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Teacher & Snacktime

The Maine Event & Season Finale – Part 4 – Stratton

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After our short 14hr nap in the luxury accommodations of the reclining front seats, Snacktime and I awoke refreshed and ready to hit some more of the road. We bade Yogi our Savior adieu (after a photo of course) and headed back onto Rt 201N, with a goal of locating Rt 16/27 W and the Stratton trailhead. We stopped en route in Kingfield for breakfast at the Dam Diner, a punny little general store with a lunch counter in the back and (according to Snacktime) the best chicken burgers in the world. I passed on the poultry and instead indulged in a cup of coffee and a dose out of a $6.99 24ct bottle of Tylenol…breakfast of champions.


We arrived at the Rt 27 Stratton trailhead just in time to meet up with hikers approaching the parking lot from both directions: Machine Gun Joe on his NOBO thru, and sectioners RamSham, AdCane and Paul coming out of the Bigelows. Magic bags and goodies were distributed just as thunder started rumbling overhead. Machine Gun Joe wasted no time getting back under the cover of trees on the trail before the rain came, and the others stayed to chat for a little while.


RamSham, AdCane and Paul were coming in from the Bigelow section and planning to take a couple of days off before resuming their hike out of Monson. Most of our communication was through Paul, as RamSham was deaf, and spoke mostly in sign language. She was a special assistance provider for AdCane, who was also deaf and mostly blind. They were both receiving help for this section of AdCane’s dream of an AT hike by Paul, who was essentially acting as sherpa, and carrying AdCane’s packweight to allow him greater balance and agility. When they finish their hike at Katahdin in the coming weeks, AdCane will be the first deaf/blind hiker to complete the AT. Their story is exciting and inspirational, and their progress can be followed on:



or you can check out both WB threads about RamSham and AdCane:




Of course we knew nothing about any of this until after we got home and checked out the link that RamSham had written in my notebook. There at the trailhead, we just exchanged some basic info about who we were and she taught Ed some sign language (which he’ll be learning more of this school year) and we relaxed and snacked. They were in no rush, as this was their ending point for the next couple of days, until they resumed their hike out of Monson toward Katahdin.


Then the rain came. Snacktime and I packed up the cooler and snacks and the others headed for RamSham’s car and their layover in Monson. Their plans were stalled however (pun intended) by a dead battery. Not to worry, as we had cables. What we didn’t have was a clue as to where this car kept its battery (as it was certainly not where one might expect it to be). While Paul and RamSham read the owner’s manual and Snacktime held the cables, I photo-journaled the event and kept out of the way. It wasn’t long until her car was running and they were headed off, leaving a beaming Snacktime…happy over having been able to provide this bit of real magic to hikers in need.


We decided to leave the trailhead, as sitting in the car in the rain was an unpleasant prospect.

Snacktime and I drove down the road into Stratton. My thinking was that on a rainy day, hikers heading to the trailhead after their resupply would likely appreciate a ride. So with this in mind we kept our eyes open for prospective passengers. Just as we entered town, a young lady in boots and a Frogg Toggs jacket (HIKER GIVEAWAY) was walking into a convenience store. I pulled over and went into the store to find her. Upon my informing her that we had “trail magic stuff” for her outside, she put back her unpurchased soda and followed me to the car. Thus it was that we met Oreo. Her hiking partner Quahog was still at the motel, but she grabbed goodies for him. We had followed the journals of these two early in their hike when learning about their interactions with both the Silly Walkers and Warriors, so once again we were able to put faces and real people to the names and stories we’d studied.


While we stood in the parking lot sharing updates on other hikers’ progress, a voice called to us from the street behind us: “It’s Teacher and Snacktime!” Yeah, you could have knocked me over with the proverbial feather. Heading toward us were none other than Gypsy and Hancock, a couple we’d met on our New Hampshire trail magic trip and whom I’d spent quite a bit of time with while Snacktime snoozed in the car. This was the only pair of hikers of whom I did not get a photo on that trip….an oversight soon to be rectified. When snacking and gathering and photo-shooting was done, Oreo headed back to her motel (she was taking a zero) and Gypsy and Hancock climbed into be backseat
for a ride back to the trailhead.


The rain had subsided, though it threatened to return, when we dropped off our pair. They promptly headed out in hopes of making it to a shelter before the deluge. We met a trio of sectioners then – Alex and 2 Jonathans, who were heading north over the Bigelows for a couple of days. We fortified them for their wet trek with our wares and fare, and they headed out, slightly reluctantly, into the rain.


While we were there, I wanted to check out the kiosk and get a photo for the WB gallery. What I found was a sad little memorial to Gerry “Inchworm” Largay, a 66yr old female hiker from TN who disappeared from the trail on July 23/24, the same days that Snacktime and I were on our trail magic trip in Upper Goose Pond Cabin, Lee, MA. That was over a month ago, and there’s been no trace of her. I didn’t call Snacktime over, but standing before her empty boots, I silently wished her peace.


We left the trailhead and once again headed into the town of Stratton, in hopes of learning the whereabouts of Chin Music. This being a popular resupply town, I figured there’d be a hostel or hiker hangout with a grapevine. As we approached the Stratton Motel, I figured I’d guessed right (the carved family of hiker bears out front was something of a giveaway). We were directed to the hostel portion of the motel, where we found a group of hikers and invited them to the car to get some magic.
The rain had started up again, so after a quick handout and group photo of Sonny, Ian, Faceplant, Nuge, Yooper and Big Red, we left town heading southwest.


Maybe ChinMusic was still in Rangeley…..


to be continued…

Updated 09-08-2013 at 11:52 by Teacher & Snacktime

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