• Daily Life at Pemi
  • Pemi History
  • Pemi Traditions
  • Trips

Pemi Hut Trips: Part One

From their earliest days as Juniors, Pemi campers take to the trails to experience the majesty, tranquility, and camaraderie of being out in the woods with their friends. For the younger campers, these trips most frequently consist of day hikes up nearby mountains such as Cube, Rattlesnake, or Black; an initial exposure to our overnight camping program via the Pemi Hill shelter; and two- and three-day trips to the Kinsmans, Osceola, and Mt. Moosilauke. As Pemi campers grow, however, so do the peaks they ascend. In the White Mountains, indeed in all of the northeast, it doesn’t get any higher or more challenging than Mount Washington. Pemi’s oldest campers have the opportunity to hike Washington, along with the other peaks in the Presidential and Franconia Ranges, via one of Pemi’s most cherished traditions: hut trips.

Pemi boys at Greenleaf

The Appalachian Mountain Club’s (AMC) high mountain huts are hotels in the sky. Hikers enjoy warm, fresh-cooked meals; real beds and blankets instead of tents and sleeping bags; and other amenities including outhouses and the chance to buy the famous hut t-shirts or hats. The huts stretch across the White Mountain National Forest, providing access – only by foot – to the most stunning peaks, vistas, and ridges that New England has to offer. For decades Pemi has been sending groups of Uppers and Seniors to a number of the most marquee of these huts, providing our oldest campers the chance to push themselves physically and mentally, but to then reap the rewards in style. Staying at an AMC hut comes with some real perks, on top of those mentioned above, like as much hot cocoa you can consume before your counselor cuts you off and sunsets that, dare we say it, rival the beauty of a sunset down Lower Baker Pond. If you’re up for it, your stay might even include a polar bear dip at 5,000 feet.

Looking south on the Franconia Ridge Trial towards Greenleaf Hut and the summit of Liberty.

Pemi’s hut trips are open only to our oldest campers. Uppers have the chance to hike to and stay at Greenleaf Hut, oftentimes as a whole-cabin activity. The group drives from camp to the Franconia Notch and hikes up the Old Bridle Path to Greenleaf, which sits 4,220 feet above sea level, on the shoulder of Mt. Lafayette. Upon arrival, groups check in and leave their gear in the shared bunkhouse they’ll call home for the night. Typically arriving with plenty of daylight left, they’ll explore the area around the hut before the “Croo” (more on them below) signals for dinner. While the menus vary, the quality remains. I have yet to hear of anyone who had a bad meal at an AMC hut. You can count on something hot and savory – perhaps a hearty stew, fresh baked bread, salad, and dessert – to warm you up for your night at high elevation.

After a Greenleaf dinner, the group heads out for one of the real treats of the experience: a quick hike up Lafayette to see the sunset. Grabbing a fleece and headlamp, boys and counselors bound a mile-ish up above 5,000 feet and gaze west towards Mount Cannon and the Kinsmans, where the sun dips into a ridge between them. It’s a view that’s hard to beat. Back at the hut after the short headlamp-assisted descent, boys settle in with more hot cocoa and look through the logbooks. Going back decades, these books contain entries from guests at the hut, including Pemi groups of yesteryear. Boys can look back and find entries from their counselors, older siblings, fathers and uncles, or even their directors. Next time you’re at Greenleaf, perhaps you can look back twenty years to the 2004 log and find the trip Kenny and I took together – me as a camper, he as the Upper 3 counselor!

Day two of the Greenleaf trip, along the Franconia Ridge Trail

The experience at the hut provides only a portion of the incredible nature of these trips; the hiking itself brings awe and beauty in spades. Leaving Greenleaf in the morning, boys again ascend Lafayette, taking in stunning 360º views of the White Mountains, including the aforementioned Kinsmans, the Twin-Guyot-Bond ridge, and the Pemigewasset Wilderness. They’ll continue along the Franconia Ridge, summiting Mts. Lincoln, Little Haystack, Liberty, and Flume before descending. Ridge hiking provides boys with an entirely different experience than anything they’ve done as younger campers. They’re spending extended time above tree line, exposed simultaneously to cinematic vistas and the unpredictable elements. It’s not uncommon to be up on a ridge and actually watch the outer limits of an approaching storm miles off in the distance. It’s a special sight to see!

