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 Finishing up the ME 4K's on a Beauty of a weekend. 9/3 & 9/4 
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 Finishing up the ME 4K's on a Beauty of a weekend. 9/3 & 9/4
About 3 weeks ago I asked Bob if he wanted to finish up the Maine 4K's on
Labor-day weekend providing the weather looked good. He said yes, he was
available to do so. Now it was just a waiting game to see what the weather
was going to look like. When it came down to 7 days out, it looked like it was
going to be outstanding. We'd decided to treat ourselves and get a 2 bedroom
at Sugarloaf. So with a bit trouble do to Sugarloaf deciding to redo their booking
software, I managed to get a unit. And because of all the trouble I had doing it, I
got a great deal.

Saturday 9/3
Now, it's no secret I love hiking ski trails. So I asked, asked mind you, Bob if he
wanted use the trails at Sugarloaf. I said it would save a little mileage. Only tenths
really. But we'd be right where we wanted to be after the hike. He, he mind you 8) ,
said lets do the ski trails. Now to anyone who thinks hiking ski trails is cheating,
(Bob was one), I think Bob might beg to differ with you now. I'll leave it at that. :lol:

So off we went.
Image

Trust me when I tell you, Bob's not happy right now. :D
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He's almost happy here.
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Pretty sure he was very happy from this point on. Sugarloaf summit.
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Heading for Spaulding Mtn on the spur to the AT. Barely noticeable trail and cairn.
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On the AT.
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Great woods and a nice lookout along the way but had no idea what a PUD fest this was.
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Several downs and ups later, success. Or not! 3988' WTF? :evil:
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We had lunch at another of Maine's man made views. NH need to take notice. 8) But we could
see too much. Like how far it was back to Sugarloaf. :(
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Skipping the unpleasant hike back to and up, up, up to Sugarloaf again. We made it.
Image

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Now for the toe jamming, quad burning, hike down some very steep ski trails.

Bob is out-standing in his field. And happy too I might add. 8)
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Pretty beat up, I figured all we did by using the ski trails was to save a 6 mile drive. :roll:

But the day ended on a happy note.
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Click Pik 4 Pix
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Sunday 9/4
Day 2 was The Bigelows. We pretty much decided from the get-go neither of us had it
in us to do the loop to include The Horns. Oh well. A reason to return someday. 8)
This will be short.

Starting point. Fire Wardens Trail.
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Early morning on Statton Brook Pond.
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The Fire Wardens Trail is a long flat and gradual trail until about the 3 mile mark. Then it
turns into what I think they should be saying in the guides. Straight The F$#* Up!
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One reason I,d like return to this one is to camp in Bigelow Col. What a beautiful place.
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Tent pad in the back there.
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And .4 miles later, Avery Peak. Minus the sign. Basstages!
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Just one of the great views from Avery.
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Now to West Peak.
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Budda-Bing, Budda Bomb, West Peak.
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The views.
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Like I said, no way on this day. The Horns.
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That's it for the in report pics. Heading down the steep section of the Fire Wardens Tr. was
not bad at all. The stairs are so well done that it was quick and painless. The long 3 miles
after was torture. But we did it. ME 4K's, ALL DONE!!!

Click Pik 4 Pix
Image

We had a great couple of days to do this. Couldn't have asked for better. I have to say
this area in Maine is great if your an outdoors person. Camping, hiking, kayaking, biking,
and such. And, because there really isn't anything other than that to do, there's no crowds
at all. I could not believe how few cars there were on the drive back to 95. We drove for miles
and miles without a single car in front of us. If only Rt.16 in NH could be so traffic free. 8)

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Last edited by JustJoe on Wed Sep 07, 2016 7:17 am, edited 2 times in total.



Tue Sep 06, 2016 9:58 am
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 Re: Finishing up the ME 4K's on a Beauty of a weekend. 9/3 &
Congrats on finishing the Maine Fours!

When I did Sugarloaf/Spaulding, there was up to 3 feet of unbroken, messy spring snow on the PUD fest of a trail between the two peaks. That was not a pleasant ridge walk, I must say :evil: .

Also did the Bigelows with snow on the ground, so I can't speak for the steep part of FWT as it is now. But yea, it was steep and rugged for sure, and it didn't help that my Hillsound crampons kept slipping off my feet...

