Tag Archives: Stratton Pond

Stratton Mountain and Spectacular Stratton Pond

This morning as we left from Strory Spring shelter, AT thru-hiker “Bison” commented that the AT is the “least flattest trail ever” and was therefore to blame for my blisters. We all agreed in laughter and left separately to begin another day.

After a long and hot climb up Stratton Mountain (a note left by/for other thru-hikers above), I was greeted by three Green Mountain Club caretakers. Jean and Hugh were instrumental in the club’s survival and had been involved in its operations for nearly 40 years. They also both lived in New York City at one point and Hugh spoke a bit of Russian! Steve, a Connecticut native had spent half his adult life in Colorado and the rest in Vermont. The crew offered me some delicious orzo salad – the herbs had been grown right at the top of the mountain! After some time at the top of the fire tower, I began descending and caught up with Steve who was doing some trail maintenance. We talked and I discovered that he had attended some of the most legendary shows by some of my favorite artists.

08-11-09 View from Stratton Firetower

Suddenly the trail unveiled Stratton Pond. It was absolutely mystical! I hid from the late afternoon sun in its cool, deep waters and was moved by the beauty of it all. After setting up my tent I went about to simply look, feel and listen. The beavers, loons, dragon flies, trout and later the stars all shared the evening with me. As I watched the sun set, I thought about Groom and Boofer and wished them a good night.

08-11-09 Stratton Mt from Stratton Pond

Floater and Town Day

At 5:15 AM the pond, all its inhabitants and visitors were still in slumber as I made my way around its muddy banks. My goal for the day was to get to Manchester Center, about 11 miles away, as early as possible for a “town day.” A town day refers to the things you do in town – eat, do laundry, check e-mail and resupply.  I was feeling low. My feet seemed to be dragging at best in hot, heavy boots with a pack too heavy with unnecessary things. At one point I even considered just turning around and going intro Stratton instead. I stuck it out and let the early morning mist of the forest refresh my spirit. Then I met “Floater.”

Floater is 67. He set out to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail as his first backpack, ever. He had come from Virginia to Vermont, on his way to Maine and would then turn around and go south from Virginia to Georgia. When he started, Bruce paid someone to hike with him for a week because he didn’t know the first thing about it. He didn’t know where to set up his tent or how to use a stove. One night, he woke up in his tent and it was raining. He then realized that he was floating on his thermarest mattress! Hence the trail name… Bruce “Floater” reminded me about what it means to be on the trail. Not that I could put it into words, but he reminded me about the uncertainty of it all and made me question our desire to set out on such a path.

By 12:30 PM I was standing on the side of the road with my thumb out. About four cars later, a man in a hunting uniform and three white maltese dogs picked me up and deposited me in town. Just a few minutes later, I ran into Hobo, Bison and Groom. It felt so great to see them! We went out for Italian food and decided we would all head to Big Branch the following night. I spent the night at the Green Mountain House, a hostel for thru-hikers ran by Jeff and his wife who had thru-hiked the AT some time ago. Jeff was kind beyond words and stocked the freezer with pints of Ben and Jerry’s for us!