Saturday, July 28, 2012

The Bigelows

The trail out of Monson had a relatively flat profile, and in a few miles it actually turned into a pleasant foot path, relatively devoid of rocks and roots! I made good time, passed over Moxie Bald, and then into Caratunk for a meal, shower and laundry at Northern Outdoors.

The next morning I made it to the northern bank of the Kennebec River just as the ferry was returning from the other shore. The ferry is a canoe  piloted by Hillbilly Dave. The ATC contracts for this service every year because hydro-electric plants upstream release water without notice, causing the river to rise as much as four feet in a matter of minutes.

Two days later I was climbing Little Bigelow Mountain, the first of three peaks in the Bigelow range.

I camped in the notch between Little Bigelow and Avery Peak, and was up and out early the next morning. It was cold and windy as I climbed above the treeline to summit Avery Peak, and it was shrouded by clouds. By the time I traversed the short notch to West Peak, the clouds had dissipated and I was treated to a 360 degree view.

Below was Flagstaff Lake, and I marveled at the beauty of the miles of unspoiled wilderness that lated before me. A few nights later, I would read the story about how that lake had been created as a storage basin by the power company, and how on a low water day one could see the remains of the three communities that had been taken through eminent domain ...

A long descent and a short, tough climb to the North Horn, and I had completed the Bigelows.

Another four miles brought me to a gravel road a mile from the highway to Stratton, and another opportunity for showers, hot meals, a warm bed and ice. It was late, I was beat, and I  was not looking forward to that last long mile. As I reentered the forest, I found a bottle of 12 year old scotch propped up against a tree. Left there by a pair of Irish hikers as trail magic. A nip of that put a different perspective on the evening, and that Kat mile wasn't so bad after all.

The trail provides...