2019-06-05 at 14:52 #7432
Today – MO 05-27 Little Bigelow Lean-to – hike 11 mi through two 4,000′ peaks with heavy snow
Second night at Little Bigelow Lean-to
Wake early to start with backpack at 06:20 AM. Sleep bag all covered in morning dew.
Today is a crucial day – to get 10 miles through two 4,000′ snow peaks in my summer shoes. Yesterday I’ve already explored first 5 miles of today’s track up to start of a sharp climb. What lies beyond – I do not know.
As I advance on the trail – I am counting clearing with panoramic views. My count goes up and up, and finally at 08:22 I’ve reached a clearing 19 – a point where I was yesterday at about 11:50 AM. So far, I did 2.75 miles. There is a signal here. Weather is cooperating. It is cold, but sunny and not windy +9°C. I am considering that I am 20 hours behind the schedule. If not for the fear of deep impassable snow, I could have been done with this section yesterday, but yesterday I walked without the pack just in case I will encounter a wall of snow and would be forced to turn back.
I’ve reached fallen evergreens at 09:05 and 09:09, and my feet were still dry. Now I am very close to the base camp were my trip ended yesterday and I am all anticipation. However, my progress is slowed: at 09:21 I stepped on a wet grass and now both of my feet are drenching wet. Despite being vigilant and trying to go around any wet spots on the trail. Too much water from rainy night and from melting snow. After another clearing with a view, a fell and slide down on the trail – I am getting to eager to get to the first rest point and beginning to make small mistakes.
09:55 – Stafford Notch Camp. I did 5 miles in 3H 35 min – very good.
Next leg will be a steep climb from 2,250 to 4000 that should take me over 2 hours. After 48H of no rain trail is in a better condition. There is no desire to eat or drink.
10:50 I made a stop on the way up. Removed extra clothes. Eat last green apple. I see that snow is still deep in some spots, and I am not even at 3,000′.
By 11:32 I observe a rock formation where I will be climbing soon. Trail somewhat ambiguous. Sometimes I am retracing my steps to find. Trail markers again.
For the next hour it is a somewhat nervous track through large and deep piles of snow. At some sections it is 100% snow. Snow is everywhere. But the nice thing is that my feet are not cold and even occasional bug would hunt for its share of warm blood. Amazing.
At 12:47 I am clearly out of grips of snow. Trees are very low here and sun can reach the ground and melt the snow. I am turning my head back and see the range that I just walked on this morning. It was like walking in the back of a gigantic animal.
Now the wind is picking up, and I am putting on more clothes.
13:00 – I am on top of the first peak – Bigelow West peak – 4,101′. For protection from the wind I jump inside a stone cube 3′ tall. From here I can regroup, take some pictures, change socks and examine the map.
I resume around 1:30 PM. Next peak shows some snow close to the top. I will be there shortly.
In the next hour I need to go down off one mountain and then start climbing into another. Around 14:00 I’ve reached Avery Memorial Camp. It is 3,800′ and it is covered in snow. It is located about 0.4 away from both peaks.
14:35 I am on Bigelow Mountain – West Peak – 4,150′. It is very windy, but no snow. I need to cover another 2.5 mile to reach the shelter.
15:05 after several days of abuse, my walking stick finally loses the stopper ring at the end. Now it is going through the snow and mug very deeply. Would I be able to get a replacement? Yes. It is $8 for a pair, and only need one. It is getting warmer as I go down. Finally, I begin to remove clothes again.
16:39 I am on one of the Horns – 3,792′. From here the Horns Pond and the shelter – the target of my today’s trip – are on perfect display
17:07 I am at the shelter area. It is huge. There are day use shelter and there are 2 normal recently constructed shelters. It is very cold (+9°C) and sunny. The shelter is at 3,151′. Forecast to tonight is +1°C in Stratton, ME.
18:06 There is a signal here. As I was texting with Lira, a group of 9 students arrived. This night (for the first time this trip) I will be sleeping not alone. But they chose to stay all at one shelter. The other is all for me.
I saved fuel all previous nights, by using fire. It is a very good thing because fires are prohibited here. Now I have enough helping of fuel for tea and main course and some more hot water. Today is organic Bleak Bean soup.
20:18 last sun rays on the mountain slow across. It is cold. I am in all clothes and covered with several extra layers:
Cocoon sheet, sleeping bag, hammock and tarp all over. Will I survive the cold?
TH 05-23 Boston – drive 232 mi to AT on 4/27, Maine – bike 29.5 mi – hike 0.7 mi
FR 05-24 Pierce Pond Lean-to 1,167′ – hike 11 mi
SA 05-25 West Carry Pond Lean-to 1,311′ – hike 8.5 mi
SU 05-26 Little Bigelow Lean-to 1,801′ – hike w/o backpack 5.4 x 2 mi – first snow
MO 05-27 Little Bigelow Lean-to – hike 11 mi through two 4,000′ peaks with heavy snow
TU 05-28 Horns Pond Lean-to 3,151′ – hike 5.6 mi, drive 29.4 to bike, drive 251.5 mi
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