King Ravine at Sunset – View from Crag Camp Cabin
Last weekend I spent the night at Crag Camp Cabin, located on the north face of Mt Adams. For $13/night, this is one of the best kept secrets in the White Mountains. Maintained by the Randolph Mountain Club, Crag Camp is one of 4 cabins and shelters maintained by the RMC on Mt Madison, Mt Adams, and Mt Jefferson, the second, third, and fourth highest peaks in the White Mountains, known as the Northern Presidentials.
While you could pay $80+/night for a bunk bed at the nearby Madison Spring Hut maintained by the Appalachian Mountain Club, the crowd at Crag is a lot more fun and less constrained by formalities. You can also bring your scotch and dogs, if you're so inclined.
Here's a good video tour of the premises:
If you want some relative peace and quiet, weeknights are the best time to visit Crag Camp, although people still tend to crash pretty close to hiker's midnight, at 9pm, or when the sun goes down. When I was there on a Friday night, I got the back bedroom all to myself so I could saw away in peace without disturbing anyone.
Crag Camp is located nearby another RMC Cabin called Gray Knob which I hope to visit this summer, as well. To get to them, you need to climb about 3,300 feet of elevation in 3 Miles up Lowe's Path over 3 miles, one of the first trails developed in the Randolph area. This is a strenuous climb with or without a backpack, but it's quite a good way to sweat the toxins of civilization out of your system before you arrive.
Crag Camp and Gray Knob are both fairly primitive cabins, so there's no electricity or running water and you need to bring a stove, food, and a sleeping bag with you for the night. Lodging is also first come first serve. It costs $13 cash to stay per night, and if you don't bring your money with you, you will be banished to a lower elevation hut or open camp site which costs a $7 a night, payable by mail-in on the honor system.
When I was there in mid-June, Becca, the summer caretaker had just arrived at Crag Camp and we met as she was climbing up to the Mt Adams summit for the first time. It seems that being a caretaker at Crag Camp is a tradition in her family. She taught me more about the local wildlife, birds, and fauna over breakfast the next morning, than I've learned from anyone in a long time.
In addition to the awesome views and camaraderie at Crag Camp, there is an old pump organ in the cabin that was carried piece by piece up Mt Adams, by members of the RMC. This is apparently the third organ to grace the cabin. Unfortunately, the current organ is broken and under lock and key, but if you know anyone who can fix it, please send me their contact information. I think it would be a great testament to the club and the spirit of Crag Camp if the organ could play again.