, Newburyport, MA

Breaking News


July 19, 2013

Part of the 'croo'

Port woman spending summer working in the White Mountains

Newburyport’s Grace Pezzella has always been the adventurous sort.

An outdoors enthusiast and hiker most of her life, Pezzella was inspired by her parents to find herself outside as much as possible. Now she’s putting that lifestyle to the test all summer long as a member of the hut “croo” at the Lakes of the Clouds Hut on Mount Washington in New Hampshire.

“When I got there, we had to pack all of our belongings while in snow that was up to our waists,” Pezzella said. “On my first day, I was really stressed out, so my boss told me to take a break, and the mandatory break is sledding down the glacier, into the lake.”

Lakes of the Clouds and the seven other huts in the Appalachian Mountain Club’s network are currently celebrating 125 years of service to hikers on the Appalachian Trail.

Members of the croo are responsible for hauling up to an average of 70 pounds of supplies for the huts. The croo is also responsible for the general welfare of all the hikers, as well as anyone who just happens to stop in just below the mountain’s summit, which is 5,012 feet.

The croo also provides meals for all the guests, who can total up to 90 at Lakes of the Clouds, the biggest hut in the system.

“They’re like alpine lodges with full kitchens,” Pezzella said of the huts. “And run mostly on solar power.”

Of the approximately 200 new applicants for hut croo positions each year, only a select few are chosen. They work 11 days at a time with three days off that they can spend any way and anywhere they want, but most stay on the mountain.

“I think just a general love for the outdoors is pretty much the biggest prerequisite for the job,” Pezzella said. “We do a lot of on-the-job training. We are all required to get wilderness first aid certification before we can be hired. And, as far as packing is concerned, it’s just a sheer force of will.”

Text Only | Photo Reprints

Special Features
AP Video
Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kerry: No Deal Yet on 7-Day Gaza Truce Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow Gaza Residents Mourn Dead Amid Airstrikes Raw: Deadly Tornado Hits Virginia Campground Ohio State Marching Band Chief Fired After Probe Raw: Big Rig Stuck in Illinois Swamp Cumberbatch Brings 'Penguins' to Comic-Con Raw: Air Algerie Crash Site in Mali Power to Be Restored After Wash. Wildfire Crashed Air Algerie Plane Found in Mali Israel Mulls Ceasefire Amid Gaza Offensive In Case of Fire, Oxygen Masks for Pets Mobile App Gives Tour of Battle of Atlanta Sites
Special Features