Notes from a croo

It's now mid-July, which means that the summer is in full swing. So far, it has been an absolute pleasure and joy to have the opportunity to work at the brand new Madison Spring Hut.

Typical hut summers start by arriving at a hut which looks like it has been unused for an entire winter, with dirt collecting in all the small nooks and corners of the building. For the first few days, the croo is alone at the hut, has time to bond, and most importantly, scrub. Every single surface ends up getting scrubbed. However, the early season transformations at Madison this year were slightly different.

Upon our arrival, a vastly different hut greeted us. Chop saws and scaffolding stood where tables and benches should be. Sawdust covered everything, instead of soot and grime. Our first task; finish the hut. Surprisingly quickly, all the last details fell into place. We polyurethaned walls, painted trim, and oiled floors. And then the chopper came. 'Flies' as we call them are like Christmas. First, there's the early morning expectation of just sitting and waiting for that sound of helicopter blades off in the distance. Then the cargo nets come. Net after net filled with goodies. We finally got benches and tables. We got droves of canned goods, bags of flour, and even a case of candy! Slowly but surely, our summer was about to start. Then it all happened: June 2nd we finally served our first meal of the season, though we had 2 paying guests and approximately 15 construction crew members.

Since then, time has flown by. These days, guests fill up all of our bunks most nights of the week. Dinners are served to 52 hungry souls, and after breakfast we wish them luck with their daily adventures. Soups simmer all day, bread comes fresh out of the oven, and pancakes get flipped zen-like before breakfast is served. We (the croo) go on day hikes to visit our friends across the ridge and on ridges afar. The mountain cranberries flower and pass into fruiting.

In times like these, it's easy to realize that not too much has changed at Madison. We've got a beautiful new hut, but the heart and soul of the hut hasn't changed.

I would personally like to thank all of the people who have been important in the rebuild, including all the donors, the various departments of the AMC which have been working on the project, the project architects, and the construction crew. I would also like to especially thank all the guests we have had, as they have continued to embody the spirit of Madison, and without them, the hut would be incomplete.

Johannes Griesshammer
Sixth-season croo member