July 6, 2013
Today’s mileage: 17.0
Total mileage: 1639.1
The good news is that we didn’t drown last night in our tent. The rain subsided after a couple of hours, and by morning only a couple of small pools of water were left at the bottom of the tent. We hauled all of our gear up to the shelter to let a few things dry out while we ate breakfast. It could have been a lot worse, so we feel lucky that our tent didn’t actually flood to the point that we would have had to move to the shelter in the middle of the night.
As we left the shelter, clouds rolled in overhead. The wind was blowing through the trees as we hiked, a sign that the clouds were moving quickly out of the area. The breeze and lower humidity was a welcome break from the incessant hot and humid weather that we’ve been experiencing. But, it looks like that weather will be back tomorrow as the ten day forecast calls for thunderstorms every single day. I swear, there has been a chance of thunderstorms almost every day for three weeks. And I’m not even joking. This doesn’t help my thunderstorm anxiety levels at all.
By the time we reached the base of Stratton Mountain, the clouds had cleared out and the sun was shining. While we had an elevation gain of about 1,700 feet up to the 3,900 ft. tall mountain, we climbed for 3.4 miles, so it wasn’t a difficult ascent at all. The No-See-Ems were awful at the top. We were killing them left and right as they landed on our arms and legs as we ate. To escape the bugs for a few minutes, we climbed up the tall fire tower built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the ’30s. Like yesterday, we climbed above the trees and had a clear, beautiful view of the Green Mountains. We could see three ski mountains covered in green and Stratton Pond to the north. There were several people coming and going as we took a break a the summit. I wondered why they were only spending a few minutes at the top and then leaving. How could you hike 3.5 miles and then just leave so quickly? Well, when I climbed the fire tower I could see the gondola on the nearby mountain that was bringing the tourists close to the Stratton summit. It all made sense now. Stratton was another beautiful example of why we love being back in New England.
The bugs drove us back down the mountain after awhile. We stopped at Stratton Pond for a few minutes, admiring the serene water with the sun casting its glowing sparkle upon the surface. If it was hotter outside, I would have jumped right in. We decided to move on and go a couple of more miles to the river. The water is not as nice here. Even after filtering, the water is the color of pee. Yum.
We set-up, cooked, and filtered water by 7:00 tonight. I think that’s a record for us. We’re currently safe in our dry tent laughing at all of the mosquitoes desperately clinging to the mesh fabric of the tent, hoping our warm flesh will come close enough for them to bite. How naïve the little buggers are.