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

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