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Tue Sep 06, 2016 2:38 pm
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 Re: Finishing up the ME 4K's on a Beauty of a weekend. 9/3 &
[quote="hiker0200"]

When I did Sugarloaf/Spaulding, there was up to 3 feet of unbroken, messy spring snow on the PUD fest
of a trail between the two peaks. That was not a pleasant ridge walk, I must say :evil: .

Also did the Bigelows with snow on the ground, so I can't speak for the steep part of FWT as it is now.
But yea, it was steep and rugged for sure, and it didn't help that my Hillsound crampons kept slipping off my feet...


That's funny about the trail to Spaulding. Because Bob and I were saying we were kind of glad we were turned
around by high winds in April of last year. And the FW trail up the Bigelow's must have been a bee-atch with
snow.

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Tue Sep 06, 2016 3:03 pm
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 Re: Finishing up the ME 4K's on a Beauty of a weekend. 9/3 &
Glad you guys had great weather for this, though considering how dry it has been this summer it was probably a given. :D I was telling Bob on Facebook that you must have hated those views of lots of flatness and/or small hills. If not I don't want to hear you bi**ching about Southern New Hampshire anymore. :twisted:

Well, now it's time to move into Vermont. You can probably twist my arm to join, and maybe a certain Idiot too. 8)


Tue Sep 06, 2016 5:38 pm
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 Re: Finishing up the ME 4K's on a Beauty of a weekend. 9/3 &
JustJoe wrote:
Pretty beat up, I figured all we did by using the ski trails was to save a 6 mile drive. :roll:


That's not all you did, you missed out on some really nice sections of trail! :D

You sure chewed up the Maine 4K's once you set your mind to it. You'll be hiking the 46ers in no time! :wink: Definitely couldn't have had a better weekend for it either it would appear. But you can have your cushy hotel room. I'll take the campsites at Round Barn right on the lake shore, for free mind you, any day. 8) I haven't hiked the Fire Wardens Trail yet. I went up from said campsites around the other side, so I still need to see these trails and bag the Horns, Cranberry and maybe even Little Bigelow while in the area. Maybe in a long traverse with a car spot. Burnt also looks excellent. Lots of reasons to go back.

Only other spring I have seen like that one you had the pic of is on Carrigain. May not even be that similar. Hard to tell how big/deep that is from the pics.


Tue Sep 06, 2016 7:37 pm
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 Re: Finishing up the ME 4K's on a Beauty of a weekend. 9/3 &
Those steeps are really STEEP! Makes Sandwich Dome, Ammonusic, South Twin, etc look like Lincoln Woods or Pawtuckaway or something.

Fantastic use of that tree for a great photo op.


Tue Sep 06, 2016 8:19 pm
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 Re: Finishing up the ME 4K's on a Beauty of a weekend. 9/3 &
Very nice views and congrats! :beer: Also thanks for the preview of what we can expect, seeing how we only have 2 of the Maine 4K's done so far.

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Tue Sep 06, 2016 8:42 pm
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 Re: Finishing up the ME 4K's on a Beauty of a weekend. 9/3 &
Congrats to both of u, nice crowdless wknd, with good company and great weather. Looks like a beautiful, wild area. Having a comfortable bed to go to with no drive must have helped on the 2nd day. Looks like a rugged area.


Wed Sep 07, 2016 1:40 am
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 Re: Finishing up the ME 4K's on a Beauty of a weekend. 9/3 &
[quote="New Hampshire"] I was telling Bob on Facebook that you must have hated those views
of lots of flatness and/or small hills. If not I don't want to hear you bi**ching about Southern
New Hampshire anymore.


Not even close to the empty views of Southern NH. That's still the loser of places I've been to. :wink:

[quote="Granite Guy"]

That's not all you did, you missed out on some really nice sections of trail! :D


I actually did say to Bob we'd be missing out on section hiking the AT in ME.
I think we're both all set with that.
8)

[quote="Granite Guy"]
Only other spring I have seen like that one you had the pic of is on Carrigain. May not even
be that similar. Hard to tell how big/deep that is from the pics.


It was only as deep as the wood you see in the pic. Probably 8X8X12 inches in size.
Just big enough to dunk a nalgene bottle in. They basically made a tiny reservoir of
a spring that runs across the trail.


[quote="Granite Guy"] But you can have your cushy hotel room. I'll take the campsites at
Round Barn right on the lake shore, for free mind you, any day.
8)

We'll see if you still feel the same when you're my age. :P

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Wed Sep 07, 2016 5:23 am
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 Re: Finishing up the ME 4K's on a Beauty of a weekend. 9/3 &
What a stunner of a few days. I have a lot to look forward to when I get to those Maine peaks. Perhaps you can stay at that tent pad when you go for south horn for that list you will be working on next. :wink: :lol: .


