--> Spaulding Mountain Lean-to, 13.5 miles
I woke up early and lay in bed for a while. I finally decided to get up and bring by stuff downstairs to cram it back in my bag. I was ready to go at 7, but I couldn't get a hitch to the trailhead. I sat around the hostel until 8, then was able to get a ride there. I was on the trail by 8:15. It was a long but not bad climb up to North Crocker. I took a picture then headed to South Crocker, which has a view, to take a break. Sitting there eating my delicious peanut butter and honey sandwich I decided to push to the shelter.
It was very steep down to the Carrabasset River. Lucky for e the water was low enough I didn't need to get my boots wet. It was then an extremely steep climb up Sugarloaf. The trail doesn't go over the summit, but there is a nice ridgewalk along the back. I passed the 200 mile mark at a plaque that commemorates the completion of the trail. back in the 1930's. From there it was a quick up to Spaulding Mountain, then about a mile down to the shelter here. Shutterbug, Blue Sky, and a section hiker Pundit were here already. Its strange not being the first one to the shelter and getting my pick of spots. I don't think that the others that were in Stratton yesterday will get here.
I did the math, and I climbed 5000 vertical feet in 13.5 miles. This felt like the hardest day. It took me 8 hours to do all this. My feet hurt. There is a fire going, but the wind is blowing the smoke the wrong way to keep the bugs away.
It's a bit later, and it is a party here. A guy, Lost, with the Wounded Warriors and another guy showed up. Then a bunch of the Stratton people arrived, and then Bartender. Lost is a character.