Friday, July 26, 2013

The 100 Mile Wilderness

 Left Monson early on a Friday morning with rain storms threatening. The first part of the wilderness is known for large slabs of slate, which turn very slick when water is added to the mix. I was not looking forward to it at all, but I had a finishing deadline and hiker buddies to try and catch, so I was left with little choice but to keep walking.

"The Wilderness" is famous for being 100 continuous miles of no towns or paved roads in between...which means no help/resupply/etc. There's an ominous sign at each end warning of this as well as advising hikers to carry at least 10 days of food. With the way I eat, that would be a 50lb thanks. I was pretty sure I could knock it out in 4 or so.

Overall, I wish I could say better things about the wilderness, but it was probably the least enjoyable part of my trip. With the exception of White Cap Mountain, about 75 miles from the end, where you reach the summit and roll around the north side of the mountain and are rewarded with your first view of Katahdin, there was very little to see. Lots of swamps, ponds, bogs, mud, roots, and rocks. Oh yea and BUGS. The mosquitos were absolutely unbearable and single handedly ruined the wilderness. I would wake up in the morning and have 50 of them banging into the netting of my tent, just waiting for me to get out. It was depressing. That with the fact that the miles, even though I had 100 or less at the time, seemed to just last forever. But I had the end goal in sight and kept on moving.

Came out of the wilderness to Abol Bridge campground, right before the entrance to Baxter State Park, and only 9 miles from the base of Katahdin. Ran into some fellow thru hikers who were killing a day waiting on better weather. I was planning on killing a day anyways, so it was great to have company. Drank beer all day and watched it rain. 

As a thru hiker you are allowed to stay at The Birches (reserved for hikers who have done at least 100 continuous miles) right at Katahdin Stream Campground at the base of the mountain. The only catch is you can only stay one night, so you have to time it right to be there the day before you try and summit. Did the easy 9 miles to there on the 24th, with the intention of meeting Deanna and my parents the next day for the last 5 miles. The only problem is that you gain about 4,000 feet of elevation in 3.5 of those miles....

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