I just wrapped my two months at Gray Knob cabin and I’m already looking forward to returning for another stint in the White Mountains (if the RMC will have me). I hope to experience each of the seasons in their entirety although I suspect autumn will always reign supreme in my view.
I almost didn’t come down before this last stint. When I woke on the morning of my day off, thick clouds surrounded the cabin and I thought nothing of it as I recorded the weather and suited up to head down. Just as I started on the trail a gap formed in the clouds revealing a glowing golden morning sun and blue skies scrubbed by a just-passed storm. Pink and purple halo hues lined the edges of the clouds and reflected in the soft fresh snow. I paused and debated returning to the cabin to get my camera but continued on, expecting it was just a sucker hole and the clouds would reclaim the view by the time I climbed back up. But it persisted. I stopped again but thought if I turned around I wouldn’t get out that day. Mike and Bill were scheduled to fill in and I opted to not rattle the plan.
It was an amazing long stint up at the cabin – nine days! My fresh veggies nearly lasted the whole time, and I saved the best for last, a nice piece of butternut squash. I baked it up in my stove-top oven and shared it with “Ben Here” – an Appalachian Trail (AT) through hiker who spent the previous blustery night in a small cave up on the ridge just below Adams 4.
Ben came into Grey Knob cabin at around 8am. I don’t usually get folks arriving at that time and after asking him how he’s doing, he admitted he’d had a rough night. AT hikers usually adopt trail nick-names of some sort. Either they’re given to them or they come up with them on their own. ‘Ben’ may well be his real first name, but it developed as he signed the shelter log books simply with the date and “Ben Here.”
My second week was a short one… only five days as that’s how the sub schedule worked out. It really was too short. It looks like my next stint will be upwards to 7 or 8 days on the mountain. Perfect.
I hiked back up with 40 pounds of gear under clear blue skies and a light rustling of leaves from the gentle breeze stirring the mountain air. In my pack was the rest of my personal equipment, mostly winter clothing as I prepare for the temperatures to drop. But about ten pounds of it was fresh vegetables and fruits to sustain me. I’ve never been a big fan of the freeze dried backpacking meals, and they’re crazy expensive. I think I fed myself for the week spending about Twenty Dollars.
The tranquility of the mountains cannot be matched. After my first week of living in the White Mountains of New Hampshire at Gray Knob Cabin, I’ve totally fallen in love with the simple life away from the hustle and bustle of more populated areas of the world. To get off the power grid and only have to worry about how not to burn the bottoms of my blueberry muffins puts things all into perspective. On clear days I make my way up to the rocky peaks above me and on stormy days I bundle up in my rain gear and go for walks in the driving rain and under the flashes of lightning and the cracks of thunder that echo off the surrounding slopes.
The Dickman family from Pennsylvania came to the Great Northwest looking for a unique adventure that would suit their wide age range of children. With two sets of twins, David and Laura at nine years old, Natalie holding the middle ground at twelve, and the two older twins Amy and Maria, sixteen years of age a piece, they needed something equally stimulating and unburdening for the older to support the younger.