We are at 5050 feet of altitude on the southern shoulder of Mount Washington, which means we have climbed some 2500 feet so far today. Perfectly placed is the Lakes of the Clouds hut, the highest and most visited of the eight Appalachian Mountain Club huts. We enter the building to take a well-earned break. We lower our jacket hoods and the first thing we notice is the stillness. It’s actually not that quiet or still, but compared to the roar of the wind outside, it’s positively like a monastery. Walks of hikers* are spread around the room, sitting on benches and lunching at wooden tables, reading brochures, buying sweatshirts, dozing, asking questions of the volunteer who keeps everything in order.
* Walks of hikers. Like congregations of alligators or quivers of cobras or flinks of cows. Y’know, walks of hikers.