By Steve Jermanok
Longtime Boston Globe travel writer, Steve Jermanok, is fresh off the trails and blogging about his AMC Huts 125th anniversary commemorative hike.
Once you venture beyond Mizpah Springs Hut to Mount Pierce, you’re above treeline, walking through the Presidential Range on the historic Crawford Path ridge walk. You’re entirely exposed to the weather since there’s really nowhere to hide. Perhaps it’s this vulnerability that allows people to open up as individuals, sharing secrets and stories they wouldn’t normally share with others down below. Or maybe it’s simply the chance to join in the same adventure as your fellow backpackers, partaking in a memorable experience you’ll remember for years. Whatever the reason, folks are more apt to open up when hiking hut-to-hut. During the course of the week, we heard poignant stories about people overcoming breast cancer and recent divorces by meeting a new challenge like hiking up some of the 48 peaks that are over 4,000 feet in the White Mountains.
We shared sardines and travel stories with a couple from Beijing we met on the trail, went over the maps every day with two women from Quebec City who were on the exact same route as us, and yes, talked about our often harried lives with two women from Oxford and Sturbridge, Mass.
With communal dining every evening and morning at the long hut tables, it’s quite easy to meet new people. At breakfast at Lakes of the Clouds, we sat next to a grandmother and her granddaughter, not more than 6 years old, and it was one of the sweetest images I’ll remember. You’ll also meet folks in your bunks, tease the guy who snores all night and the one who has a bladder the size of a pea, waking up every hour to use the toilet. In the end, you’ll realize you have the best souvenir of all, friendship. You exchange addresses and hope to meet again on another trail, another hut, another experience to share together.
Keep reading about Steve’s hut hiking adventures on his blog at ActiveTravels.