Thursday, June 22, 2017

Maine #6 (Bigelow Mtn - Avery Peak) and #7 (Bigelow Mtn - West Peak)

Continuing in the middle group (Maine's Middle Mountains), this year's peaks (Saddleback Mountain, The Horn and Mount Abraham) are X-ed out, and today's peaks (Thursday, June 22, 2017) - Bigelow Range: Avery Peak, West Peak and The Horns - are in the purple circle:

I wound up hiking 14.83 miles (in 7 hours 41 minutes) around the Bigelow Range:

It was a BLAZINGLY BEAUTIFUL morning when I poked my head out of my tent at 5:14 AM:

Took my time, and took some pretty pictures on the way to breakfast:

Tons of people were at The Looney Moose Cafe, and a good time was had by all - it was an hour-and-a-half before I got out of there! (EXCELLENT breakfast!) Started the hike just before 9 AM. I did a great job planning this trip, and only forgot one thing - my hiking poles! But (Thank You God) I quickly found two perfect branches to use!

Unfortunately, branches break. But I'm in the woods - there's lots of branches out here!

The first mile is an old logging road:

which passes BEAUTIFUL Stratton Brook Pond:

Up goes the trail, to the left of the blue blaze:

A nice framed shot over to Sugarloaf:

At the top of Fire Warden's Trail (4.2 miles) you hit the Appalachian Trail, with Avery Peak 0.4 miles to the east, and West Peak to the west:

Breaking out of the forest:

and you get the view north to Flagstaff Lake:

A quick scramble up to the summit of Avery Peak:

REALLY NICE view back to West Peak:

View south across Carrabassett Valley at Sugarloaf, with Crocker Mountain on the right:

0.7 miles back west to West Peak:

A look back east at Avery Peak:

Of course I could have backtracked and returned down Fire Warden's Trail, but (1) continuing through The Horns and going down Horns Pond Trail "looks prettier on a map", and (2) at 3831 feet, South Horn is on the AMC's "The New England Hundred Highest List" (sorry North Horn, but at 3820 feet, you don't make the list). So I hiked the AT west, which runs on the north-side of the ridgeline:

to South Horn:

Looking north to North Horn:

then nice hike up to the summit:

and a nice view back to West Peak:

and looking down/west at my next stop - Horns Pond:

I made my way down to the Horns Pond area:

and took the "Blue Blazed Pond Loop Trail".

Um, Horns Pond is BEAUTIFUL:

but it is just not hot enough for a swim.

Then back down to the intersection with Horns Pond Trail:

I LOVE Horns Pond Trail! It is well-groomed, and relatively-direct 2.4 miles down the mountain:

Back to the car at 4:40 PM

Back to the campground for some reading and a swim, then dinner again at The Rack, then bedtime. Thank You God for a GREAT DAY!

I woke up around midnight and got to see TONS OF STARS! But it was raining when morning came,

so after another excellent breakfast at The Looney Moose Cafe, I headed back home. What a great adventure!

Music Thursday - only 2 Beatles albums:

Rubber Soul, 1965

I think Deede had "In My Life" as her Class Song when she graduated from Manchester-Essex High School in 2006.

Help!, 1965

Music driving back home on Friday (finishing The Eagles):

The Eagles - Hell Freezes Over, 1994

The Eagles - Long Road Out of Eden, 2007 (2 cds)

Don Henley - The Very Best of Don Henley, 2009

and then I have some Don Henley songs scattered throughout my iPod:
"Yes It Is" from The Bridge School Concerts, Vol. 1, 1997

"Searching For a Heart" - Enjoy Every Sandwich: The Songs of Warren Zevon, 2004

"The End of the Innocence" and "The Boys of Summer" - From the Vaults 100.7 WZLX, 2000

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Caribou Pond near Sugarloaf

Continuing in the middle group (Maine's Middle Mountains), I wanted to hike today (Wednesday, June 21, 2017) - Sugarloaf Mountain and Spaulding Mountain:

4+-hours-driving up:

(actually 5 hours with stops.)

This was not a daytrip - Wendy has a conference in Burlington, Vermont, leaving-Wednesday-home-Saturday, so I want to take advantage of that and do 3 days of hiking (with 2 nights of camping - shakedown for my Yosemite hike in July!). So I drove up Wed. June 21 to hike Sugarloaf Mountain and Spaulding Mountain, then the Bigelow Range on Thursday, and finish with the Crockers and Redington on Friday (and then come home). Unfortunately, I couldn't find the trailhead for the Appalachian Trail as it crossed Caribou Pond Road!! So I wound up hiking 6.85 miles roundtrip to Caribou Pond and back:

It was a beautiful day for a hike in Maine:

wildflowers on the trail

dangerous bridges:

over babbling brooks

A little over 3 miles into the hike, I crossed the "bridge"

over South Branch Carrabasset River

which drains BEAUTIFUL Caribou Pond:

Returning back down the trail, I was able to take a side-trail to a nice waterfall on the South Branch Carrabasset River:

0.48 miles from the yellow gate/parking area is the AT intersection:

I must have blinked when I had walked past it earlier at 2:20 this afternoon!

For future reference, I wanted to go down and see the river crossing. Doesn't look too bad - I can see the blazes/trail on the other side:

The South Branch Carrabasset River is flowing pretty nicely down here - upstream:

- downstream

Well, back to the trail, 0.48 miles back to my car, 3.8 miles back up the (unsigned) dirt logging road, then 20 minutes north on 27 to the Cathedral Pines Campground:

I had campsite 69 (Sites without hookups, on Lakefront = $35.00 per night):

Little White Speakers - got to have the tunes when setting up the tent!

A quick swim:

then back to Sugarloaf for dinner at The Rack:

After-dinner view from the main Sugarloaf parking lot, looking north at tomorrow's hike in Bigelow Range:

(I'm sure those clouds will just blow through overnight).

On my way back to the Campground I saw some deer running into the woods:

Some mistakes were made today, but obviously God didn't think it would be a good idea for me to do a climb today - that's ok with me. Thank You God for a GREAT DAY!

Music today - I really like what I did with The Doors last week, so I'm going to repeat it with The Eagles:

The Eagles, 1972

singles: "Take It Easy", "Witchy Woman", "Peaceful Easy Feeling"

Desperado, 1973

singles: "Tequila Sunrise", "Outlaw Man"

On the Border, 1974

singles: "Already Gone", "James Dean", "Best of My Love"

One of These Nights, 1975

singles: "One of These Nights", "Lyin' Eyes", "Take It to the Limit"

Hotel California, 1976

singles: "New Kid in Town", "Hotel California", "Life in the Fast Lane"

The Long Run, 1979

singles: "Heartache Tonight", "The Long Run", "I Can't Tell You Why"

Eagles Live, 1980 2 cds

singles: "Seven Bridges Road"