The latest in our fall edition of the Next Century Hikes was up Cranberry Peak, the western-most of the five mountains comprising the Bigelow Range. While not a difficult hike, the last trip up in March was in difficult conditions and we did not reach the summit. This time, with much better weather, more daylight and repainted blazes, we were able to reach the summit in about two and a half hours.
We headed up through the foliage, which was at peak or just past at the lower elevations, and then up on the ridge. Arnold’s Well, a crevasse on the ridge in some boulders which is named for the man and his ill-fated expedition to Quebec, was empty of water and dry, as was the trail for most of the distance. Once we entered the higher-elevation spruce/fir area, things were a little slippery and there are a few scrambles up some large boulders. The March expedition had to turn back in these areas due to cold, ice and not much guidance on the route of to the summit. The blue blazes denoting an official A.T. side trail have since been repainted.
The summit was cool and windy, with temperatures in the high 40’s. The group sheltered behind some rocks and had a nice lunch in view of Flagstaff Lake. On the descent, things warmed up a little once we reached the south side of the ridge, and it was a pleasant trip down.
Stay tuned for our next hike on Saturday – Little Bigelow, at the other end of the Bigelow Range.