Jeep on Moosilauke
Ascending Moosilauke by Jeep 9-9-51
Roger Gilmore ‘54 wrote:
I was active in the Dartmouth Outing Club my freshman year, 1950-51, Director of Cabins my sophomore year, and on the C&T summer crew 1952, with Bill King and Alan Gruber. (Then got married and other priorities took over.) My first time on the summit of Moosilauke would have been Freshman Trip 1950, then once or twice more during 1950-51. Was happy to get a job working at the Ravine Camp for the latter part of the summer of 1951 (having spent the first six weeks of that summer at a Quaker work camp in rural Mexico, where I met my future wife, Beatrice, a student at Middlebury.) I had convinced my folks that I needed a back-country vehicle to meet the full benefit of Outing Club opportunities and responsibilities, and acquired a used U.S. Navy Jeep, using accumulated U.S. War Bonds and Savings Bonds from summers of grass-cutting work.
In those days I was very car-conscious, could identify almost every vehicle on the road, had a file drawer full of car information, and was inordinately proud of this my first motorized vehicle. (My childhood was full of home-made “pushmobiles”.)
Driving the old blue Jeep from the Philadelphia area up to the Ravine Camp was a thrill, but it was even more thrilling to accept the challenge to try to get it to the summit of Moosilauke via the old Carriage Road. A local fellow named Bill Hight was the manager of the Ravine Camp (Lodge) that summer, and he and a couple of other employees (one being Bobby Moody, with his dog Cinder) joined me, in what I now acknowledge as a folly and as being environmentally invasive.
The surface planks on the bridges on the lower stretch of the Carriage Road were largely rotted away, but the underlying stringers were just about the width of the Jeep’s track, and we were able to cautiously work our way across without getting hopelessly hung up. The steeper reaches were badly eroded and washed out, strewn with boulders, causing grunt work on our parts, and on the part of the Jeep, which burned out some bearings and suffered a damaged piston rod.
I have a 5x7 photo of three of us and Cinder and the Jeep on the summit, and several 2-1/2 x 4-1/4 prints of me and the Jeep at the DOC Winter Cabin and on the Carriage Road. We nursed the injured Jeep back down the Carriage Road that same Sunday, hobbling into Bill’s cousin’s (!) service station in Warren, trading it for a prosaic 1937 Plymouth sedan, which happened to be for sale and in good working order. (This car made many trips to and from Middlebury that school year, and was then used as parts for another 1937 Plymouth sedan.) I have been back on the summit, by foot, many times since 9-9-51, and have been relieved to see no signs of other auto traffic up there! Cheers, Roger Gilmore ‘54