y Gail Craig Gordon

The Craig family love affair with the White Mountains, and Dolly Copp Campground in particular, had its beginnings shortly after World War I.

The Lees, Boodry, Craig, Fraser and Thurston families from Lowell, Massachusetts would travel up to Pinkham in touring cars to hike. Some of the men had just returned from the war, Uncle Harold Boodry from the Navy, Uncle Bill Lees from the Merchant Marine.

The Boodrys liked to camp at Dolly Copp, but when they went as a group they all stayed in the cabins at Pinkham where they became good friends with Joe Dodge, the legendary hut master.

In 1924, Grandpa Charley Craig stayed on after the rest of the party left to help Joe close the huts for the winter. Joe then drove Grandpa down to Lowell in Azma on his way home to Manchester.

In 1931, Harold and Grandpa Craig took Charley's son, Raymond, on his first camping trip to Dolly Copp. They traveled up from Lowell in Harold's 1929 Model A. They camped in what is now the picnic area. Raymond remembered that there was a Boy Scout troop camped there too.

In 1939, Ray returned with wife Helen and together they embarked on what would be a more than fifty yearlong camping odyssey. Their children Gail, Bobby and Richie joined them as soon as they were born.

In the sixties, their grandchildren became Dolly Coppers and now the great-grandchildren are enjoying the awe-inspiring mountains, the pristine rivers, and the vast forest that drew their ancestors there almost one hundred years ago.


Harold Boodry's site in the 1920s.

Harold Boodry's site in the 1920s.

Harold Boodry on May 31, 1931.

Ray Craig at tent on May 30, 1931.

Ray Craig site on May 30, 1931.

Ray Craig site in 1946.

Bob Christ and son with Ray
and Charlie Craig in 1946.





by Gail Craig Gordon

Senior campers and/or lovers of White Mountain history understand why the lodge at Pinkham Notch is named after Joe Dodge. Joe was the witty, sometimes cantankerous, always colorful AMC huts manager at Pinkham for thirty-one years.

He was also a personal friend of first generation Craig campers, particularly our grandfather, Charley Craig, the relationship flourishing in the 1920s and 30s when Charley and his wife made the long treks from Lowell, MA to Pinkham to hike.

The relationship continued for many years, extending in the 40s to our parents, Helen and Ray Craig.

Brother Bob and I clearly recall the time in the early 50s that we met Joe Dodge. We were visiting Pinkham (as we did on every Dolly Copp vacation) and Dad asked if Joe was in. He was told that Joe was busy and should not be disturbed.

Dad left a message and we headed back to camp. We were hardly back at the campground when Joe came storming in. “Hell”, he cried, “I’ll be damned if anyone’s gonna say I can’t visit with friends!”

Boy, were we impressed! He seemed larger than life. Better than meeting the Lone Ranger!

Grandpa Charley died suddenly in December of 1952. In a letter written to our parents on January 20, 1953, Joe expressed his distress at the news of his good friend’s passing. He remarked on the “many, many pleasant times together back a few number of years ago” and the “many pleasant calls which were made subsequent.”

Sixty years after Grandpa’s death, Joshua Craig (Bob’s grandson and fifth generation Dolly Copp camper) reestablished the Dodge-Craig connection. Josh volunteered in July 2012 for a weeklong stint as an AMC trail hand based at Camp Dodge.

Bob loaned him a copy of Joe's biography to read, as well as a copy of the letter referenced above. Joshua had a wonderful experience. Praised for his positive attitude and hard work, he was encouraged to apply for a longer, paid position for the following summer.

The circle is complete; Grandpa Charley must be smiling.

Grandpa Charley (front row, first from left),
wife Betty (back row, second from right),
Joe Dodge (front row, first from right) at
Pinkham Notch, early 1920s.


Grandpa in Azma, 1924, getting ready
to head south with Joe after helping him
close up the AMC huts for the season.


Joe (second from left with some
of his crew) visiting Craigs at
Dolly Copp, late 1920s.


Josh getting ready to sign in
at Camp Dodge, summer 2012.





Craig Family in 1952.

Craigs at Flat Rock in 1953.

Gail and Bobby Craig in 1954
at start of Imp Trail on Route 16.


Bobby and Gail in 1954 at "Howard
Johnson's" third generation of Craig's
to climb Mt. Washington,
Tuckerman Ravine Trail, 1954.




Charlie and Gail (Craig) Gordon with
friend Sonny Thomas, at old gatehouse in 1963

Craigs and Gordons sharing Site 28 in 1970

Charlie and Gail Craig Gordon climbing Pine
Mountain in 1977 with Levesque and Gordon children

Karen Craig with Kim, Brian and Scott on top of Pine Mountain in October of 1979

Left to right Ray Craig, Gail (Craig) Gordon,
David Gordon, Susan Gordon, Helen Craig,
Charlie Gordon in Big Meadow in 1984

Kim Craig and cousin Dube
making a snowman in October of 1984

Comment by Bob Craig: “The above is amongst the Craig Family photos taken in 1984 on Columbus Day Weekend. My late wife, my mother-in law, my daughter and cousin Dube were nice and snug and warm sleeping in our first little 22 foot motorhome, but my two sons were out there in their tent.

I remember thinking my mother-in law was joking when she told us to wake up and look out the window as it was snowing that morning. It was truly a sight to see. I have a number of photos from that morning including a photo of me getting pelted by snow balls thrown by my two sons.

My brother Richie has camped in Barnes Field in February in a tent. He said he knew it was cold when he tried to crack an egg for breakfast and it was frozen solid.”


Richie Craig and sons talking
to their cousins in 1987

Kim Craig second from left, with
friend Alison and cousins Dube
and David at the old burial site in 1988

David Gordon, Gail Craig Gordon,
Bob Craig, Karen Craig at Bob’s site mid 1990s

Golden Falcon trailer the Gordons
camped in from 1976-1996

Bob Craig with his children and
grandchildren at the Picnic Area Pavilion
in 2003 where a JP officiated at the wedding
of daughter Kim to Tom Steele and the renewal
of vows of son Scott and his wife Gayle

Wedding Cake in Picnic Pavilion in 2003


Bob Craig and grandchildren
on path to Peabody River 2003

Bob Craig and grandchildren at the Peabody River in 2003

The Gordon’s campsite in Big Meadow 2005

Bob Craig at Site 4 with motor home and scooter 2006

Craig Family at Dolly Copp August 2010


Comment by Bob Craig:
“My Dad’s whole life revolved around Dolly Copp.
We all consider my father the true "Old Man of
The Mountains" and are certain that his spirit
will roam the quaint little roads of Dolly Copp
and the mountains surrounding them hand
in hand with my mom for eternity.”



Gail Craig Gordon at Site 25
with new tent, August 2012.


Charlie Gordon at
Culhane Brook, August 2012.