John and I left a very snowy New Hampshire, and headed North to a snowier Maine. We were on a mission: Ambassadors for Maine Huts and Trails. www.mainehuts.org/
There was a large group coming in to the Stratton Hut, and we would be there to help our. As ambassadors, we would help staff 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. by greeting the arriving visitors, direct them to facilities, assist with retail sales and membership sales and provide information regarding our overall project. We were ready for whatever! Before heading to the hut, we met with Skye, the director of Maine Huts and Trails in his office in Kingfield, Maine to say hello.
We were excited about the adventure! There was one small glitch: the group that we were supposed to greet backed out at the last minute, and we were in the hut with just the staff. Instead of greeting people, I would write about this lovely Maine location. The hut staff, Ellen, Saphrona, and Dan, were both helpful and friendly-providing some great stories and information as I wrote.
We snow shoed in on well groomed trails. Most people ski in. The three miles started out flat, then gained in altitude as we approached the hut. During the last mile's hike, the crew had erected a snowman telling us that "YOU CAN DO IT!"
Stratton Hut was such a welcome sight! There was another snowman there to greet us. We worked up quite a swet, and were so happy for warm rooms and hot showers when we arrived.
We knew that all around us were magnificent views of two different mountain ranges. It snowed steadily the whole time we were at the hut. A skiier's and snow shoer's delight. Unfortunately, no view shots this trip.
We hung our snow shoes on the outside rack, and went in to the hut.
Right away, I could tell that the word "hut" did not correctly describe this beautiful 5123 square foot facility. This beautiful lodge is also an eco-friendly sustanable place. It is not off the grid as I supposed. It is a net positive place. During their cloudiest month (December), their electric bill was $60. The bill has steadily gone down, and by summer, will be turning an electical profit with their 33 solar panels that are 240 watt each. I asked Ellen why they chose to stay on the grid rather than use battery packs. She told me that "The grid can produce energy much more effeciently than we can." I had never thought of that. The lodge is heated by a Tarm BioMass wood furnace.
There are odor-free Clivus toilets. It is a flush toilet sysem with neopal toilets that use less than 1 cup of water per use. I recieved such an education on alternative energy and on the science behind the systems used at the hut. It is quite an amazing place! When I hear the word "hut", I think of a structure that was thrown together quickly. Stratton Hut was created with the latest technology involved in keeping the electrical usage low.
Ellen and Saphrona prepared a delicious dinner of lentil soup, beef curry with brown rice, blackbean and polenta casserole and a blueberry breeze. It was all delicious! Beer and wine are also available at the hut. I had a chardonay with my dinner. I heard about the scrumptuous meals of ribs, chicken that are also provided. Local beef and veggies are used as often as possible.
The best part of our stay was enjoying their great room. We read, talked and played Scrabble. The heating system is radiant heat. Having warm floors is such a treat. The hut stayed at about 65 degrees. Our room stayed at about 64-65 all night long.
We had our choice of breakfast in the morning, then headed out on the freshly groomed trail. We had a 5 hour drive ahead of us. Trail conditions were perfect!
As we made out way out, we were able to welcome the 30 middle school students who were starting their trek in. It was nice to be able to tell them that they were going to have a great time in a beautiful place with delicious food and a great staff. Maine Huts & Trails, we will be back!