Every year during the first week of May, an elite group of experienced hut men and women ventures out to Mizpah, Greenleaf and Galehead to scrub, bleach, wash, sweep and "ream," the huts to prepare them for the summer season. This year, the crew of seven consisted of Gates Sanford, Taylor Burt, Amelia Harman, Dominique Dodge, Dave Weston, Jesse Billingham and myself. We have all worked in the huts for years and know what a well functioning, clean hut should look like. This experience and knowledge is important because upon our arrival to these huts, they looked far from how they should. For seven days, we were tasked with turning these cold and empty buildings into the classic AMC huts that we know and love.
A typical two day reaming of a hut starts with us arriving in the early afternoon, hungry and tired after a technical walk through high streams and deep snow, posting holes every other step for the last mile of trail. We walk into the hut to see a mountain of unorganized, labeled boxes covering the dinning room tables from the airlift the week before and feel slightly overwhelmed knowing the amount of work ahead of us. The AMC's Construction Crew is there taking the shutters off the windows, hooking up the water and making sure that all systems are in working condition. After finding a bunk for the next two nights and a snack of peanut M&M's and Ruby Red Grapefruit juice, we tackle the attic and kitchen simultaneously.
Half of the crew starts moving the dishes, pots, pans, cooking essentials, library books, guest logs, cleaning supplies and miscellaneous boxes out of the attic where everything is double bagged in trash bags to stay clean and dry over the winter. The attic is then scrubbed, floor to ceiling so that all of the food currently on the dinning room tables can be organized and stored for the summer. While this is happening, the crew in the empty kitchen is scrubbing and preparing to receive and organize all of the supplies that are sitting in limbo somewhere between the attic and kitchen. What comes next is, scrubbing and organizing of the bunk rooms, dining room, library, bathroom, crew room and basement. Posters and displays are hung, pillows are fluffed and blankets folded, retail items are inventoried and stored behind the desk and then the caretaker is left to finish the remaining work as the Ream Team moves on to the next hut.
As could be expected in early May, the weather did not cooperate this year but, spirits were high as we all knew that the summer season was just around the corner. Stay tuned for new posts on summer training and opening week.