July 5, 2018
Destination: Pierce Pond Lean-to Today's Miles: 27.90
Start Location: Horns Pond Lean-to Trip Miles: 2035.70
I knew today was going to be a big day, so I got on the trail just before six. I normally wouldn’t plan on walking this many miles with a big mountain range in the plan, but my wife actually used a trail journal from a prior year we had both read to get some further input on the terrain.
It seemed that the hiking would get much easier after Little Bigelow Lean-to and West Pond Carry Lean-to, and so I decided to go for it.
The Bigelows and Avery Peak were amazing! I was up on top while the morning was still early. I stopped to chat with a few locals and learned that the large lake in the valley below was Flagstaff Lake. They told me it is the second largest man-made lake in Maine depending on the water level, and it has flooded housing foundations on its bottom from when the river was dammed to form the lake that exists today. The views from the Bigelows and nearby Avery Peak were just stunning! I loved it up there and spent a while just looking around. They say you can sometimes see a faint outline of Katahdin from Avery Peak, but I could not today.
Climbing down I startled another grouse, which in turn startled me! It flew out of the bushes and grazed my shoulders as it flew to the other side of the trail. I jumped and let out a weird yell! I could hear it’s chicks crying on my left, no doubt thinking that mom was back with food.
I took a quick break on Little Bigelow to eat a snack and have some water. I was standing there with my bug net on when another northbounder came up behind me. His name was Homebound, from New Hampshire, and he said that he had read my journal before he started his hike in mid March. How cool! He was super fast, so he quickly hiked off into the distance in front of me. I’m always surprised when I meet people who have read my journal. It’s a good feeling though!
I kept plodding along, going slowly down the mountain. The terrain eventually evened out and I was able to walk at a good pace. I passed West Carry Pond and then East Carry Pond, where I saw Homebound again, camped near a nice sandy beach. I made it to the lean-to just as the sun was getting lower in the sky, around 7:30. I got an awesome tent site right below the lean-to on the banks of Pierce Pond and caught a beautiful sunset there while I cooked my dinner. It was breathtaking!
I was grateful for the wonderful views of the Bigelows today, the good terrain later in the day and the beautiful ponds I passed along the way. I was tired, but I felt good! It would be easy to fall asleep tonight!