Tuesday, February 14, 2006

You can dance if you want to

"Project CLIMB," an outing club from Kearsarge Regional High School, stayed at Carter Notch this past weekend with about 35 students and 5 teachers/chaperones. Since they've been making trips to the huts in the winter for several years now, there was little need for me to supervise them as a caretaker: I was most helpful when I just stayed out of their way. The kitchen and dining room were considerably messier than usual this past weekend, to be sure, but when they left on Sunday morning, the place was spotless.

Besides being an easy group to host, they were also a lot of fun. One of the women had brought a fiddle, and on Saturday night, the students organized a contradance inside the hut. This past week was the coldest so far this winter, and temperatures in the Notch that night hovered around 0 degrees F, but between the woodstove and the dancing, we were wearing t-shirts indoors.

Every winter, caretakers hear the promise from certain guests who, huddled cold and sedentary by the woodstove on a winter night, promise that they'll pack up their own firewood to supplement our wood supply the next time they visit. After a year to think about it, they invariably opt to carry extra warm clothes instead. But future guests who dream of a 60 degree hut should forget about the woodstove and heed instead the example of Kearsarge RHS: a fiddle, skillfully used, will produce as much heat as a dozen stout logs.

This week's reading:
  • The Sot-Weed Factor by John Barth
  • Harper's, January 2006 issue, which I found in the box of games (?) on Friday and had read almost entirely by the next evening.

    Wildlife sightings this week
  • A pair of red foxes (vulpes vulpes) were flirting with each other around the hut on Monday afternoon. I watched them through the windows of the hut and had the chance to snap a few photos, which I will post here soon.
  • Our resident masked shrew (sorex sinereus), which has been a frequent sight inside the hut for the past few weeks, was only identified as such after it drowned in the dishwater buckets and was found frozen to the gray water screens on Saturday morning. It was a little bit sad to lose such a cute critter, especially since it never invaded my food supply but was always content to clean up crumbs on the floor, but hopefully the corpus will make a good snack for one of the local predators.

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