With the exception of its name, the AMC is not as acronym-laden as, say, the US Military. However, for economy of speech we do have a few. One is "CC." Around Pinkham and the Huts the Club's full-time construction crew is known as CC. For instance, when the wind generator at a hut breaks the crew will say "We need CC" and members are described as "working on CC." People are recruited to join the crew from other departments after proving themselves capable of hard work and in possession of above average common sense.
Yesterday I hiked up to the Lonesome Lake hut to check out one of CC's latest projects. This southernmost hut was once run as a hot dog stand by the state. The current project is the latest of many revisions to the old building. In this case CC is enlarging the food storage space, known as the "mouseproof," and re-paneling and enlarging the crew room. The old crew quarters were the smallest in the hut system, and the six hut crew had to share a space about the size of a minivan. It is not an exaggeration to say that in the morning they had to stagger rolling out of their bunks to avoid squashing eachother.
As you can see in the photos CC pushed the wall of the hut out over what was the front porch, and built a new and improved porch in front of that. They roofed the porch with a translucent roofing material to allow more light into the crew quarters. As the project progresses they'll add benches in front of the porch, and in a future season possibly wrap the porch around the dining room of the building.
All this work has been accomplished in less than a month. CC works long days, and they work fast. In these photos you see Chris Rice and Angel Avila working. They are good examples of typical CC. During the '90's Chris was one of the best telemark ski racers in the world. He spent summers working on CC and winters racing in the US and Europe. When he began racing he and Dennis McIntosh (the CC foreman) made their own gates out of plastic water pipe recycled from hut building projects.
Angel "Airman" Avila spent 4 years in the Air Force (thus her nickname) before thru-hiking the AT. On her hike she did a work-for-stay at Mizpah hut, and returned to work at Galehead last summer. Growing up she competed in international martial arts competitions and in the Air Force she was an ace markswoman. There are those of us at Pinkham who are not unconvinced that she may be a spy of sorts.
As I write this I'm stuffing my pack and testing my headlamp before hiking up to Mizpah Springs hut in the dark. For the next week I'll be travelling between there, Greenleaf, and Galehead with a cleaning crew. We'll sweep up the winter dust, air out the bunkrooms, and fluff the pillows before the first self-service guests arrive next Friday.
When I return I'll post a full update of the week, with photos and trail conditions.
p.s. The Lonesome Lake Trail is clear of snow and ice all the way to the lakeshore. At that point the trail enters the shade under spruce trees and gets a bit snowy. This is likely the story across the Whites right now: dry trails where the sun has warmed the ground, and pockets of deep snow in the shade...