On Saturday, Feb. 1st, Frosty and I arrived at the parking area for trekking into the Bigelows at 6:35. Most of the Stratton Brook Pond Road isn’t plowed in the winter, so you park right near the houses just off route 27.
Rob loaded our packs into a pulk that he pulled with a harness as we skied into the trailhead. The way I ski isn’t much faster than walking. I ditched the skis a bit before the Stratton Brook bridge. We left the pulk just after the bridge.
Amie was joining us on our hike today. We hiked with Amie earlier this year on the BOC (Bangor Outdoor Club) Saddleback and the Horn hike.
The snow had set up firm and was well packed. We bare booted it for quite awhile. We did put microspikes on about a half mile from the col. This is where the steep section started. That steep section kicked my butt. I was moving like the Tin Man from the Wizard of Oz, before he got oiled.
When I finally got to the col, it was time for a snack and a drink. Three gray jays came over to check out the action. We fed them a few crumbles from a Clif bar. It was so cool to feel how light they were. I was excepting them to feel a bit heavier. I also like the feel of their feet gripping my thumb.
We headed up to Avery peak first. Coming down from the peak were two men who had passed us earlier. They had a big day planned. They were going do the Horns after hitting Avery and West Peak.
Although it was overcast, we had clear skies and minimal wind! I really couldn’t believe how little wind there was. After summit photos, we headed over to the foundation of the old fire tower.
The views looking down to the col and over toward the West peak were spectacular. There were great views of Flagstaff Lake as well.
Then we headed up to the West Peak. On the way, we passed more ice laden trees. At the summit, we took more photos. The summit sign for the West Peak was encased in ice. With bagging this summit, Frosty and I completed The Maine Triple Twinter Challenge. Earlier in the winter, we had completed the other two twin peak hikes of the challenge, North and South Crocker and Saddleback and The Horn.
Then it was time for the return trip. The snow conditions were perfect for descending the steep section after the col. This section could be treacherous, if icy. The snow was soft enough that our heels dug in a bit to help with stability.
The Stratton Brook Pond Road is used by snowmobiles in the winter. In morning, none were out yet. On our return trip, 11 passed us. You can hear the snowmobiles coming, so it gives you time to get out of the way.
We finished at 4:40. The temperature was mild all day, about 20°. Frosty’s GPS watch recorded our mileage as 13.1 miles.