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Sept 4 , 1983 Sunday (206.4 mtg) From Gonzo!s Appalachian Trail journal

Everything in my bowels seemed to have calmed down by this morning when I left the shelter and began the final mile of trail toward the summit of Spaulding Mountain. A short side trail could have taken me to the summit had I chosen to go, but I did not. I began the descent toward Mount Sugarloaf. In past years, the trail used to go up and over Sugarloaf, but ski development has caused a relocation around the mountain so once again the summit is reached only by side trail. This time I did follow the side trail to the view from the summit where the ski lift station and snack bar are located. The view was magnificent! I could see the Crockers that I was about to traverse, and the Bigalow Range that I would climb the following day.

At the base of Sugarloaf, a trail crew continued with the construction of a bridge across the South Branch of the Carrabasset River near where the trail crossed. It was not finished yet so I had to rock hop across to the opposite shore from one partially submerged boulder to the next. As I came upon a segment of the crew cutting trees to be used on the project, I noticed that two of them were members of the crew that were building the shelter at Frye Notch. I stopped a little farther on at the Crocker Cirque Campsite to read the register and take a break. The lake was beautiful and would have been a nice place to stay. I moved on to the summit of South Crocker and took the short side trail to the view. I could just barely see Sugarloaf across the valley. From there the trail dipped and then went back up to the North Summit where I found a family of Spruce Grouse in a clearing near the top. I observed them for a while and decided I did not need to eat them - although I was tempted.

Somewhere along the four and a half miles of descent that followed, I began to notice a pain in my heal. Apparently I had bruised it during the steep downhill from Sugarloaf, but did not notice it until now. The descent was painful, but I was determined to make the miles to the road crossing where I could hitch into the town of Stratton, Maine, where I knew I had a place to stay, resupply, and rest if the need arrived. I met weekend hikers on their way up to the Crockers. I could not understand why, the Crockers were not that impressive to me, with the exception of the campsite. Along the descent I also caught up with a lady going the same direction as I. Before I got to a distance where I could talk with her, she noticed me and ran down the trail as if to escape from the monster that was approaching. Eventually I caught up with her again, but this time she had caught up with an older guy, her father I guess. I inquired as to how far the highway was from this point, and of course they really had no clue - they had just come from there, why would they know?

Once at the highway I stuck out my thumb at all passing vehicles. It took a while, but I finally got a ride from a couple of guys who dropped me off in Stratton right in front of "The Widows Walk." This fancy Victorian home was a bed and breakfast for the elite ski crowd in the winter who pay as much as $100 per night, where as the fee was only $8 per night for the dirty, smelly hikers in the summer - just like Mountain Meadows near Sherburn Pass in Vermont. There were three southbounders already there. I selected a room and got myself cleaned up. Later that day "the Maximus" showed up and checked in. Then Lan AT Hiker (Susan Parsons) and Tom came by, but lacking the funds, they decided to go down to the campground down the road to do laundry, and then returned to camp out across the street in the back yard of the museum or church. The four of us went to "Cathie's Place" to have dinner that night. Most of us opted for the all you can eat salad bar.

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Gonzo! Appalachian Trail Journals ©1983

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