Check back next week for a second installment on Pemi’s hut trips to learn about the highest peaks and toughest trails we tackle: the Presidential Range via Madison Spring and Lakes of the Clouds Huts!

– Pat Clare

You may enjoy these, as well

Johanna Zabawa – Assistant Director

I am excited to share the news that Johanna Zabawa has joined the directorial team ...

The Distance Swim

Generations of Pemi campers have swum their distance, helping to establish this camp tradition as ...

Pemi Hut Trips: Part Two

If you missed Part One of our hut trip series, focused on Greenleaf Hut, here ...

Cans from Campers Program Receives National Award

New Orleans, LA – February 6, 2024 Camp Pemigewassett is proud to announce that our Cans from Campers ...

Defining Photos of 2023

As we count down to the end of 2023, we want to take a moment to ...

Alumni News & Notes – Winter 2023

Greetings, Pemi Family! As we steadily march towards the end of an eventful 2023, I’m ...

Pemi West 2023

Pemi West provides former and new campers alike with the opportunity to hone their wilderness ...

Community Service & Engagement at Pemi

The Pemi experience provides innumerable opportunities for boys to have fun, try new activities, improve ...

2023 Newsletter #7

Greetings from Pemi! Hard as it is to believe, we’re well into the final ...

2023 Newsletter #6

Camp Pemi and our friends from Camp Tecumseh on Lake Winnipesaukee have engaged in a ...

2023 Newsletter #5

Hello from Wentworth! The second session of Pemi’s 116th summer continues to benefit from ...

2023 Newsletter #4

Greetings from sunny Wentworth! The sky is blue, the sun is shining, and it’s ...

2023 Newsletter #3

Hello from the shores of the expanded Lower Baker Pond! It’s been quite a ...

2023 Newsletter #2

Hello from the shores of Lower Baker Pond! On the heels of a wonderful celebration ...

2023 Newsletter #1

Greetings from Camp Pemigewassett! I’m thrilled to be sharing the first newsletter of the 2023 ...

2023 Pemi Staff

We’re under two days away from the opening of Pemi’s 116th summer! Our ...

Waiters & Camp Aides

As boys progress through their Pemi journey, the opportunities for new adventures and leadership increase. ...

Birthdays at Pemi

What could be better than getting to celebrate your birthday once a year, every year? ...

Reading After Taps

It should come as no surprise to anyone who’s ever been around boys aged 8...

2022-2023 Pemi Board Updates

Last fall, Pemi’s Board of Directors welcomed two new members and also saw the ...

Defining Photos of 2022

As 2022 draws to a close and winter begins to rear its head in earnest across ...

2022 16s Trip

In many ways, the 2022 Pemi West trip could be described as a homecoming. Our first ...

Bertha Hofstra Fauver – September 23, 1920 – October 1, 2022

We are saddened to share the news that Bertha Fauver died on October 1, just one ...

115th Reunion Newsletter!

After a hugely successful 2022 season, including record attendance at our third annual Family Camp, members ...

fireworks at Camp Pemi

Welcome back Johanna Zabawa!

I’m thrilled to share that Johanna Zabawa, a veteran staff member and great-granddaughter of ...

Karl Grafton See – October 2, 1970-September 9, 2022

Karl Grafton See, consummate Pemi boy, counselor, and lifelong friend, has died in Duxbury, MA ...

banner image newsletter 8

2022 Newsletter #8

Greetings from Camp Pemigewassett! I’m writing, sadly, not from the placid shores of Lower ...

2022 Newsletter #6

Good afternoon from yet another beautiful day in Wentworth, The weather here at Pemi continues ...