Greenleaf is Hillary Step of the week. After some last minute cleaning we said good-bye to Dave (he stayed on to caretake) and headed down the Crawford Path (only the Mizpah Cut-Off still harbors snow). In the Notch we loaded our remaining fresh supplies (vegetables, cheese, sausage) from the Mizpah packhouse into the AMC van. We drove over to Lafayette Place and re-packed our packs with food and our now-dirty clothes. The hike up the Old Bridle Path does often feel as if it would be better completed astride a sure-footed horse. This is especially true at “The Agonies” the three bumps that precede the hut. However, with M&M’s and the promise of a good sunset driving us on we were at the hut by 3pm, and cleaning by 4.
Sitting right at treeline Greenleaf spends a good deal of the winter in a freezing, wind-driven fog. It is often the most mildewy hut, and this year was no exception. In the kitchen the black carpet was even growing on the floor. The stairs to the Greenleaf attic are more of a ladder, and the heavy kitchen pots and boxes of library books are stored upstairs for the winter. Passing these back down is a challenge, and Anastasia nearly became a cautionary tale for librarians when a moldy 70-lb box of books ripped in my hands and caught her in the chest. Fortunately, though she weighs only slightly more than the books Lynne was able to catch Ana from behind.
After this mishap I noticed the water heater's pilot had gone out. In the midst of trying to relight it I engulfed my entire head in flame. Seeing a ball of flame leap out at me was most surprising and it substantially pruned my left eyebrow, eyelashes and the hair on my left arm.
In the midst of all this excitement several former hutmasters and crew from past Greenleaf summers arrived. During their dinner introductions the hut crews often describe their future plans. However, as they move on every few summers the guests are left to wonder what has become of them.
Here is a brief update on the four of them. Alexandra “Biscuit” Bisset (photo, with Emmy) was the Hutmaster at Greenleaf in 2001. She worked at many other huts and her blond braids are familiar to perennial hut guests. After her hut career Biscuit went to pastry school at the French Culinary Institute in NYC. For the past six months she has been living in The Hague, Netherlands and working as a pastry chef. From personal experience I can tell you that she makes incredible things with butter, flour and sugar, including madeleine’s, tarts, cakes and petit fours.
Emmy McQuaid was the Hutmaster in 2003. She and her friend Naomi George (Greenleaf ’01) spent 10 months last year traveling around the world. In the fall they are both starting the post-baccalaureate pre-medical program at Bryn Mawr. Naomi currently works as a secretary at the Partner’s in Health office in Boston, and hopes to follow Paul Farmer’s work practicing medicine in developing countries.
Jess Milne was the Greenleaf Hutmaster in 2004. After the summer she moved to Houston, Texas and spent a year and a half working for a non-profit organization. This winter she returned to the Whites to caretake at the Zealand Falls hut. This spring she has been working for CC renovating the bunkrooms at Lakes of the Clouds, and opening Greenleaf.
Last summer’s Hutmaster Liza Knowles came back from traveling in South America to work on the Ream Team and caretake Greenleaf during May. With the Greenleaf Hutmasters from 2001, 2003, 2004 and 2005 all in the kitchen we had a big feast and fine sunset (photo).
In the morning we made fresh donuts (known as “D’s” in the huts). Then our guests departed and we redoubled our cleaning efforts. At each hut we swab the floors as if we were very clean pirates. Bandanas are put on, pants rolled up, and gallons of soapy water are sloshed across the floor. Maia and Selena manned the giant squeegee and wet/dry vacuum (luxuries the pirates did not have), while Lynne and Liza worked the deck brushes (photo). After getting the last dirty water with a clean, hot mop the floor is truly clean enough to eat off of.
We finished the last work as the sun was setting (photo). To the southwest storm clouds were coming in (photo), but the ridges and foothills of the Green Mountains in Vermont folded into the horizon in blues and purples (photo).