Duane Gould, Joe Dadey, and Jack Drury – The Adirondacks Hamlets to Huts Team
Joe and Jack: pioneers in a culture awakening to the environmental benefits of huts
In 2013 Joe Dadey and Jack Drury came up with the idea of a lodging and trails system connecting Adirondack hamlets to huts. I’ve been following their quest as something of a model planning process for hut systems.
The Byrne family has farmed in the Wicklow hills, along the Wicklow Way, for five generations. As a teen Sean helped out just down the road at a guest-house catering to hunters and fishermen on the beautiful Lough Dan. He also worked for his neighbors, the Guinness family, on their estate on the sublime Lough Tay. This farm boy gradually developed a gracious ease in working with people of all walks of life, a strong sense of the traditions of rural hospitality, deep knowledge of the land and the region, and a guiding commitment to preservation of the mountain uplands and way of life. Photo above of Sean and Theresa Byrne.
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.
Hut-to-hut at Mount Tahoma: a history and a love story
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.
How the Methow Valley become a world-class lodging and trails hub
By Sam Demas
With fabulous ski terrain and a great climate, Winthrop, WA on the east slope of the North Cascades, became a mecca for winter sports enthusiasts in the 1970’s. Attracted by the consistent snow cover, great climate, and stunning natural beauty, young people began to move into the area. So did people representing big alpine ski resorts, with ambitions to create a destination alpine ski resort and to profit from an attendant real estate boom. One could view the modern history of the Methow Valley as a tale of big alpine ski interests vs. environmentalists, with x-country ski enthusiasts, or “soft path” recreationists, as the “middle-path” saviors. While that’s part of it, it oversimplifies the story by painting a black and white picture of conflict and reaction. Instead, it seems that the values and visions of Methow Valley residents — old and new — gradually cohered and prevailed through a parallel effort to create a recreation hub and economic driver without turning Methow Valley into another Aspen.
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.
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”
Frederick “Fritz” Allen Benedict, 1914 – 1995, founded the 10th Mountain Division Hut in the early 1980’s. It has grown into the largest hut system in the USA. His vision, energy and experience were key ingredients in this remarkable story. It is in part a tale of a young man’s formative dreams coming after a lifetime of preparation.
[Louis Dawson has lived and studied the history of 10th Mountain Division and their website includes a history of the hut system and a separate history of the U.S. Army 10th Mountain Division (about which many books have been written). The following notes are intended to supplement Mr. Dawson’s history.]