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Galehead Hut Blends the Best of the Old and New

Galehead under construction. Photo: AMC Construction CrewBlending the best of hut tradition and modern innovation, the new Galehead Hut opened to the public in June 2000. The completely rebuilt hut replaces the original Galehead, built in 1931-32, which was in need of repair and had become structurally tired. While repair of the original building was considered, another renovation would have meant replacing most of the building, without the benefit of redesign to meet modern needs and standards.

As one hut guest commented:

"The new Galehead Hut is a testament to the AMC’s care in planning for facilities and in keeping with sound backcountry policies and outdoor education."

Environmentally Friendly Systems
Perhaps most noteworthy in the new structure is the incorporation of composting toilets. This environmentally friendly system safely and efficiently handles human waste in the backcountry and yields rich humus that eventually can be returned to the soil. Composting toilets are also in use at Mizpah Spring, Carter Notch, and Lonesome Lake huts, along with Pinkham Notch Visitor Center.

As with all the other huts, Galehead includes alternative energy systems to lessen environmental impacts. Solar panels and a small, roof-mounted wind vane generate electricity for the hut's lighting, radios, refrigerators, and well-water pumps.

According to Paul Cunha, AMC Outdoor Program Centers Director, "[The AMC] has tried to keep the best of the traditional hut experience while incorporating modern improvements that make the new Galehead a model hut for the new century."

The new hut also complies with federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accessibility requirements. Christopher P. Williams Architects of Meredith, N.H., helped the club modify the hut's design to meet ADA guidelines.

Galehead's Unique Situation
Due to the hut's location at just under 4,000 feet and nearly five miles from the nearest trailhead, some unique engineering solutions were required. The difficulty of transporting materials to the remote site demanded the use of lightweight materials, which still had to produce a sturdy and aesthetically pleasing structure. Another unique design feature was the fastening of the foundation to the granite by drilling and grouting rebar. The structure was designed to withstand winds of 125 mph and ground snow loading of 100 pounds per square foot.

Check out the result by visiting Galehead Hut yourself. Make reservations by calling 603-466-2727.

 
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