Celia Knight, Jason Shelkowitz, and Fred Knight
When we turned around, we were shy by 0.3 miles of the summit of Cranberry Mountain in the Bigelow Range. We stopped for lunch after an uphill slog of 2.75 hours, had a great view of frozen Flagstaff Lake, and were tired even though we’d done only 2.6 miles. We had a calm day in the teens for temperature. There was enough new snow, up to a few inches at the top, to make the leader have a tougher time than the followers—and we traded the lead. I was satisfied with a view of the summit.
We had traveled by car 90 minutes from the homestead on Long Pond, past Sugerloaf Ski Area, and into Stratton, Maine where we luckily found the turn-off on Currie Road. The parking was just up the road. The trail looked packed, so we left our snowshoes in the car. The trail was packed all the way up, and microspikes did fine. I made a movie from our turn-around spot. The trail was gradual starting out for the first mile, then steep from 1800′ to 3000′, then gradual again, but up and down with a gradual slope up on the side of the mountain. We got intermittent views of Flagstaff Lake to the north after the steep section. Then we finally saw the peak , but there was a dip before the final 100′ climb to the top. I balked. We ate lunch and headed back down the trail. See the gaiaGPS map for details.
The hike down was fast, with only a couple butt slides. The topcoat of snow cushioned my steps. Again, microspikes were perfect. We got back in 1:10, while the trek up took 2:45.
Summary: not quite to Cranberry Mountain in Bigelow Range, Maine, 5.6 miles, 1800′ elevation gain, just under 5 hours.