Wed, Jun 19, 2013
The AMC Huts
If you are new to hiking or even just new to the White Mountain National Forest, you may not know that the Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC) owns and operates eight backcountry mountain cabins that are available for lodging throughout the summer. Some of the huts are easily accessible, some aren’t, and most are run by knowledgeable, dedicated crews that do a lot to make sure you are comfortable during your trek (some are self-service huts with caretakers).The huts are as follows:
The huts system is designed to allow hikers an easier way to travel the WMNF by allowing us to travel from hut to hut (which are spaced approximately a day’s hike apart) without packing all the gear required to make a similar trip. Ideally, you could hike from Lonesome Lake to Carter Notch carrying not much more than a daypack. We certainly don’t recommend this type of hiking since you could be caught in harsh weather, sustain an injury, or get lost and have nothing to protect yourself with, but theoretically it is possible.
Most of the huts have an on-duty staff of about four and reservations are required at all locations. There are bathrooms, coed bunkrooms, and a kitchen at all huts. The bunkrooms are communal, and in the case of the Madison Spring hut, bunks are stacked four tall (that’s about a 12-foot drop if you fall out of the top bunk!). The huts often have a small library of books (many related to hiking), a small "backcountry store" with essential items and souvenirs, and potable water (although at non-staffed huts like Carter Notch, water must be treated in Winter). There are no showers and there is no useable electricity (some huts use a generator for lighting only). The hut staff provides valuable weather information, maps, advice, education, and the occasional story to all comers who are interested. If you’re lucky they may even provide a little entertainment for the weary.
Prices vary for hut stays, from $23 per night for an AMC member at a self-service hut to $75 per night for a non-member at a full service hut. At all full service huts, you get dinner, a bunk with three wool blankets, all the water you can drink, and breakfast the next morning. At the self-service huts, you get water, a kitchen, and a bunk – you provide food and the ability to cook it.
For complete information, surf on over to the AMC web site: http://www.outdoors.org
Click here for a first hand Hike-NH.com account of our stay at the Madison Spring Hut!
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Chris Oberg & Robert Havasy