Stratton Mountain

Images from
this date

What You

Progress Map

Other Images

Contact Gonzo!


Aug 11 , 1983 Thursday (554.3 mtg) From Gonzo!s Appalachian Trail journal

I awoke this morning knowing that I would be facing wet conditions on the trail at some point today. I could feel it in the air. It was a little warmer this morning, probably about 50 degrees Fahrenheit. I began hiking at about six, and didn't really stop much at all. The terrain was easy going with not much change in elevation. At one time I believe the Appalachian Trail had gone over the summit of Stratton Mountain, which would have put a nice uphill climb in the routine, but this year the trail did not go to the summit unless I chose to take the blue-blazed Stratton Mountain Trail. I chose not to take the alternate route, the skies were not going to allow for any views today, plus the rain had begun to fall. Instead, I continued on the A.T., but did stop for a short break at Stratton Pond to visit with the caretaker of Stratton View Shelter. I spent only seconds there, enough to get a drink of water and say a few works to Jeff, the caretaker. (Note: 2008 - I got an email from Jeff Brooks-Manas, who had happened to find my journal online and read it. We reminisced about some of the people we both had met. The internet is an amazing thing.) There was no view of Stratton Mountain from the lake as I had suspected so I boogied on. By that time the rain began to fall harder and the wind began to pick up. Three or four miles quickly passed as my pace had quickened in response to the inclement weather. I began looking for Douglas Shelter, where I hoped that I would be able to get out of the rain and get warmed up. The weather was the worst I had experienced on my journey so far. The problem was that the temperature had dropped, the rain was cold rather than warm, and the cool temperature and wind combination were the recipe for hypothermia. I had to keep on the move. I also had no other clothes to keep me warm besides my wool sweater.

I somehow missed the side trail to Douglas Shelter, so I kept going even though I had begun to develop a shiver from the cold rain and windy conditions. Rather than go back to find the shelter, I continued on thinking that maybe I had not even reached it yet. Eventually I knew that I had missed it, but by then there was no sense in turning back, so I continued on down the mountain. I then began to ascend gradually once again to Vermont 11 and 30, where I could hitch a ride into Manchester Center. The ride into town would be almost six miles. The nearest shelter was only seven tenths of a mile up the trail. I chose to go to the shelter.

I arrived at Bromley Camp at 12:36 in the afternoon with 21.6 miles already under my belt for the day. I had taken no breaks with the exception of the few seconds at Stratton Pond. That's one mile every twenty minutes! I sure could cover ground if I really wanted to. I was in luck, the shelter was still there. The shelter had been slated for dismantling since its' location too close to the road had proven detrimental to the area due to over-use. This place was totally enclosed and had a wood-burning stove. Just what I needed as I got myself out of the elements and tried to warm up. I had no long pants to put on. I had sent them and my rain pants home some time back when it was warm. I put on all my layers of clothing: t-shirt and wool sweater, and shorts. Just the fact that I was inside, dry, and sheltered from the wind warmed me up somewhat.

A while later four guys came in carrying two cases of beer (now you know why they wanted to tear the place down). They were Tom ("Bombadil" Butler), Ed (Powers?), Bruce (Mountain Man) (Becker?), and Matthew ("Zuzuka")(Ramsey?). I had met most of them a few days back at Bond Shelter. It was nice to have some company, but why had they not bought me any rootbeer? They had just returned from a trip to Manchester Center to get "supplies." They should have known I would be there waiting for them with a craving for the "root".

Later, a guy named Malcomb Weeks came up from the road to see if "The Awesome Robots" had arrived. Apparently they were scheduled to arrive here also, but so far we had not seen them. He was traveling by car, so we selected Ed to go into town with Malcom to get Pizza for the evening festivities, and some Peanut Butter and Jelly as supplies for me. Everything worked out great. I got my supplies, we all ate pizza, and began to transform the dreary, nasty afternoon into a rollicking fun time with the help of the food, beer, and a simple game called Pigmainia.

Pigmainia brought the idea of a dice game to a new level. The "dice" were actually a pair of small plastic pigs no larger than one inch long that were rolled like dice and depending on how they landed, were assessed various point values. They could land on their sides, on their feet, balancing on snoots and front feet, etc. The highest value was if one landed standing on top of the other, this was known as "makin' bacon" and practically ensured your win of the game. I played like a professional, and blew everyone away. Luck continued coming my way as we played long into the night with light supplied by candlepower, while beer fueled the party.

Gonzo! Appalachian Trail Journals ©1983
Next From the Beginning