Bigelow Range: Firewardens/Horn’s Pond Loop

Fred Knight, Sunday Hike in Maine

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I did a 13-mile loop in the Bigelow Range north of Sugarloaf Ski Area: up the Horn’s Pond Trail, on a section of the Appalachian Trail over two peaks, and down the Firewarden’s Trail. The temperature stayed near freezing; I wore my fleece on the ridge traverse; a few breezes in exposed areas. Good views from the ridge trail and the peaks.

I was surprised by the amount of snow, but I guess I should have expected some given last week’s storm.  All snow had melted at lower altitudes, but there were traces early on (say 2000′) and a couple inches on the ridge, so most of the hike had some snow cover.  Luckily traction was fine, with little ice and adequate footing with just my boots. Melting continued after Sunday.

I drove north from Long Pond about 1:20 and parked 1.4 miles down the Stratton Brook Pond Road, per the on-line directions.  A short second section of the road was blocked by a fallen tree (that was removed during my hike!), so I parked with a few other cars, including 2 vans from Unity College.

The hike had 5 sections per the map.  The video shows progress.  The trails were very nice, pretty smooth, lots of steps in the steep spots, fairly flat ridge, and okay traction even without microspikes, which I forgot to bring, thinking there would be no snow.

I met only one group, the students and 2 leaders from Unity College.  They were doing the loop over 3 days with overnights at Avery Campsite and Horn’s Pond.  They were traversing in the opposite direction from me, and we had a good conversation past South Horn on the ridge. Other than the Unity College group, I only saw trampled footsteps coming up and descending and only one other person’s footsteps on the ridge.

Summary:

13.6 miles (long one!), 7:25, South Horn (3850′) and West Peak (4100′), good time, big video, pics.

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