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Madison Spring Hut

Monday, August 11, 2014

A hut stay is always educational and entertaining. On a full night at Madison Spring Hut, you find 70 people from all walks of life relaxing from their long hike up the mountain. Families, friends and thru hikers all gather for a beautiful meal and to discuss their experience of hiking in.

There is also the six member hut croo who cook and care for the guests. Some of the most interesting and intelligent people that I know I met while staying in AMC huts. The Croo members are hard-working, motivated people who care about others and the environment. It is because of both the people and the mountains that I consider volunteering in the huts to be a great privilege. Understanding the expectations from hut to hut takes time and patience.

My life is enriched from the time I spend in the mountains and at the huts. Even with the best of intentions, communicating clearly with the croo can be confusing at times. I have received conflicting instructions, and instructions that when followed, put me at odds with Headquarters. All of a sudden, the simple plan laid out for me at the AMC Volunteers Training Weekend was not so easy to follow.

Here are three of the extras I have learned after two summers of volunteering in the huts:

Hiking in bad weather can be hard!. Hot, humid or rainy weather can slow your pace down incredibly. Give yourself as much time as possible for the hike.
Hiking under the weather is also hard. The storms of life often hit when least expected. If you unable to fulfill your volunteer stint, call Headquarters as soon as possible!
Talk with the boss! Find out who is in charge at the hut, and follow his or her instructions. Other croo members may have things for you to do, and 95% of the time, these instructions are in full agreement with the instructions of the Hut Master. When in doubt, ask the hut master yourself. Volunteers are in the huts to support the croo and help hikers have an enjoyable stay. There is usually time for a short mid morning hike during each stint. If you decide to go out for a hike, ask the Hut Master before going out.

People love a well organized presentation. My presentation on Aware of the Bear was well received with lots of questions after.

Happy trails!
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