Wed Sep 07, 2016 5:56 am
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 Re: Finishing up the ME 4K's on a Beauty of a weekend. 9/3 &
[quote="thegibba"] Perhaps you can stay at that tent pad when you go for south horn for
that list you will be working on next.
:wink: :lol:

That's the plan. Not too many pads in the Bigelow Col though. You'd be taking a
chance being shut-out. A week day would be your best bet I'd imagine.

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Wed Sep 07, 2016 6:21 am
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 Re: Finishing up the ME 4K's on a Beauty of a weekend. 9/3 &
I was going to wait until I had my pictures loaded on Flickr to reply...but what a pain that is. Maybe I'll post some later.

Anyway, I guess I should have known that when I agreed to go up from the ski area, it would just suck. In Rocky 3, Mr T's character Clubber Lang is asked for his prediction for the fight, and his one-word answer - "pain" - is what I should have predicted for this hike. When will I ever learn? :roll: The difference between a ski trail or service road vs. a hiking trail that has the same elevation gain per mile is simple for me. In most cases, the hiking trail will ascend over rocks, so you lift your leg up onto the next rock, and you mostly use your thigh muscles. With a ski trail ascent you're using your calf muscles....and that's not good for me. I often get serious stiffness in my calves at the start of even a hiking trail, and sometimes I sit down for 5 minutes or stretch and it goes away. This time, I had to sit down 3 times and it still didn't help. Yes, ski trails suck for me, and I'll never use one again for a hike. Never, I say!

Anyway, once we got to Sugarloaf, as Joe mentioned, it was a roller coaster hike to Spaulding....up, down, repeat. I think Joe was more miserable about that part than I was. Serves him right, after telling me how easy ski trail ascents are for him....he's lucky there isn't any place on a ski trail where you can push someone off the mountain. :twisted:

At the end of the day I calculated the total elevation gain for this hike to be about 4200', over about 10 miles....much more than we had expected. But we got it done.

Sunday's hike was a lot better...and not just because the total elevation was about 3200' in about 10 miles. It's just a better hike all around. In fact, I'd have to say that the Bigelows were my favorite Maine 4Ks outside of the Baxter State Park peaks. The views were just spectacular. But boy were we slow going up the steep parts, due to being tired from the day before.

I was surprised at how many people we saw that day - at least 30 other people - and the col was like a busy meeting place, with hikers coming in from both directions and stopping to chat. As Joe said, it looks like a great place to backpack...this might be the only Maine 4K outside of Baxter that I'll re-visit someday.

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Fri Sep 09, 2016 9:25 am
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 Re: Finishing up the ME 4K's on a Beauty of a weekend. 9/3 &
BobC wrote:

Anyway, once we got to Sugarloaf, as Joe mentioned, it was a roller coaster hike to Spaulding....up, down, repeat. I think Joe was more miserable about that part than I was. :twisted:



I guess I forgot to mention the fact that I was the one sucking wind from Sugarloaf on. 8)

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Fri Sep 09, 2016 11:27 am
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 Re: Finishing up the ME 4K's on a Beauty of a weekend. 9/3 &
BobC wrote:
In fact, I'd have to say that the Bigelows were my favorite Maine 4Ks outside of the Baxter State Park peaks. The views were just spectacular. But boy were we slow going up the steep parts, due to being tired from the day before.


The Bigelows rock for sure. There's some nice ridge-walking for a little while heading to the Horns too, though the Horns themselves, while both having open 180-degree views, don't offer much views-wise that you don't get from the main peaks. The Saddlebacks would be the only other 4ks in Maine outside of Baxter that I'd rate up near the Bigelows, though Abraham is pretty darned nice too.

Nice job you two :) Now on to Vermud!

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Fri Sep 09, 2016 11:59 am
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 Re: Finishing up the ME 4K's on a Beauty of a weekend. 9/3 &
I thought the Maine peaks as a whole were a great collection of hikes. I would go back to 10 of the 14 4Ks anytime. Katahdin, N Brother, Saddleback and the Horn, the two Bigelows, Abraham, Old Speck and Sugarloaf were all great hikes in my book.


Fri Sep 09, 2016 2:04 pm
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