Sunday–August 22, 2021
Location–East Flagstaff Road, then to Hostel of Maine, Carrabassett Valley, Justin & Melanie Steele, Proprietors
I pitched camp, last, on the upper flanks of 4,000-foot Avery Peak–totally alone, save for the presence of those ephemeral lingering shadows shrouded by time. In the selfie posted here, the trees aren’t all leaning and falling down; it’s their upright stance on the steep slope where I pitched!
This morning I manage to break camp, fetch water from the little spring box, get my pack up, and begin the final up-we-go boulder scramble. Rain seemed likely all night, but never came in, only the passing mist. The shroud continues to engulf me now as I climb, the spruce boughs collecting the cloud-laden moisture, then to “rain” it down. So, the boulders, which are treacherous enough to negotiate when dry–all wet, becoming even more dangerous. Slow, methodical progress, up, then up some more.
Near the summit of Avery Peak, just off the sidewalk-like stone path, affixed to a sentinel-like boulder up-crop, the easily overlooked bronze memorial to Myron Haliburton Avery…
WHOSE FORESIGHT LEADERSHIP AND DILIGENCE
THE APPALACHIAN TRAIL
THIS 2000 MILE FOOTPATH
FROM MAINE TO GEORGIA
I linger here the longest time, the vagabond mist whirling and driving through, while my even more fleeting thoughts of those grand trail building days whirl and pass, too, restless captives, vanquished by the evanescent mist.
Off Avery, down through more boulder-slick treachery, I safely reach Safford Notch (thank you, merciful Lord). And the final 700-foot ascent for the day–Little Bigelow. From the summit, as described by Atlas Guides, “A short spur trail leads to the western end of the Little Bigelow Mountain ridge, with a fine rocky outcrop. The view across Safford Notch to the Bigelow Mountains is one of the best you can get. To the north and south, Flagstaff Lake and the Crocker Mountains are on fine display, also.” Standing at the spur trail, I hesitate only a moment before continuing on–through the mountain-engulfed shroud. Sad and disappointed? Yes! But no complaining–none. Memories surely fade, the more for me with fleeting time. But to my dying day, I shall not forget the unbelievably stunning view of Avery Peak–from Little Bigelow…
LITTLE BIGELOW [10-98]
I stand on Little Bigelow
In all its majesty.
While full around, vast wilderness
Is all that I can see.
Once lived a man who loved this more, Than anyone I know.
Tears cloud my view of Avery Peak,
From Little Bigelow.