Thursday, February 25, 2016

Hut-to-hut Skiing in Maine

Last weekend we made a long drive to northwestern Maine to enjoy a weekend of hut-to-hut cross-country skiing.  We were a party of eight friends and we stayed at the "Maine Huts & Trails" lodges which are modern and eco-friendly places to stay - they even have hot showers!  We carried our clothes, sleeping bags and lunches, but everything else was provided at the 'off-the-grid' huts.

We arrived at the Stratton Brook hut on Friday evening after a short (~3 mile) "ski" from the trailhead.  It did not bode well as the trail was composed mostly of boiler-plate ice, along with an assortment of mud and rocks.  The weather had not been very good leading up to our arrival!  We spent the evening planning our hike back to the car the next day to pick up our hiking boots and crampons!

We awoke on Saturday morning to 4-inches of fresh sticky snow that was perfect for covering up all the imperfections in the trails.  After a hearty breakfast and re-packing our bacpacs we set off on the  ski to the Poplar Hut. The conditions were fantastic and with the right glide-wax we soon forgot our plans to dump our skis.  Instead we enjoyed a winter wonderland schuss to our luxury overnight accommodations further down the valley.

Saturday evening was spent relaxing and enjoying the home cooked hut food, and even a glass or two or beer/wine.  On Sunday we skied back to the trailhead (where we had left the car) in 35+ degree weather and we got back just in time to see the last of the recent snowfall melt in front of our eyes.

Overal, it was a great weekend and we were really lucky to have a big dump of snow on Friday night so that we could enjoy a weekend on skis with great friends.

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