A ten-year-old hears the siren call of Lonesome Lake Hut
Weâ€™re having a bluebird day on Lonesome Lake, surrounded by mountains; the Kinsmen to our west and the Franconia Ridge towering above the trees to the east. The huge hump of the Cannonball rises like a camelâ€™s back to the north, the mountainâ€™s ledges pour ice down toward the lake.
A scorching wind whips over the lake in relentless bursts, picking up the fine snow-ice and flinging it in tight swirls over the hard surface, like a white desert wind storm.
But the girl does not care. Sheâ€™s bundled tight and turns her back to the wind. This hike to the lake and then to Lonesome Lake Hut has been a long time in the making. Itâ€™s her first time to an AMC Hut, and her first time walking over a frozen lake, both experiences she has begged for and looked forward to. And now, the day after a major storm, the mountain Gods have given us a perfect morning. Itâ€™s cold, but not frigid. Small wispy clouds lend the lake basin a true mountain feel. And the trail up to Lonesome Lake is well broken out and mellow.
Iâ€™m not sure what sheâ€™s doing, but thereâ€™s no need for us to hurry. So I just lift my collar against the wind and sit down next to her, there in the middle of a lake, and enjoy the day.
â€œIce,â€ she shouts after a few moments. â€œI found the lake.â€
She brushes off all the snow and creates a one foot or so circle of pure milky blue ice. Then she lower her eye to the ice, a couple of inches above the surface.
â€œWhat are you looking for?â€ I ask.
â€œWater. How deep is the ice anyway.â€
I shrug. â€œOne, two feet,â€ I guess. â€œYou wonâ€™t be able to see the water below.â€
â€œWhoa, thatâ€™s deep.â€
Later, after she has fully explored the hut, she casts her verdict on these new surroundings.
Of the four-person bunkhouse: â€œWe could come back with Aaron, Ian and Meg and the four of us could stay in one room.â€
Of the outhouse: â€œI can use that, itâ€™s clean!â€
Of the hut kitchen: â€œThey cook here? Itâ€™s like a restaurant.â€
We sit together at the table, sipping tea and soup, devouring cheese slices and granola. The warm sun streams through the big windows, and I watch Janelle watch the hut master, an energetic young woman with a ski hat and large, blue sunglasses.
After a moment, she asks softly, â€œHow old do you have to be to work here?â€