The next generation of caretakers

For one night a season, the Backcountry Caretakers come out of the woods to gather for our Midsummer Meeting. It is the one time the entire season that the whole staff is together, to share stories and advice, and eat copious amounts of pizza.

We rely on former caretakers to volunteer to fill the sites for that one night, and for many it's a chance to experience again the best job they've ever had. I know they are eager and excited, because some start asking in early June when we'll need the one-night fill-ins.

Matt and Jenna Bowman asked early on when Midsummer Meeting was, not only because they were excited but because they knew they needed extra time to figure out the logistics to bring their kids: Max, 5 years old, and Zoe, 3 years old.

Matt and Jenna, with over a decade of backcountry seasonal AMC work between the two of them, are the kind of couple who do a Mahoosuc Traverse as a get away vacation and the Wildman Biathalon as date night. When Zoe was still a baby, they started car camping. Last year, when Max was 4, Matt and Max tried their first overnight at Ethan, going a pace of 1 mile an hour and with lots of snack breaks.

This year, Matt and Max staffed Imp, and Jenna and Zoe staffed Ethan Pond. The kids were beaming at the end of the trip, telling tales of their adventures. Max, in particular, told his father that he wanted to be a caretaker full time, next year, when he is 6.

Matt and Jenna were kind enough to allow us to borrow their photos: thanks for being such great volunteers and friends of the caretaker program!

Max hiking on the Appalachian Trail towards Imp

Eating like a caretaker: Dinner of Mac and Cheese, and crackers and sardines.

Leaping over the ledges

Jenna and Zoe on the Ethan Pond Trail