Trail Notes – August 30 (Bigelow Range – South Horn, Bigelow Mt.)

Today, only 8.something miles again, but I had extenuating circumstances! I did not get on trail until about 10:30 – there were emails to write, a sleeping bag to be mailed to Maryland, other trail logistical details, a breakfast sandwich to be consumed, but most importantly, a phone call to make to the Dad to wish him a happy 78th birthday!

And I have to admit, starting that late, the temptation to not start at all today was very great. But I hiked on! I am resolved not to take another zero until I reach Monson, in about 70-80 miles now. Barring unforeseen circumstances.

So, two mountains today – into the Bigelow group of mountains. There are four of them, I will hike the other two tomorrow. First though, I passed Cranberry Stream Campsite and a side trail to Cranberry Pond. I don’t know, but I am sensing a theme here. 

One part of the trail wove through and around a massive jumble of huge mosscovered rocks. I absolutely loved this part. It was like an outdoor maze, the trail going this way, then that way, turn the corner around a huge boulder, go off another direction… Though in a hedge maze, you can’t cut across the ‘walls’ the way I did when I completely lost the AT. Luckily, I spotted a blaze up the hill and behind me, and was able to continue pretty quickly.

The trail was good, a gradual incline until the Horns Pond Shelter, just before South Horn. Then it shot up to gain nearly a thousand feet in half a mile. Quite impressive actually! My legs felt the burn!

And dipping down again… And back up to Bigelow. Now, this mountain rises above treeline and has some of the best views in the state. I tried to get some good pictures, but only one actually ‘took’, and my finger was in the corner. Blech. It was quite windy up there, and when they say summit, they mean summit; it came to a roundly sharp peak, the trail close enough to sheer drop-off to make me edgy. Still, I do wish I had gotten better pictures, or pictures at all, the 360 degree view was quite stunning. 

The Avery Memorial Campsite where I am tenting Now is not a shelter, just a campsite and a very annoyingly laid out one at that. The tent platforms are haphazardly scattered around, the outhouse is tucked away on the Ile de Muerta and can only be found by those who already know where it is, one water source is nothing but a muddy puddle at this point in the summer, and as for the other…! Blandly listed on the sign as “Water, 250 yds”.

 *pause to tear hair out*

They neglect to mention that the boxed spring of admittedly excellent, very cold water, is 250 yds up a very nasty little rock scramble that is not exactly easy to navigate while carrying two empty water bottles! I swear, I got more scrapes just getting water than I did all day!

Silver lining though – coming back down, I did get some glorious pics of the sun setting behind the Bigelows. No intrusive finger pictures either. And no accidental selfies.

By the time I got the water and got back to camp, it was too dark to /do/ anything with it. Like cook. Sulkily, I ate tortillas and tuna and pepperoni and cheese and gorp, and washed it all down with very cold spring water.

I am very grateful to have the 20 degree sleeping bag tonight; the night is quite chilly! A couple who are hiking together lingered up top on Bigelow Mt. for the sunset, I am listening to them setting up their gear and eating now. 

Tomorow, I hope to cover 15 miles. We’ll see… Once past the Bigelows, I am out of the high mountains and into the bogs – my mileage should start increasing again. I can hope!

All is well.

I hike on!

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