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[at-l] Short Stratton Day Hike



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Saturday afternoon I led a hike from the Stratton-Arlington Road
to Stratton summit and back.  The weather held out, thank
goodness -- mixed clouds and sun, mostly overcast in the
afternoon, but very nice on the ascent.  Quite windy on the top
of the fire tower.  My pack thermometer read 50 degrees at
3 pm on the summit.  Hat and gloves would have been nice.

The folks in this group included my wife and two couples that
we know, and the daughter of one of the couples.  Ages from
11 to about 60.  Turned out to be a fine day hike for a group
of hiking newbies.  Challenging enough for all, but not over-
whelming for anyone.  The hot tub felt great afterwards, as
did the fine dinner back at the house in West Wardsboro, just
a few miles away from the trailhead.  The friends of ours who
own that house were barely aware of the existence of the AT --
so it was my job, this weekend, to amend that situation.

The hike itself was quite mellow -- in my estimation -- though not
all of the folks in the group agreed with that assessment.  There's
nothing terribly extreme about it.  It's a 1700 foot vertical rise
over 3.5 miles.  No bogs, no serious rock scrambles, no open
ridge.  Were it not for the firetower, there'd be no view at all
from the summit.  From the top of the firetower, the view is
quite rewarding.  There's a nice spring not far from the summit,
and on this hike, water was plentiful.

The sign at the summit says the trail is 3.8 miles; the sign at
the trailhead says 3.5 miles.  Who knows?  We made the round
trip in about 5 1/2 hours, including a leisurely break for lunch
at the summit.  The caretaker -- a woman named Jean -- was
the same one that I had met when I did my little section hike in
VT about a month and a half ago.  Very friendly and full of
interesting information.

Leaves are turning nicely in southern Vermont.  Here and there
a maple has exploded into crimson, but most of the trees are
still green, and those that have turned are various shades of
yellow and orange.  I'm guessing "peak" leaf season near Stratton
will be next week.  In any case, the highways were jammed with
leaf-peepers on the way home this afternoon.


rafe b.
aka terrapin
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