Beautiful fall day – check. Nicely-maintained trail – check. Good group focused on being out in both – check. We had it all on the latest Maine A.T. Land Trust hike up Little Bigelow, the little robust mountain just to the east of the larger peaks (West, Avery and The Horns). The summit is only 3,060 feet, the approach is over open but gradual ledges that provide great views of Flagstaff Lake and the eastern mountains along the A.T. towards the 100 Mile Wilderness.
The route starts out at the very southeastern tip of Flagstaff Lake, where the A.T. exits the Bigelow Range and heads over to the Carry Ponds. We headed west (southbound on the A.T.) and very soon encountered the first of MANY northbound A.T. through hikers. The trail winds through a mixed hardwood – spruce/fir forest and the leaves were popping with color. The trail does not ascend very steeply until reaching the ledges, but at that point the views more than compensate for the elevation gain. The sun peeked out from behind the clouds once in a while.
About two-thirds of the way up, we had our first and only view of the summit of Little Bigelow. It looks far away at that point but we made it to the summit only twenty minutes later.
On top, we joined an already large group of day hikers that only grew as the day went on. In the valley below the Bigelows there were yellows, reds, oranges and everything in between on the peak foliage. The summits ringing the view – Sugarloaf, Spaulding, the Crockers, Redington, and the Bigelows – were dark with conifers. It was cold, but worth it!
The Maine A.T. Land Trust will be posting our winter hike schedule soon! Little Bigelow might be on that list…check back soon.