A recent five-day walk in Morocco opened my eyes to a vital modern incarnation of ancient mountain hospitality: local families providing shelter to strangers. This is the story of Jamal Ait Lachegar, who is quietly realizing the dream of home-stays for walkers as a form of cultural exchange and preservation. And the story of a man whose work is building towards a larger dream: perhaps a future “Berber Trail”, possibly operated as part of the nascent International Appalachian Trail.
MTTA is a labor of love. Bob Brown loved back-country skiing and wondered why he had to travel to Colorado to ski hut-to-hut when they had such great terrain in Washington. He rallied others and they created the Mount Tahoma Trails Association (MTTA), an all-volunteer hut system. Judy Scavone came along, fell in love with the trail and hut system, became an inspirational volunteer, and she and Bob fell in love. This is the story of their shared passion for the outdoors and of their dedication to MTTA and to its remarkable corps of volunteers. The current strength and quality of MTTA is a testament to the work of this couple and their volunteer friends. Many people helped make MTTA what is today. This story is about two of them: Bob and Judy.
By Sam Demas and Charles Hickenbottom
This is a companion piece to history of the Methow Valley Trails system, which operates hand in glove with Rendezvous Huts and other businesses and organizations in the area. Together they maintain and operate a remarkable Nordic skiing trail and lodging system in the East Cascades, which is based on an unusually high degree of cooperation across the community.
High Hut Trail Guide Excerpts
Notes kindly compiled by Leyton Jump, Manager of High Hut, Mt. Tahoma Trails Association
The Mt. Tahoma Trails Association operates and manages for public use a year-round hut-to-hut trail system adjacent to the slopes of Mt. Rainier, offering trail users of differing skill levels and economic backgrounds a safe and inspirational backcountry experience. MTTA leadership maintains a functional working partnership with all stakeholders (MTTA members, trail users, volunteers, and our host land owners) based on mutual trust and honesty. Volunteers provide labor to achieve this mission.
[I met Paula Christen while visiting Methow Valley trails, where she works, and was taken with her work in illustrating a trail brochure and her lovely watercolors of huts and cabins. I requested the post below about these, see images following text!]
Paula Christen Watercolors —The Sa Teekh Wa trail painting series:
Trailside art is nothing new. Beautiful examples of sculpture or monuments are found in almost any city green space or park walk. Often however, the art doesn’t connect or relate to it’s surroundings. Nature just provided a nice “frame” for the creation.
INCREASES IN HUT USE REPORTED
Informal reports from the Appalachian Mountain Club Huts, 10th Mountain Division Huts, and San Juan Hut Systems indicate that demand for their services is strong and usage continues to increase. AMC and 10MD report occupancy rates are up approximately 4%-5% over last year. AMC huts are experiencing their third year in a row of record occupancy. they are on track to beat last years record of 43,000 visitors by up to 3,000 more visitors. AMC and SJH are thinking about how to meet the growing demand, and expansion plans are under consideration.
by Larry Anderson
The Long Trail “is a project that will be logically extended,” forester and conservationist Benton MacKaye prophesied in his pathbreaking October 1921 article, “An Appalachian Trail: A Project in Regional Planning,” which appeared in the Journal of the American Institute of Architects. “What the Green Mountains are to Vermont the Appalachians are to the eastern United States. What is suggested, therefore, is a ‘long trail’ over the full length of the Appalachian skyline.” When MacKaye first publicly broached his idea for the Appalachian Trail, he thus offered the then-uncompleted Long Trail as a model for his vision of “a series of recreational communities throughout the Appalachian chain of mountains from New England to Georgia, these to be connected by a walking trail.”
A father-daughter story
by Sam Demas
Joe Ryan built his huts to provide people an affordable backcountry journey to enjoy nature, to learn outdoor skills, and to benefit with health and healing. A generation later his vision is a reality — beyond what he had imagined — and continues to evolve in partnership with his daughter Kelly Ryan.
Following are three informative tributes to Joe Dodge from the AMC Archives, Dartmouth College, and the Boston Globe (see editors note below). While Joe was not technically the founder, he was the dynamo that expanded, organized, and shaped the huts into a system, and who took the huts to a whole new levels of operational effectiveness and hospitality. For more on Joe, see William Lowell Putnam’s affectionate, informal biography Joe Dodge: “One New Hampshire Institution”