Winter and Hut Crews Return

Hello readers,

I returned from France to find that winter has reclaimed the higher ridges of the Whites. The summit of Mt. Washington has seen almost a foot of snow in the past few days and sub-zero windchills. Crossing the Atlantic yesterday the water was obscured by storm clouds all the way from the French coast to Cape Cod.

All this unsettled and stormy weather grounded the supply airlift. This means that today the hut crews will get to practice packing, as we carry canned tomatoes, 50lb. bags of flour, sugar and other non-perishables uphill along with all the fresh food. However, this is the time of the year in which hut crews are unstoppable locomotives of energy. They've just been released from weeks of final papers, exams and lectures. They will chug uphill with whatever is put in their pack, be it a turkey and a case of baked beans, or twenty pounds of bacon and six dozen eggs.

Such constructive energy is good to see. Many of the guests at the wedding I attended live in the Middle East and work as war correspondents and photographers (Ghaith Abdul-Ahad's remarkable writing and photographs can be seen here) in Iraq, Lebanon and Syria. Listening to their stories of tanks, machine-gun fights and kidnappings in the night gave me a renewed thankfulness for the peace we enjoy in the mountains.

I hope that all the New Englanders dry out this week, you can expect new postings over the weekend.