The Bigelows!

Day 19

There are many games thru-hikers play on trail.  The most common opponent is mother nature.  Thru-hikers will go to great lengths to avoid hiking in the rain.  One NOBOer shared a story of spending over 7 hours at Pine Grove Furnace to avoid hiking in the rain.  Lucky for him there was ice cream, hamburgers, and cold soda available to pass the time. Since these things aren’t going to be available to us we have a harder decision.
Based on the information we had gathered from other hikers and from checking weather apps when we had service, it was going to rain today.  The latest report has it starting around 11am.  Our strategy was to be on trail early, and with a short day planned, be in shelter before the rain started.
We broke down camp in record time and were on trail a little after 6:30AM.  The only obstacle now was going over the Bigelows, our first time reaching over 4000 feet since Katahdin meaning we had a 2000 foot climb to start the day.
All our efforts paid off and we enjoyed an amazing morning traversing the Bigelows, which included Avery Peak, West Peak, and South Horn.  Such a special place and just as amazing as Eric remembered from his first thru-hike. The climb was tough but gave us confidence in what was to come in the next few weeks. The views of the untouched lakes and ponds just cannot be found in many other places. Maine does such an excellent job in putting nature first and minimizing human impact.
We enjoyed some time at the summits (Avery and West Peak) and then made a small decent only to head right back up to South Horn. From there we made our descent to the Horn’s Pond Lean to (which is a very large and impressive space). We stopped for some amazingly cold spring water on the way.
We arrived at the lean-to before the rain started and stocked up on more water from the nearby pond.  All that left to do is relax and wait out the storm.  Good thing we have a lot of books on the kindle and several movies downloaded.
It started to rain lightly around 11:15AM.  The heavy stuff started an hour later.  Glad we made the decision to push a little further yesterday and start early today.  We have some service here and have been able to update posts.
It’s going to a be long, chilly night.  At least we are dry.  From the lean-to we watch the summit of South Horn get covered in clouds.  Looking forward to town, food, and friends tomorrow.

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