Home Forums Outside Places 04 2020-07-05 SU Stratton Pond – Stratton-Arlington Rd. and back on the bike

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    Udar Gromov

    05:19 – wake up. Today is a big long day.

    05:53 – first pictures with a hut and fresh new sun.

    06:38 – very early start of the hike, but not the record.  I am off to Stratton Mountain

    07:10 – I am crossing 4WD road that I would cross again in three hours while descending the mountain on the other side.

    08:06 – suddenly – a sign for water? It there something near here?

    08:11 – 3.2 mi – +17°C – I am at the summit. Hike here was shorter than I expected.  I was planning to do an assessment of my progress around 8AM, but suddenly I found myself at the top. Weather will be good, only 30% change of rain at 7 PM.

    I climb the fire tower with my cold breakfast, dark glasses, and a notebook.  Wind on top is very strong, but booth is protected with glass windows all over.

    09:30 – start last leg of the hike 3.7 mi to the bike.

    10:34 – I am crossing 4WD road again – 3 H 30 min later

    10:41 – left second wooden walking stick leaning against a tree. The trail is flat enough here, and I sense that the end is near.

    11:08 – exiting the forest

    11:12 – 6.67 mi – no signal at the parking lot. Bike is OK.  Begin to mount heavy backpack on the back of the bike. I have 2 oranges and a bottle of coconut water in my bike bag. Nice! Now I need to ride 38.7 miles and I need a signal for navigation pointers. Bugs are very active and aggressive.

    12:00 – start the bike ride from elevation 2,218′. The road goes a little bit up away from the brook, but the first section will be mostly down into the valley.

    Ominous signs “Mountain Road is closed in Stratton” reappear. This time they even show a DETOUR signs.  I am looking at the map.  No.  A complete detour will be many miles away from my desired route.  Instead, I will try to go through a closed road.  How bad could it be?  I took one suggested detour road, but then returned to the original route. This small detour was not sufficient enough. I am still faced with a closed section of the road.

    Sun is hot and merciless.  On sharp climbs I simply get off the bike and walk it with average speed of 3 mph.

    12:59 – OK. Yes. Road is closed and blocked. Easily slip through the cement blocks and orange signs. Is it a bridge? – Yes!

    13:05 – 9,28 miles completed – 30 remains. My average speed so far was 8.2 mph.

    Wow. They are completely rebuilding a bridge.  They dug a huge deep impassable hole in the ground to accommodate a tiny brook.  Apparently, this brook turned into a torrent during recent storm and destroyed the bridge.  How would I cross?

    On the ground here I found a purple webbing tied into a sling.  Good find.  I can add it to my tree climbing gear.  Later, on 07-07 TUE I learned a new for me bear knot that is used to create a loop out of tube webbing.

    13:27 – OK. I am still here at the crossing, but I finally crossed the river. I had to dismount backpack from the bike and transfer bike and backpack on two separate trips across.  The crossing involved first descending into the crater on side, jump across a tine brook and climb on a crumbling bank on the other side. Not too bad.  Now I need to clean up my Keen sandals and my socks – they are full of dirt.

    14:32 – I on the border of Jamaica and Londonderry

    14:50 – 20 mi done – 18 mi remaining. It is hot +28°C. Taking a rest at South Londonderry where route 100 making a sudden turn.  Consume last two oranges from bike bag. I finally won current chess game – the other party resigns.  Now, the score is 1:1 in a series. There is a temptation to visit a convenience store, but what possibly I can get there?  This will just further delay my arrival. I am at the lowest elevation of bike journey – 1,100′.  It will be a lot of climbing going forward.

    15:08 – Next 3 hours I need maintain speed 6 mph to get to destination at around 6 PM.

    16:07 – 26 mi – 12 mi remaining – elevation 1,400′ – There is a little bit of water left in the main bottle. I am tired.

    16:26 – road makes a turn and I am on Forest Road 10. Super tough going up and up.

    17:19 – This is an emotional peak of the trip. I remember this moment very clear. 31.88 miles complete, 6 miles remaining – elevation 1,850′ – I did manage 6 miles in the previous hour – it was a hard work. I am so tired now, but even if I do 2 miles-an-hour, I will make it to the car. I found a tree to lean the bike against, dropped to the ground and continue to eat Nature Valley bar and drink last 12 oz. of water from bike bag that usually stay untouched. Google shows me how much left, and GPS tracking shows how many miles already completed. I started to charge iPhone from a spare battery in my bike bag.  I am surrounded by clouds of vicious flies, mosquitoes, and other invisibles. I am almost flat on the road, and slowly gathering strength to go on. The good thing is that there are very few cars, and these rarely passing cars do not raise the clouds of dust.

    17:52 – Hurray! The highest elevation shown on the map – 2,176′ is reached. After endless climb, the road finally begins to go down. The trip will be all over soon.

    18:01 – Klins Brook crosses the road. Wow! What a swim opportunity with only 3.5 mile to go.  I was searching for a spot to swim, but all previous occasions seem to be too close to the road, too visible, or too shallow.  This is a perfect spot because it is so close to the car, it is quiet and there is a place where I can safely lean my bike against.  Text Lira that I should reach the car around 18:45 and another 3h 15min to drive home after that.

    18:16 – continue bike ride for the last 3.5 miles.

    18:37 – I see the AT Southbound sing where I started the hike on Thursday.

    18:39 – the car is safely here – standing and waiting for my return – final elevation is 1,502′. Excellent!

    18:55 – ready to go – odometer 171.5 – +23.5°C – ETA 22:03

    There is very little traffic on the roads despite the winding down of a long weekend.

    22:17 – I can see the town of Waltham blocked off one of the major streets – Moody Street – to accommodate outdoor dining, and now a long stretch of an important city street is just a festival of tens and gazebos for all the business to entertain hungry customers outside. Nice proactive thinking.  And if this change will stick, it will be a major attraction for people to visit.  Interesting, what it will do to businesses bottom line?

    22:20 – 331.6 – +22°C – arrive home.  First things to do – remove OOO message and reply to urgent work emails.

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