JP Internship: Stratton Brook Hut

Stratton Brook Hut in the morning sun

Sparkling solar panels caught the last of the day’s light as Stratton Brook Hut lay illuminated by the golden, late-afternoon sun. Snow from three days prior still blanketed the roof of the impressively insulated building, a visible demonstration of its efficient design.

After the three-mile ski in, Benji and Hannah, the hut staff on duty, cheerfully greeted me while bustling around the kitchen preparing dinner. A warm wood stove drew me over to the cozy lounge area where I chatted with other guests, recounting our days in the woods. Following a lively and tasty dinner, Hannah gave an educational presentation on snow science and the history of snow travel for the guests at the hut. She described how temperature and humidity dictate a snowflake’s shape upon its formation, and detailed how different modes of snow transportation evolved to match snow conditions in different areas. The guests, being a diverse group of snow travelers with snowshoers, fat-bikers, and cross-country skiers, engaged enthusiastically in the presentation.

Maine Huts & Trails and Chewonki workers embodying their new partnership on the porch at Stratton Brook Hut

This unique informative experience was part of the new partnership between Chewonki and Maine Huts & Trails, which provides year-round employment to four Chewonki workers and aids MH&T in their educational mission. Mike Spurrier, the Hut Operations Manager, was staying up there with Keith Crowley and Johnson Whippie, Chewonki workers overseeing the new partnership with MH&T. This assorted crowd of outdoors workers at the hut gave me multiple valuable perspectives on potential focus areas and presentation methods for my project this January.

Right now, I’ve narrowed down the focus area to the local/sustainable food sourcing methods of MH&T or their sustainable energy systems. Today, abundant sunshine and light winds usher me off to Flagstaff Hut. I’m looking forward to seeing another hut and gathering further information from staff and guests. Cheers!