[at-l] hikers up north

RockDancer rockdancer97 at comcast.net
Mon Sep 26 20:21:53 CDT 2011

I've just returned from a weekend with the hikers around Rangeley and
Stratton, ME, the ones that have just reached the end of the tough part of
Maine. My hope was to turn up some hikers I met one my summer's section
hike. I was happy to find:

Little Bird, English Chatter, Achilles, Pacemaker, Sundance, Yoga Boy, Red
Stripe, Holy Cow, Phishnet, Buddha, and Skyhigh - 11 hikers

These hikers I met for the first time: Whiskers, Snags, Rolling Stone,
Icebreak, Bearbag, Hover, Showy (or Snowy?), Engineer, Old School, Frosty,
Captain Redbeard, Wiggles and The Dude (same Dude from 2003).

Hobo was heading S on the Flip from Katahdin. Gunner and 1 other are
possibly the last southbound thruhikers for the year. After 180 miles they
seemed pretty happy with the trail so far.

Rangeley was interesting because Gull Pond hostel was closed. A local
business, Ecopelagicon, helped the hikers and allowed camping on their
property, just a stone's throw from Sarge's (sports bar on the main drag).
Friday night saw 12 tents set up, a local brought over some firewood and a
pub sent over a few free pitchers of beer. All in all a quiet, mellow time.
A town official came by on Saturday morning and posted a "limit of 4 tents"
sign, sad, but also indicated that the town wants to take up the idea of
having their own hiker hostel. In my years of visiting Rangeley this was the
friendliest time I've had, nice change overall.

Stratton seems to have less & less life in it each time I visit. No gas
station in town anymore, the Diner has fewer hours they are open, but the
White Wolf and the Motel are still unchanged. About 12 hikers in town each
day, with a few taking their "second to last" zero day of the trip. Some
hikers are doing great, some not so. I noticed a gaunt hiker, smiling no
less than the others. Another one was lonely & came close to quitting in the
cold snap when he was coming into Grafton Notch. All wanted to know in
detail what was in store for them, and "could they really relax after the
Bigelows?" Such anxiety.

I'm glad I made the trip and helped shuttle the hikers. Over 900 miles in 4
days but I heard some great stories and caught up with those 11 hikers I met
over the summer. Many of these won't make the Gathering in North Adams but I
bet a few will manage to get 188 miles done in the next 12 days. Then, if
they get a good connection, they can make it to N. Adams.  --RockDancer

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