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Joe McQuaid's Publisher's Notebook: A tough hike to see AMC 'croo,' but finding 'Quos' made the day

August 17. 2014 7:34PM

I WAS on a week’s vacation recently and, as usual, I did things backwards.

First off, I made an overnight hike to the AMC’s Galehead Hut near the Gale River in Twin Mountain. Good for losing weight, bad for ancient legs.

Then, the lady of the little house and I took grandson Ike on an overnight cruise from Portland to Yarmouth, Nova Scotia. Good for resting. Bad for keeping off the weight the hike had just lost.

More than once on the hike, my daughter-in-law asked, “Whose stupid idea was this?’’

She was usually looking straight at me while asking.

“This one was mine,’’ I acknowledged, “you get the next one.’’

I can hardly wait.

Galehead Hut was nice as was the AMC “croo’’ that ran it. A niece was one of the “croo,’’ hence the reason for my stupid idea to hike up and spend the night. For all the summers I spent in and around Mt. Washington, I had never spent a night with the AMC. Scratch one from the bucket list.

It was worth the climb. The hut master and team were lively, funny, and competent. They knew when to leave you alone and when to offer you the comforts of home (which they trek in and out on the same old wooden and canvas backboards that I would see go by our Cog Railway trains 50 years ago).

My niece guessed that she had been up and down the Gale River trail about 20 times so far this summer, each with a 50- to 75-pound load on her back. If you think that has inspired me to make another climb, think again.

Besides the good food, funny skits, and hiker camaraderie, I came across one fact that by itself made the trip worth it.

Anytime I can question cranky old John Harrigan (he with the new surgically-installed set of knees), is a good day.

Harrigan is the guardian and chief protector of pronouncing the word “Coos’’ as “Koh-oss.’’ Pronounce it “kooz,’’ and it drives him batty.

So imagine my surprise to read, at the hut, the White Mountain history written by Lucy Crawford on behalf of herself and her husband, Ethan Allen Crawford, who blazed trails and housed tourists north of the notches in the early 19th century.

They moved first, Lucy writes, to the Upper Coos, which, she notes, is pronounced “Quos.’’

Come again? “Quos?’’ You might say that as “Q-oss’’ or perhaps “Quo-oss’’ but darned if I can see how you get “Koh-oss’’ out of that.

Harrigan, your serve.

Write to Joe McQuaid at or on Twitter


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