There are two ways to get food and supplies up to the Appalachian Mountain Club Hut in the White Mountains, by helicopter and on foot. Every May, each hut gets flown an average of 30,000 pounds of supplies including giant propane canisters, flour, soap, hot cocoa, tomato puree, sugar, and coffee, that will last through the summer season.
While helicopters have been used by the AMC to get supplies into the huts since the 1960’s, there is a weight limit of 800 pounds of supplies that can be transferred per flight, so it takes a lot of fights to move the necessary supplies.
For example, the 2009 airlift to Galehead Hut required 21 flights to move 16,800 pounds of food, including:
- 1,450 pounds of flour
- 300 pounds of hot cocoa
- 178 pounds of brown sugar
- 120 pounds of coffee
- and 14,752 pounds of other supplies
Prior to helicopters, mules trains and day laborers were used to haul spring supplies to the high mountain huts.
The remainder of each hut’s “fresh and frozen” supplies are hiked in twice weekly by hut “croo” members who pack in up to 80 pounds of vegetables, fruit, meat and cheese at a time on wooden packboards and hike out garbage and recyclables. It’s a hell of a way to get in shape.