Tuesday August 3rd, 2021, 0600-1430
Little Bigelow Lean-to to Rt 27, then Stratton, SOBO AT mm 188
5161 gain, 5554 loss
It was a big day in the Bigelows. There are 4 prominent peaks in this section and a whole lot of ups and downs. The two biggest peaks (4088′ & 4145′) are a lot like Colorado’s Grays and Torreys…a camels hump, the main difference being that they’re about 10,000′ lower in elevation. I’d been viewing this distinctive mountain range for days, so I was excited to finally be climbing it.
The haul up to Little Bigelow was pretty easy, since I was starting fresh. Then it was a real slug to Avery Bigelow peak. I had the summit to myself for quite awhile, so I got to really enjoy some peakfinding. The next, West Peak, came pretty easy since I only had to go down and up a couple hundred feet. The wind picked up while I was on these 2 peaks, making it hard to hold my phone up for more peakfinding. But I nailed my 2 big prizes for the day. I could just barely make out Katahdin, 85 miles away, and Mt Washington to the south, equally far. The latter is the highest mountain in New England and I will of course be climbing it soon. What a spectacular view in both terms of time and distance…over a week into my past and future! I felt like a Time Traveler, even more so knowing that I’d walked the distance between the points I was looking at…mind-blowing. The PeakFinder app has really helped me recognize such grand vantages and achievements…amazing what a simple piece of technology can do.
Time escaped me today, not really caring about making big miles. I only needed to go 15 miles to get to town and wasn’t in too much of a hurry for once. I took a long break at 3 peaks, including the last, the Horn. I also played with my phone a lot, catching up on the blog and making some phone calls to family. I figured I could do some work AND enjoy the beautiful weather and views on the peaks at the same time. My office space. I had been debating whether to do an in and out in town but great reviews of a brand new hostel lured me in. Honestly, I didn’t have the energy to go a mile further after getting to the highway.
One of the Jens of the Jen & Jen team at Maine Roadhouse picked me up and dropped me off in town near the PO and grocery. I also got an ice cream cone at the gas station…smores, which had to be some of the best ice cream I’ve ever had. Boy is my hiker hunger hitting fast and so soon. I walked through the tiny, quaint town eating my cone and feeling blissful. It was downright hot, a glorious summer day.
I met Jen at the grocery along with a NOBO Lost & Found…I saved him from buying too much food for his next stretch but hope I didn’t screw him since the ferry logistics may make his travels more complicated. We arrived at the hostel, where I got to work with many chores. The place had only been open for a month but the Jen’s had been remodeling and getting ready for over a year. As one put it, they had to become real familiar with power tools. They were high school friends from Boca Raton and now, after raising kids and dealing with divorces, they’d teamed up to do this thing. They unknowingly had just begun their second phase in life tending to thousands of lost and stray kids, with huge appetites. I couldn’t help but feel a little terrified for them. They both admitted they had no idea how busy they would be so soon.
The hostel was full again this night, which is crazy since it’s only been advertised word of mouth and in the comments on Guthooks. Part of the appeal is that they cook a donation dinner and breakfast. On this night it was a full Thanksgiving turkey dinner!!! It was probably one the top 10 meals I’ve ever had on trail, second only to the many extraordinary meals I’ve had at trail angels’ houses. I filled a plate, then went back for another half a plate. Incredible that I can already eat this much.
The bunks and common spaces were equally appealing, with tons of room to spread out. The bunks are in a huge barn loft with windows all around, so it felt like sleeping in a giant cabin. What a cool place. I’m so inspired by such ingenuity and passion. I really hope the best for these awesome ladies. And I’m so glad I slowed down to stay here a night! My body needed the rest and my foam rolling session on the barn floor was awesome.