Day 157 – Why I Quit In The Hundred Mile Wilderness
Or rather why I wanted to quit (you thought I was done with click bait titles didn’t you?). Also sorry for the delay, Wi-Fi in the 100 Mile Wilderness is absolute rubbish (go figure).
The bunk room stirred around 6:30. I rolled over and caught a few more winks until just before 7. I slipped out of bed and down the steep hostel stairs to breakfast that was already rolling out to 4 tables full of hikers.
Breakfast was eggs, home fries, coffee, OJ, and pancakes. I sat at a table with ZigZag, Feral Goat, and Jolly Green Giant. The hostel even brought out a Christmas tree made of pancakes of varying diameters. We had talks about Katahdin and our plans on how we’re heading home. We talked about what we’re going to do to prevent post-trail depression. Also discussed was our trail weight loss and how we’re going to change our diets returning home.
Feeling stuffed after breakfast I went to lay down and take care of a few chores and obligations to handle before heading home. We relaxed and eventually got around to packing our things. Rain was still falling and had been relentless for the previous 24 hours. The skies finally cleared, and I was ready for the shuttle at 11, but it would not be available until 12.
I thought about a lot of ‘last events,’ that would be happening for this thru-hike. The last stay at a hostel. My last food resupply. The last time getting a shuttle to a trailhead. The next time I arrive in a town, this journey will be over. It was an odd realization. It brought to light the finality of what this last week on trail would mean. We got on trail dry, motivated, and ready to crush some miles. All 3 of those states would shift rapidly.
0.3 miles into the day we had a water crossing. What should have been an easy and dry log crossing, was half underwater from all the rain. Feral Goat, Wiki, Purple Pioneer, Hays, Orphan and I stopped and took our shoes off to switch into crocs/sandals. All crossed with dry feet, but it was a harbinger of what was to come.
The next 10 miles of trail were eventful to say the least. The trail was very wet. At times (more than I could count) the trail itself was a small stream. It wasn’t long until everyone’s feet were soaked. What should’ve been rock hop-able crossings turned into fords. What should have been reasonable fords turned into dangerous and borderline irresponsible river crossings.
My shoes got soaked attempting to swing around a wet bog on a tree trunk. As it turns out the tree was dead, and the trunk snapped as I tried to swing by body around using it as a support. I fell backwards against my pack on a dry hill, but my shoes were ankle deep in the bog. From there on out, hiking went faster because my shoes had reached peak saturation.
We found some tree blow down remnants from a Hurricane Lee and even a privy blow down. We joked how unfortunate it would be if someone was sheltering inside when it blew over. One of the narrower crossings we used teamwork to throw our packs across. Then we crossed the deeper waters without them.
We got to Little Wilson Stream, a crossing to ford that had orange 550 cord strung up on trees to help cross. The waters here were quicker and deeper than other crossings this week because of the significant rains. I crossed first, the rocks below were slippery and hard to navigate without a hold of the rope. My trek poles were useless in the string current. My foot slipped on a rock out from under me. I slid down and soaked my shirt up to my chest as the water raged against it. I regathered myself on the rope and regained my footing.
Eventually I made it across with my pack. As the saying goes “well-behaved women rarely make history.” It’s a description that has never described me up until this point, and I don’t intend to start now. You can see the crossing on my Instagram story @Barkleycharles
I crossed back to help with informative tips/tricks for getting across. Hays, Wiki, and Orphan decided they wanted camp and take a blue blaze around this crossing. Purple Pioneer was looking to finish quickly like me and wanted to cross. I took her pack over for her and she crossed after me with only minor difficulty.
Adrenaline was running high for both of us as we took off looking to push more miles. A few more water crossings and mountains later we got to Big Wilson Stream. This was a crossing we did not feel comfortable with. It was wide, deep and pretty quick (also no rope). On top of all that it was 6:30PM so we decided to camp for the night and hope the water was not rushing so fast in the morning.
We set up camp and ate dinner. We talked about her germaphobia and other disorders that respond well to exposure therapy. She thinks her phobia has gotten worse since being on trail. Sleep came around 9PM.
My fingers are crossed the water level drops overnight to allow me to ford through in the morning. It was a shorter 10-mile day with the late start and water crossings. I’m hoping to start putting up bigger miles tomorrow.
Until then, Stow away in my pack for day 158 on the Appalachian Trail
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