At the AMC 4000-Footer dinner and awards
ceremony in April, at which Muffin received her 4000-Footer award, I
decided to sign up to be an AMC volunteer trail adopter. There weren't a
lot of trails to choose from. However, a few wilderness trails had just
been added to list because the AMC had recently taken over their
maintenance from the Forest Service. From this group, I chose the Mt
Clinton Trail, partly because I had hiked a portion of it a few years ago,
but also because I could use Mizpah Springs Hut or the Naumann Tentsite as
a base from which to work.
My trailwork training wasn't scheduled until
September, and until then, I wasn't supposed to do any drainage
maintenance. I was just allowed to remove blowdowns and do a little
trimming, but only in accordance with wilderness guidelines, meaning that
I was only to remove blowdowns that were not easy to step over to walk
The hut wasn't yet open for the season, so I
brought my tent and planned to stay at the Naumann Tentsite. This was
actually a busy weekend at the huts because the weather had been stormy,
and the helicopters were rushing to deliver all of the summer supplies to
the huts, especially the tanks of propane (known to the AMC as propane
bombs). In addition, Mizpah was hosting the croos from all of the huts for
a final staff meeting before opening for the busy summer season.
I drove up in the morning, and then started up
the Crawford Path after lunch, intending to set up my tent and take a
quick hike to Mt Jackson before cooking supper. I figured I could then
begin my trail work early the next morning.
The trail was fairly wet. Even Gibb's Falls,
which are usually barely a trickle over the rocks, were cascading noisily
down the ravine. After passing the Mizpah Cutoff junction, I began to see
a few patches of snow on the ground. When I finally reached the campsite,
the tent platforms were covered with about an inch of wet slush. I had to
clear off a small area in which to set up my tent.
Hut sign near the Trailhead. This colorful sign is right above
the junction with the Crawford Connector.