Hiking Trail Conditions Report
Peaks Bigelow Mountain - West Peak, Bigelow Mountain - Avery Peak, ME
Trails: Appalachian Trail, Stratton Brook Pond Road, Esker Trail, Fire Warden's Trail
Date of Hike
Date of Hike: Monday, April 8, 2024
Parking/Access Road Notes
Parking/Access Road Notes: Stratton Brook Pond Rd. beyond the junction with Pond Loop Rd. is closed and covered with several inches of snow. A sign at that junction says no parking there. The only place nearby to park legally is along the long "driveway" lot near the junction of the AT and Rt. 27, which has room for about 20 cars. On eclipse day, this lot was full when we arrived at 6:40am, but we were able to create an additional space for one car by shoveling, and we parked our other cars at the Stratton Brook Trailhead parking lot a few miles south on Rt. 27 and shuttled drivers so that we could begin our hike at the junction of the AT with Rt. 27. 
Surface Conditions
Surface Conditions: Snow - Packed Powder/Loose Granular, Snow - Unpacked Powder, Mud - Minor/Avoidable, Snow/Ice - Postholes 
Recommended Equipment
Recommended Equipment: Snowshoes, Light Traction 
Water Crossing Notes
Water Crossing Notes: The stream crossing on the AT between Rt. 27 and Stratton Brook Pond Rd. required stepping on rocks 2-3 inches underwater - OK with waterproof boots. Most of the other crossings were small or could be rock-hopped. Two crossings required a short walk across a single board with a stream 3 ft. below - required an OK sense of balance. Some of the small crossings have steep 4-ft.-high snowbanks on both sides to climb down and up. 
Trail Maintenance Notes
Trail Maintenance Notes: The AT from Bigelow Col to Avery Peak (and to a lesser extent from the col to West Peak) was a little overgrown with small trees. These sections of the AT did not seem very well marked, and multiple routes had developed, especially on the West Peak side of the col, but they all end up at the summit eventually. 
Dog-Related Notes
Dog-Related Notes:  
Bugs: None 
Lost and Found
Lost and Found:  
Comments: The AT from Rt. 27 to Stratton Brook Pond Rd. has a packed snowshoe track, solid enough that microspikes sufficed (though this may change soon). Stratton Book Pond Rd. east from the AT to the kiosk at the summer parking area was covered in mostly packed snow. Esker Trail was mostly packed snow, except for a few muddy sections along the pond. Fire Warden's Trail was similar at first, but the snow got deeper partway up, so we switched to snowshoes, which worked well. The very steep upper section of Fire Warden's Trail was slick from butt-sliders by the afternoon, so much so that if you tried to walk down it, you would end up butt-sliding whether you wanted to or not - to avoid this, one could walk through the 20-40 inches of unpacked snow on the sides of the trail. We arrived at the col early enough to do an out-and-back to Avery Peak before heading to West Peak for the total solar eclipse. Both peaks have excellent 360-degree views even on regular clear days, but with the eclipse it was even more spectacular. I think there must have been about 40 people on the mountain in total, many of whom we knew!  
Name: mathbp 
Date Submitted
Date Submitted: 2024-04-10 
Link: https:// 
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