The High Huts of the White Mountains (map is up top) are a series of eight mountain huts in the White Mountains, in the U.S. state of New Hampshire, owned and maintained by the AMC. They are positioned at intervals along the Appalachian Trail, generally separated by six to eight miles.
The huts are maintained by a team of five to nine caretakers – called the “croo” – during full-service season. Each crew member works for eleven days on, three days off. During the eleven working days, they must make four trips back down the mountain to get perishable food and other supplies, carrying heavy loads. At the beginning of each season, fuel and supplies are flown into the huts by helicopter.
Madison Spring Hut, built in 1888, is both the oldest hut site in the chain and the oldest hut site in the United States. The first overnight guests stayed in the winter of 1889, and in 1906 a fee was instituted to utilize the shelter — 50 cents per night. The original hut was expanded in that same year, as well as 1911, 1922, and 1929. In 1940, a fire — caused by the ignition of gasoline for the gasoline-electric power generator — destroyed much of the hut. The following year it was rebuilt and re-opened. It is the second highest hut in the chain, and sleeps the third highest number of guests. The hut is accessed most directly from the Valley Way Trail (from the Appalachia parking lot) and is generally considered the most difficult of the full-service huts to access, based on distance and elevation required to reach it. If you’ve ever done the hike, you’ll know that to be true. The Valley Way Trail is STEEP.