Cold River Camp is a rustic, family style camp run by the Appalachian Mountain Club in the Evans Notch on the border between New Hampshire and Maine. It’s unique among the AMC lodging facilities because it’s managed entirely by volunteers, although there is paid croo (crew) on-site to cook and maintain the premises. Still all of the camp’s daily activities including daily guided hikes, paddling trips, visits to swimming holes, the kid’s naturalist program, and nightly entertainment are provided by trained and experienced volunteers.
Guests typically come for a week at a time and stay in cabins scattered throughout the woods surrounding a central building where meals are family style meals are served. There’s also a separate library building and social hall for dancing and nightly entertainment.
I discovered Cold River Camp last autumn when some friends and I hiked the Baldfaces and stayed at the self-service cabin that the camp rents in the off-season. While the camp was vacant then, the quirky guest cabins and location of the camp, nestled in stunning Evans Notch, captivated me.
I’ve stayed at other family style camps before and always had a fantastic time, forming life-long friendships with other guests. So I decided that I would try to get involved with Cold River Camp as a volunteer hiking guide since I already lead about a dozen trips a year and teach navigation for the Appalachian Mountain Club.
This summer, I’ll be on-staff at Cold River Camp working for a week as an apprentice hiking guide, despite the fact that I’m already a full leader for the Boston Chapter of the AMC and guide professionally in the White Mountains with Andrew Skurka. I’m easy about it; there are always hoops to jump through in any volunteer organization and I don’t have any issues going to the process they have in place.
As an apprentice leader, I’ll help plan and guide 4 hikes during the week I’m in residence and I’m responsible for giving a talk one evening to all of the guests as part of the nightly entertainment schedule. I get three days off, which I plan to for hiking and fishing, and 50% off room and board when I’m in residence. Fully qualified hiking leaders and naturalists get full room and board covered ($570/week), which is a nice perk for helping lead hikes and teach.
I really looking forward to participating in Cold River Camp this summer and plan to journal my experiences while I’m there, so stay tuned.