When I was hiking up to Galehead Hut and South Twin Mountain over the weekend, I ran into two members of the AMC Galehead Hut Crew (traditionally spelled “Croo”) who were packing out garbage and returning with a load of fresh food for hut guests. It’s really pretty impressive to see these guys on the trail, hauling up to 60 pounds of fresh and frozen food up a 4.6 mile path with nearly 2,500 feet of elevation gain. It’s also a great way to get in shape (see the AMC Hutman Diet Plan.)
The packboards themselves have a pretty no-nonsense design and are still made out of wood and canvas. Food is packed in boxes and lashed to them using rope. The shoulder straps are made out of leather, although some of them are padded and covered with duct tape. Surprisingly, hip belts are not used and the load is completely carried on the shoulders, which seems a bit antiquated to me. I suppose tradition is more important than common sense, or that it just doesn’t matter for people who do this all the time and are in shape!
When I met these two crew members on the trail on Saturday, I was curious to see if their packboards has any graffiti on them, something that I’d observed at the Zealand Hut a few weeks prior. The ones there had drawings on them and the names and initials of the crew members who’d used them in the past.
Their packboards didn’t have any graffiti like this written on them so the practice may not be that widespread or their packboards might just be newer. Observing and discovering these kinds of traditions is fun for an old history major like me, and there are probably a lot more traditions that AMC management is completely unaware of! If you know of any, please leave a comment below.