rather than an emergency. Contrary to popular belief getting from Madison Hut to below treeline on the Osgood trail is not as easy as some may think. It requires going up hill in very rocky conditions and its fairly easy to lose the trail plus very rocky exposed conditions from the summit down to treeline. Its far more difficult than heading down Valley Way.

    There are no issues with using the facilities at the hut in the AM other than waiting in line. Plenty of folks doing the presi traverse stop by the hut and use the facilities. BTW, the AMC owns the land under the hut unlike many of the other huts which are on FS land operating under special use permits. Madison Hut predates the WMNF by many years.

    To tie it back into the original Mohican Center post, I believe the Mohican Center is not owned by the AMC, it is leased from the federal government as part of the Delaware Water Gap or possibly from the National Park Service. Therefore they probably have a special operating permit and part of it most likely spells out what services if any the AMC are obligated to supply AT hikers. If someone wants to do the research they could probably bring it up during a re-permitting period whenever it comes up.

  20. #60
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    We stayed at the MOC is summer in our section hike of 625 miles. The charge was $40/person per night. The accommodations were fine except for a bunk not intended for anyone over 6 feet tall. However, we had 4 people in our group get very sick following their meal in the snack bar at the MOC (all 4 had the same meal). We reported this to the management but they truly seemed indifferent. Not a place I would rush back to, but it is an oasis in the middle of nowhere. Maybe our experience was the "bad" exception to the norm.

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