The 100-Mile Rock, Roots, and Mud Wilderness
I have completed 100-Mile Wilderness. This turned out to be an exceptionally challenging section of the trail for me.
I got off to a bad start. I had planned on averaging 20 miles a day to get through this section in five days and was hoping for an early start. Five days is about the limit of what my food bag will hold. Due to the bathrooms being filled I missed the early shuttle to the trailhead from Shaw’s Hostel and got a late start instead.
Though it wasn’t raining, the trail was muddy and slick from recent rains. I fell four times the first day. Not good. To top things off, one of my trekking poles snapped. This was doubly bad as my poles are also the supports for my tent.
I only fell one time, but it was a doozy. I slipped on a rock and landed flat on my back. I could feel back spasms starting and immediately took some ibuprofen. This seemed to relieve some of the pain. I spent the rest of the hike berating myself for not being more careful so close to the finish.
The rains came heavily. Fortunately, it was warm enough that I was just wet, not cold. Though I much prefer tenting, I would end up spending all four nights in the lean-tos due to rain or threat of rain.
I somehow lost my way and ended up going the wrong way on the trail. I didn’t go the wrong way too far, but these episodes are still extremely disheartening. As I looked upward, I saw the skies were threatening. I hurried to the next shelter but ended up drenched once again. Would I have made it to the shelter if I had not gotten lost? This question did little for my state of mind.
At the shelter I met a SOBO hiker named Tom. Tom informed me he has cancer and felt a need to get into the wilderness. This put my champagne problems into perspective. I am an incredibly blessed individual. I really need to stop feeling sorry for myself.
The last part of the 100-Mile Wilderness trail flattens out and gets a bit easier. I decided to try to make the 23 miles to Abol Campground that night. The thought of a bed, hot burger, and cold IPA was my driving force through the hike. At elevation, I called the campground and was informed all the campsites were taken. There was one cabin left at three times the campsite cost. I took it. The last three miles of the hike were brutal. Rock, roots, and mud slowed my progress. My toes were rubbed raw from 23 miles of hiking in soaked shoes and socks. I made it to the campground around 6:30 and was informed there would be no time to shower if I wanted to get something to eat before the kitchen closed at 6:45. I ate and made my way to the cabin. The cabins at Abol are nothing but bunks (without bedding) inside a cabin. No electricity to charge my phone, running water, table, lights, etc. I drank the beer I bought at the general store and fell asleep, my five-day odyssey completed.
I have to apologize for the negative tone of this post but that’s the way it was.
My summit to Katahdin is but 15 miles away!
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Didn’t seem negative, just honest —and a good precautionary tale.
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