9/25 Bigelow Mountains and the Safford Notch Campsite (10.4)

October 25, 2013 at 3:45 pm
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Just 186 miles left…

The weather took a turn for the better today and we woke up to sunlight sneaking in the curtains.  We had breakfast to the diner and said goodbye to the staff and the lingering hikers just as our ride pulled up to the Motel!  We couldn’t believe that one of the locals would show up and help us out like that, without us even asking.  Snakebite is usually faster than we are, but today he really had to hold back for us with his plastic grocery bag slack pack while we ascended the Bigelow region with our full resupply.  We finally crossed 2000 miles!

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Horns Pond Lean-to

We got to the Horns Pond shelter and Snakebite located his bag at the caretaker’s platform.  We were a little bit shocked and appalled to realize that no one had even tried to hide a rock or a brick inside it.  Just when we think we know our fellow hikers, they turn altruistic.

IMG_20130925_151935_453We left Greenlite, First Gear, and Limey a message in the book in hopes that we would see them soon and continued up to South Horn.  The Bigelow range was incredible!  Softer and more rolling than the Saddleback range, it was still fairly exposed and offered panoramic views of the foliage and lakes.  The biting wind that had chased us off Franconia and Saddleback was also absent, replaced with a gentle breeze and some beautiful cloud patterns.

IMG_20130925_160517_375We were so grateful we had waited.  After this point the trail begins to flatten out and the last of our real climbs are in the Hundred Mile Wilderness, so this is the end of the more challenging sections in Maine.  We had an amazing day to bid the mountains goodbye for now.

IMG_20130925_163246_722That evening we made it to the sign for Safford Notch Campsite and decided to stay.  We debated moving on and trying to get over Little Bigelow before dark since it had been a fairly short day, but we ultimately decided we didn’t need to push it.  Good decision!  The campsite was huge and full of great flat spots.  It was against some rock walls and clearly a popular spot for local climbers.  We set up and started a big fire in celebration of Camptember.  We were sitting around that fire when we heard a shout in the distance.  Limey came running out of the woods, followed by Greenlite and First Gear, and they all gave us huge hugs.  We hadn’t seen them since Gorham but here we all were in Maine!  We spent the night celebrating the reunion, sharing stories from our past weeks, and stoking the fire.

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Goodbye, Mountains.

Hello, flatlands.

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