Maine Appalachian Trail Hike Days 9 & 10: The Bigelow Mountain Range

After staying with Ma and Pa (thank you to them for housing and feeding us for a night) at Cathedral Pines Campground in Eustis, we got off to a late start on the morning of day nine. We reached the trailhead at 10:30 am and on the drive in we could see that the Bigelow peeks were blanketed in fog. With more rain in the forecast, it was looking like it was going to be a long day. Fortunately we knew there was a lot of campsites to choose from over the Bigelows if we got into any trouble.

The Bigelow Range was probably tougher than the Saddleback Range, though the difference between the two is practically a coin flip. We covered 10.4 steep, rocky, rugged miles over the course of the day, summiting the South Horn, elevation 3805, the West Peak, 4145, and the Avery Peak, 4088. Though we only did ten miles, we were pretty much spent by the time we reached the Safford Notch Campsite.

We did mange to get through the day without getting rained on; however, there was so much fog near the top of the mountain that the trees collected water and every time there was a gust of wind we practically got rained on. It did rain overnight, so we once again woke up to everything being wet, which is starting to become a bad habit. Also, despite my best job yet of hanging our food (there were signs warning of bear in the area) a raccoon was able to climb down the rope onto my stuff sack and chew a hole through it. Well, at least it was a raccoon and not a bear.

The morning of day ten presented us with Little Bigelow Mountain, elevation 3040. While much less demanding than its bigger brother, Little Bigelow had seven or eight false peeks that got us wondering if we’d ever get there. There was also some cause for celebration once we got over Little Bigelow, as there is only one 3000+ foot mountain left between there and Katahdin. We were able to take advantage of the relative smooth sailing by putting in close to seventeen miles today.

We also bypassed the shelter we were planning on staying at and are camping tonight at a stealth site along East Carry Pond. I’m looking forward to listening to the loons tonight, hopefully it will make for a good night’s rest. Our big push today should enable is to get into Caratunk a day earlier than planned. We’re hoping this will afford us an extra day of rest (and gouging ourselves on food) when we get to Monson. First things first, we need to get to the ferry crossing for the Kennebec River tomorrow, which runs from 9-11 am and then 2-4 pm. With just ten easy miles between us and the ferry, we shouldn’t have any trouble making it. Famous last words, I know…

We were only beginning the climb…

We stopped for a snack break at a “viewpoint.”

In the time it took me to take my boots off, the fog cleared a bit.

Getting there…

Right…

Take two.

A look back from Little Bigelow.

The view from our campsite on East Carry Pond.

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Maine, Maine Appalachian Trail
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Wow! You made it all the way to the bottom. If you enjoyed this article, please check out my book, Open Season: True Stories of the Maine Warden Service on Amazon or at www.wardenstories.com. You can also follow Northeast Hikes on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, as well as contribute to our sponsored Google+ Community.

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