Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Day 148: The Bigalows!

August 2: I woke up early and hit the trail by 5:45 in the morning--one of my earliest start times yet. I wasn't too worried about disturbing the guys next to me in the shelter. They managed to arrive late the previous evening (after 10:00) and made lots of noise, shined their headlamps in my eyes and kept me up later than I'd have preferred. I wasn't inclined to feel sympathetic if they found my packing up annoying or disturbing!

Sunrise from the North Horn!

The trail started off steep and just got steeper climbing to over 4,000 feet above sea level passing a series of spectacular peaks along the way. The first peak I hit was North Horn, about 0.2 miles off trail. Then on to South Horn, Bigelow Mountain and Avery Peak. Despite the difficulty of the trail, however, I couldn't help but smile with the gorgeous views spread out all around me. Much of the route was above tree level providing fine views of the brightening morning.The wind was quite strong and brisk and I wore my windbreak across the traverse.

After Avery Peak, the trail descended hard and fast to Safford Notch after which the trail became considerably easier and slowly climbed back up again to Little Bigelow Mountain--a pipsqueak of a mountain peaking out at only about 3,000 feet above sea level.

Then the trail descended one last time and became positively easy as it went almost completely flat for much of the rest of the day. The biggest hills the last half of the day were barely over 500 feet high. The trail followed alongside the edge of East Flagstaff Lake and I finally called it quits for the day after 17.9 miles at the West Carry Pond Lean-to, located near.... yes, West Carry Pond! As is the norm in Maine, this "pond" is actually a gigantic lake and I wound up sitting on a small pier at sunset watching the sun go down. All-in-all, it was a positively wonderful day of hiking.

The shelter, much to my surprise, I wound up having completely to myself. A large group of French-speaking girls (French Canadians, I assumed) were camped all around the shelter, but absolutely nobody else showed up to sleep in the shelter. What happened to all of the other thru-hikers and section hikers? I wasn't complaining, though. I was perfectly happy to take the whole shelter for myself. =)

Sunrise over Bigelow and Avery Peaks.

That's Horn Pond down below. The shelters where I camped (there are actually two of them at the location) are located where you see those two tiny little white dots directly to the left of the lake.

What a beautiful morning! I couldn't stop taking photos! =)

That's Flagstaff Lake down below, and the trail will be heading down to it then follow the shoreline for a bit.

That ridge just ahead is Little Bigelow Mountain, and the trail crosses right over the top of it!
With great views, however, come difficult (and STEEP!) trails!
Lots of mud too. Thick, mushy stuff that will suck your shoes right off if you let it!

Looking back towards Avery Peak from Little Bigelow Mountain.

Lots of blueberries on Little Bigelow Mountain!
Butterfly sunning itself at the Little Bigelow Lean-to.
Okay, seriously, what's up with the two-seater privies in Maine? This is the second one I've seen in Maine now! Once was funny and unique, but now I'm growing increasingly disturbed over them....

Many, many years ago, this was the 2,000-mile mark on the Appalachian Trail. The road (barely visible in the background through the trees) was the 2000-mile mark when I hiked the trail in 2003. Now it's closer to 2020 miles!
Congrats to me! =)

Sunset over West Carry Pond.

1 comment:

Karolina said...

Beautiful! Beautiful! And congrats on having hiked the 2020 miles! I've never walked that far...