Since the hike to Madison three weeks ago (when I took this photo) I haven't done much hiking. I've been getting ready to change jobs and beginning the planning stage of a writing project. I've also been kinda waiting, like a fireman, with my pack packed, my hiking shoes by the door, for a call from Brian Fowler, geologist emeritus, so he and I can meet up on the summit of Mt. Washington and clamber around a little while I ask him detailed questions about the geology of the Whites. However, Brian has been busy making a new map (along with Thom Davis) of the surficial geology of the Presidential Range that's taken a lot of his time so the interview hasn't happened yet. The map project has been exilirating and Brian and Thom have new and startling conclusions about the last continental ice sheet, the Wisconsinan, and the probability that it did not cover the summit of Mt. Washington, but, instead, wrapped around the cone leaving the summit as a small island, a Nunitak. Brian and Thom have other geologic news as well. Hopefully I'll be able to meet with them soon.
The following are a set of photos of the rennovations at Madison Spring Hut during the past three weeks, or so. The above photo was taken on August 31st and progress up that point was some ground work and where you see the upside-down plastic pails is where the cement pilings were poured that will support the floor joists of the new kitchen and croo quarters of the hut.
This is what the hut looked like last Thursday or Friday (September 24th). The photo and the two below are courtesy of Keith Wehmeyer who is eking a living out of being a carpenter on the project. The frame will probably be sheathed by this time next week. The stacks of cedar shingles to the right of the hut hint at work to come. I know from putting shingles on Galehead (in 1999) while the blizzard is raging around you that it isn't a heck of a lot of fun.
This was the hut interior the day after closing taken from the dining room towards the old kitchen.
This is the last bit of the kitchen wall about to be toppled a few days later. The weather was cold and rainy during the first week of construction.
Jim "The Hair" Hamilton provided the next three photos although I don't know, Jim, if you took them. They show how much of the hut was taken down and the rush to get the deck down so the rest of the work can go forward. Just the two old bunk rooms and bath rooms remain. The bathrooms will be moved to the other end of the hut where you see the two steel tanks in all the photos. The new toilets will be waterless.
Keith wrote yesterday that "There was some roof sheathing going on yesterday when I left. I spent my week setting roof trusses and rafters over the new dinning room (old dinning room and kitchen). It looks great. The high ceiling and exposed rafters are going to be impressive.
"It was my first nice weather week up there, despite some high winds. I had sunrise hikes of Madison and JQ and a moonlit hike of Adams via Airline and down Lowes. Going down Lowes (Path) I saw below me what looked like a headlamp following a trajectory of Gulfside (Trail) heading north. I put the spotlight of my headlamp on it and it turned and faced me, two reflective eyes. It would keep going and then look at me, then keep going and look at me. I'm thinking it was a fox...is there anything else it could have been? The fall color are great."
You have to think a bit, when you've worked on the huts in the past and everything came up the mountain on a person's back or a donkey, how much helicopters have changed the way things are done and the ease they give in executing a difficult (given the location, the weather, etc) renovation like this. Check out Keith's website and watch the videos of the helicopter working: http://www.flickr.com/photos