By Louise Jensen
The last Maine A.T. Land Trust Community Hike of the season and of the year was on Saturday, October 19th to Little Bigelow in the Bigelow Preserve. As mentioned in our Cranberry Peak hike in August, the Bigelow Preserve is in western Maine, just east of the village of Stratton. The 36,000-acre Preserve was established in 1976 by public referendum, and is managed by the Maine Bureau of Parks and Recreation. The Bigelow Mountain Range with its six high peaks is found entirely within the Preserve. Little Bigelow is the eastern-most peak at 3040 feet. The parking lot and the trailhead are located off East Flagstaff Road.
You can tell that cold and flu season has arrived early this year as a few hikers dropped out due to illness leaving only 4 healthy participants. We met at the Tindall’s Country Store where we grabbed some coffee and necessary snacks, used the “facilities” and then all 4 piled into one car and headed to the trailhead. It took about 30 minutes to get there so we took advantage of the time to get acquainted or re-acquainted as the case may be.
The weather forecast called for partly sunny skies but initially some cloud cover greeted us at the trailhead. Heading southbound on the leaf-covered Appalachian Trail, we climbed steadily through a dense mixed hardwood forest following a swift moving brook. About a mile or so in we took the short side trail that leads to the Little Bigelow Lean-to campsite where we visited a section of cascading and pooled water called “The Tubs”. We all remarked how nice it would to be here on a nice hot summer day!
Continuing on, we started climbing more steeply over ledges with open views of Flagstaff Lake. By this time the sun came out and provided just the right amount of warmth to counterbalance the chilly fall air. Arriving at the summit, we found the wind was blowing quite steadily so we layered up to eat lunch and admire the views. We could see the peaks of Sugarloaf, Spaulding, the Crockers, Redington, and the Bigelows and despite the fact that prime fall foliage had passed – the views were amazing.
With the sun still shining, we headed back down, taking our time, chatting with one another and with other hikers we encountered along the way (no thru-hikes today). Towards the end of our hike, one of the group remarked, “this is such a comfortable hiking group” – and indeed it was.
Stay tuned for our winter hiking schedule to be posted on our website towards the end of the year!