Day 86

We were slow to rise this morning. I wasn’t in too much of a hurry as we only had 9 miles to go over the Crockers to ME 27 where we would catch a shuttle to The Hostel of Maine. Lucy and I climbed out of the tent around 8 and hobbled to the food bag for breakfast. We sat and talked about our body pain and Lucy determined her knees were not fit for another mountain range. I formulated an evacuation plan which was fairly easy since a logging road was .1 from our location. By 9 o’lock we were walking out of camp passing lots of day hikers along the way. It was Labor Day weekend. We reached the logging road to find 20 or more cars parked just beyond a gate. I hoped we could catch a ride out to the road with one of the day hikers but most folks were going in not going out. We began walking the 4 mile dirt road expectig to go the whole way on foot but then a black Suburban came flying toward us followed by a cloud of dust. It stopped and a guy named Papa Smurf rolled down the window asking if we were thru hikers. I said yes and we needed a shuttle to town. He agreed to pick us up on his way out after he dropped off some hikers at the trail head. Papa Smurf was the owner of the Stratton Motel, a few miles from the trail. We waited about 15 minutes before he drove back through and hopped in. We barreled down the logging road at 50 miles an hour. I was pretty uncomfortable with the recklessness of the driver. We told Papa Smurf we were looking for a shuttle to Rangeley to pick up Lucy’s car. He said he could do that in about 2 hours.

We dropped our packs at the motel in Stratton and walked half a mile to a breakfast spot called the Looney Moose. Apparently it was their last day in business. I had eaten here 2 years ago with my thru hiker friend Checklist when they broke their elbow just after Spaulding Mountain. I ordered my current standard of bacon, potatoes, and blueberry pancake. Lucy and I looked up to a TV in the corner of the room which was off but had a picture taped to the screen. The people in the photo were in formal dress holding shotguns.

After we ate we walked back to the motel to wait for our ride. About 45 minutes later we were on our way down ME 16 and surveying the mountain range we had just traversed from our seats in the Suburban. We reached Lucy’s car at about 2 o’lock and drove into Rangeley to walk around town and get some ice cream. It was a bright sunny day. By 3:30 we had driven back around the mountain to The Hostel of Maine where we would stay for the night. It was a hip new place for outdoorsy folks and there were a lot of thru hikers there. Lucy and I ordered dinner from a local diner and ate at the hostel. By 9pm we were both toast and turned in for the night.

Miles: .1 (4 miles on the logging road and around town)

Total: 880.5