100 Appalachian Trials in the 100 Mile Wilderness
Sometimes plans change, and so I found myself summiting Katahdin 4 months ahead of schedule.
My NoBo hike turned into a flip flop- after hiking 470 miles north from Mt. Springer to Damascus, I’ll be completing my journey southbound with my boyfriend and two more friends. I’ll miss my northbound trail family, but I get to cross paths with them again in the coming months. The extra friends now are a bonus in addition to leaving the chaos of the Super Bubble. Not missing 30+ people at campsites at all.
But I didn’t expect to get slapped in the face by the “100 Acre Woods” as badly as I did.
My finest moment was spent sitting under my tiny umbrella halfway up the rock scramble on Chairback Mountain crying my eyes out in the pouring rain.
The Wilderness is devoid of the luxuries of the south that include “switchbacks,” “drainage ditches,” “paved roads to food,” and “bridges over rivers”. I had gotten used to hammering out 16-18 miles in 8 or 9 hours and suddenly a mere 12 miles required 10 hours.
Knowing the mileage would be low since everyone but me in the group was just starting the thru hike, we only planned 12-14 miles a day and 7.5 days total to arrive in Monson. My boyfriend, here on out known as That Guy, and I managed to meet that goal. Cinder and Gonzo ended up arriving a day behind us.
But it’s about the journey right?
My biggest mistake was packing food like I would for hiking 12-14 miles of lovely winding southern trail.
My hiker hunger kicked in like I was hiking 20 mile days. I felt completely sapped of energy by early afternoon and was shaking with hunger by dinnertime since I had to ration my lunch and snacks so sparsely. Had I been fully nourished, I probably could have reached Monson a day sooner but I did what I could with my resources.
Of course, when it rains, it pours. The first three days were a battle between rain showers, mosquitos, and black flies. Then up into the mountains for (slippery and wet) rock scrambles combined with amplifying hunger. And wet muddy shoes the whole time because, why not? Had I not experienced the lovely southern portion of the AT this spring, I would have seriously been questioning why I’m doing this to myself.
Finally when my legs, feet, and whole body couldn’t take any more, I made it to Monson and celebrated with not just one but two zeros. The first was to rest up physically and the second was to get my head back in the game for the remaining 1640 miles.
With that out of the way, I’m ready to resume town stops every 3-5 days!
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