Thursday, December 5, 2013
When the AMC Outdoors, the bimonthly magazine of the Appalachian Mountain Club, shows up in my mailbox, it's always a treat. Chock full of good stories, information and photos, it's easy to while away a few hours lost in the great outdoors from the comfort of the couch. Although when you thumb through the 35 or so pages of upcoming club trips (in small type), the couch is the last place you want to, or should, be.
Maine AMC members, shown standing atop Little Bigelow Mountain on a picture-perfect winter’s day, find this season invigorating and are always looking for new friends to join their most active chapter of the Appalachian Mountain Club.
Laura Flight photo
With 100,000 AMC members in 12 chapters ranging over a geographic expanse from Maine to Virginia, there's a lot going on, most of which is coordinated by volunteers. Our AMC chapter here in Maine, for example, has some 4,500 members and is the fastest growing in the entire club. Its calendar is always busy with a wealth of trips, workshops and programs. But if that isn't enough, or you would simply like to check out the activities and people of other chapters further afield, there's plenty to choose from. Adventurers from away are welcome.
Next door to Maine is an AMC chapter in New Hampshire. There are four chapters in Massachusetts, and one each in Rhode Island and Connecticut. Three chapters cover eastern New York, eastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey, and another is based in Washington D.C. The Boston chapter is the largest with 20,000 members. All AMC chapters combined offer an astounding 8,000 trips annually and in addition help maintain 1,700 miles of trails, including 350 miles of the Appalachian Trail.
Back to the beefy activities section of the latest issue of AMC Outdoors, this reader went perusing for things to do during the heart of the winter season between now and the end of March. Based upon all that I discovered, the old saying certainly applies: "So much to do, so little time." Here's a sampler.
GUIDED WORKSHOPS and TRIPS: Based out of the AMC's Joe Dodge Lodge or Highland Center in the White Mountains, learn winter digital photography or take a Wilderness First Aid or First Responder course. Try some easy snowshoe treks or tackle a few of the 4,000-foot peaks. At the AMC Maine Wilderness Lodges at Little Lyford and Gorman Chairback, join in a multiday lodge-to-lodge ski tour.
CHAPTER ACTIVITIES: Our own Maine AMC friends will be hiking and camping on Little Bigelow, cross-country skiing along the Maine Hut Trail, backpacking into a remote cabin in the Camden Hills, climbing Mount Agamenticus and much more.
With the New Hampshire chapter you can ski or snowshoe into Zealand Falls Hut, then hike the three peaks of the Bonds. Hike to the summit of Cabot, Pierce or Hedgehog. Hone your winter wilderness travel skills with introductory, intermediate and advanced workshops. Ski the famed Wildcat Valley Trail from the top of Wildcat to Jackson village.
Connect with the Boston folks for hikes to the White Mountain peaks of Garfield, Monroe, Moosilauke or Adams. There are also snowshoeing, cross-country skiing and downhill skiing excursions. Traverse the Wildcat Ridge above Pinkham Notch with the Narragansett chapter, and hike the snowy slopes of Mt. Tecumseh and Mt. Waumbek.
The Southeastern Massachusetts AMCers are featuring numerous hikes on Cape Cod and treks into several White Mountain huts. The Worcester group is planning multiple weekends at Shapleigh Bunkhouse in Crawford Notch for skiing and hiking. You can also step it up a few notches on their two-day, 21-mile ski traverse of the Pemigewasset Wilderness.
The Delaware Valley chapter enjoys outings to the Catskills and Adirondacks, as does the New York/New Jersey contingent. Or try some mild mid-Atlantic winter paddling. Each of the chapters lists a host of local and regional trips, so if the travel bug bites, pack the goods and go.
Carey Kish of Bowdoin is an AMC member and editor of the Maine Mountain Guide. You can reach him at: