Guest blog post by LAC member, Marge Stockford
The LAC Fall Jamboree
Victoria and I had two worries as we sped north Friday afternoon to the LAC Fall Jamboree at the Grand Falls Hut just beyond The Forks in Somerset County: Had we left enough time to make the 1.2 mile hike in to the hut before darkness fell? And was it really going to rain all weekend?
Good news! We arrived a bit before dusk with only a slight mist in the air, and joined a group of our fellow adventurers for a wander through the wet woods. Backpackers as bag ladies, we hiked laden with all the food, and wine!, we needed for the weekend. Thirty minutes later, we were welcomed to the majestic hut by a warm fire, soft couches and Sue Davis, Maine Huts’ volunteer coordinator and our caretaker for the weekend.
After claiming our bunks, chatting over cocktail hour, then devouring a delicious LAC-made Mexican meal, the thirteen of us listened to Sue share the history of Maine Huts and Trails and her own career stories, including the revelation she is the only female Stanley Steamer mechanic in the world. We made her an honorary LAC member after her classic quote: “You’re all heating me up!”
We slept to the drum of rain on the hut’s roof, then ate a delicious breakfast and, except for the injured Nancy, headed out for a hike to Grand Falls. Again, the weather goddesses blessed us and we trekked for three hours – around 5 miles out and back – under just sporadic, light rain. And it was worth every moist moment. From a distance the Falls appeared man-made, a perfectly hung curtain in dramatic action, but up close, we could see the state’s familiar boulder-sized black rocks lying clearly beneath the water, producing the cascade. As adventurous as we are, we agreed it wasn’t a route to try in a kayak.
In the afternoon, many of us joined Sue in the hut’s basement, stacking firewood into a replica of Lego-land. There were also naps taken, books read, a puzzle pieced together. Then just before cocktail hour, with seven more LAC-ers having arrived, Stacy conducted a jam-packed yoga class in the hut’s dining room. Peaceful exercise on a peaceful weekend.
After wine, dinner (chicken and well-dressed baked potatoes!) and conversation, Gillian and Alicia led us in a story-telling circle where we shared tales of our adventures, both achieved and aspired to. Sailing off the coast of Croatia; learning Italian; hiking Mt. Katahdin; joining the Women’s March movement; and so many more. I imagine a few of them will make the LAC calendar this year!
After another night of sleep to the tune of rain, we gathered Sunday morning for a final meal of frittata and bacon, then helped Sue clean the hut and cabins, preparing them for the next set of fortunate travelers. By late morning, some of us had hiked back to the Falls while the rest headed to our cars, grateful that we had taken the risk of getting wet and cold and instead got “all heated up” by the nature we experienced and the women we met.