I did not rise until the sun was clearly overhead. The heat and wind made my bag crunchy. I could feel my body come alive as it warmed–in tandem with the earth–under the solar glow. The sun, a fiery palm with gentle fingers, seemed sent to loft me in to motion. Oh, dear sun!
Mt. Abraham, Spaulding Mountain, Sugarloaf Mountain, and the two peaks of Croker, stood between myself and the town of Stratton. The town of laundry and resupply.
The challenge began with the climb, or scramble rather, down Sugarloaf. It was a steep descent, laden with boulders and stones.
Once at the bottom, I crossed the south branch of the Carrabassett River. The river was wide and moved swiftly, but with a little caution I was able to hop my way across by rock and boulder.
Then, up again towards Crocker Mountain.
As I continued towards the steeper portion of the climb, I crossed paths with many southbounders. They all offered words of congratulations. It felt wonderful, though its premature nature made me nervous. It is interesting that only 100 miles south, fellow hikers were filling me with sentiments of doubt. Nonetheless, it made me smile.
The views from the climb were beautiful, the sky a naked, brilliant blue.
The descent down Crocker was gradual and smooth and led to Route 27, where I planned to hitch in to Stratton. A couple of hours of sunlight remained. Could I make it to the road in time to get a hitch? I hurried my pace. There was not water near the base of the climb, however, so I stopped to drink and collect two liters from a spring on my way down…just in case I did not make it.
In the end, the sun bid farewell before I reached the paved road to civilization. That’s alright, I thought. I am rather tired, anyhow.
As is almost always the case, there was a tentsite very near the road crossing. There I settled in, pleased that I had collected water, and that I had only to travel .2 miles by foot before reveling in the modern luxury that is the laundry mat, and the warm, clean, fluffy, dry apparel that such establishments provide.