I am sitting on the porch of the Stratton Motel in Stratton, Maine. There are five rooms here. Hikers fill every one. Slim and I occupy room 2. A hostel attached to the motel houses hikers as well. All the Way and Goose sit at a picnic table along with two hikers I don’t recognize. Across the street Fotter’s Market displays a sign stating, “Hardware Paint and Plumbing Supplies.” Another says, “Groceries Meats Fresh Produce Beer & Wine.” The local Lions Club solicits donations out front for some animal cause. Cars steadily arrive and depart. Business appears to be good on a lazy August afternoon in small town America.
Earlier today Susquehanna Slim, Molar Man, and I hiked what may be construed as a “nero” day of a mere 9.1 miles over mainly agreeable terrain. Other than a mildly strenuous climb up South Crocker Mountain to 4040 feet, followed by a less difficult ascent of North Crocker to 4228, the day sailed by. The summits are only one mile apart with not much to be concerned with between the two. After the Crockers the trail gradually descended over 5.2 miles to ME 27. With few rocky sections, we covered the total hike in less than five hours.
Nothing really noteworthy happened during the hike’s duration. One view and a nondescript trail made for a lackluster hike. It was just getting the miles done today. When we reached the road we had lunch and then walked an additional 0.8 miles to Stratton Brook Pond Rd. with no packs. Sweet Tooth was waiting there for the drive back to Stratton. Slim and I then decided to partake of a second lunch at the White Wolf Cafe. We also got laundry done and have the remainder of the day to relax.
While I have been writing other hikers have arrived at the hostel. I walked over to introduce myself to several who I have not met. We have walked the same trail for almost 2000 miles and I’m meeting Wolfman, Timex, Red Knees, Toby, and Whistler for the first time. Such is life on the AT. And the AT changes yearly. Since I’ve been using 2012 standards thus far, I’ve decided to add the additional 1.7 miles that the trail was lengthened this year to today’s mileage. This will make my total accurate for the rest of the 2185.9 mile journey. Tomorrow I’ll hit the Bigelows a little farther up the Appalachian Trail.