Occasionally, the beauty of a single moment takes your breath away.
It only happens when you are least expecting it – as the light fades and dusk slowly seeps into the waking world, or a cloud momentarily dissolves before your eyes – as if gauze were being pulled apart, revealing a jagged, crumbling rock formation.
We collect these moments quietly. They remain unmediated, unshared – they manifest and disappear before we think of dissemination or documentation, before a tool comes between us and experience. They are ephemeral and ethereal; they are the true fabric of our lives.
We thought it was a thing of pure legend, until the lady working the front desk pointed the way.
Walking into lake of the Clouds Hut – one of the AMC’s lodging facilities in the White Mointains, and the only shelter on the south side of Mount Washington – we looked and smelled like wet dogs. We had descended Washington in icy sleet and hail, in clouds limiting our visibility to 10 feet, which would not dissipate dispute the 50 mph winds. It was 7pm, and we were soaked and frozen.
As the door closed behind us fully half of the room of guests at dinner, about 50 people, applauded. We were not laughing, it was no clown show.
As we asked for work for stay, we realized there were 10 northbounders ahead of us who had waiting out the weather since 4pm… No work for stay, no free coffee, no warm floor for us… It was off the the dungeon. For $10 per person we had the honor of sharing a part of history with Cow’s Head and Chulapa – no light, no heat, no mattresses on the plywood bunks, all nestled behind a 1 inch steel door amidst the rustic rough hewn stone walls.
The accommodations were iconic if not totally designed for comfort…