Journals from the Hundred Mile Wilderness – Night Two

The following are excerpts straight from my journal as Shaaades and I, two run down North Bounders, trudged through the last Hundred Mile section before Mt. Katahdin. In these journals you will encounter desperation, determination, rain, rivers, hope, and a profound longing to stay in the woods forever. 

September 6th, 8:15pm

Good Morning, it’s gonna be a wet one in the Hundred Mile today.

It was drizzling when we finished getting all of our stuff together. Shaaades constantly has a positive attitude, which is amazing in moments like this.

Hiking in the rain isn’t so terrible. It’s dealing with constant wetness for 3+ days that SUCKS. But right now? We’re still dry. We’re feeling good.

It was with little thought and a big smile that I set off into the rain this morning. We crushed the first 5 miles like it was nobody’s business.

By the time I got to Barren Mountain, I was feeling pretty accomplished.

It was a tough enough climb between the chilly constant rain and fucking roots. I cannot explain to you how many exposed roots are out here in the Hundred Mile.

Atop this broken fire tower I stood, cold and alone, arms out in the wind. I called out into the blank wild. Fuck yeah, I made it. 

Where were Shaaades and Blueberry? Somewhere, hopefully. We would all meet up by the end of the day, I was sure of it. So I kept on after a nice snack of Oreos and Nutella.

And then the hike got extremely difficult.

Remember how I said it was raining today and last night? Well that meant there were puddles. Big puddles. I very quickly learned why every SoBo was confused when a NoBo complained about puddles. There are no puddles on the trail as terribly huge and unavoidable as those in the Hundred Mile Wilderness. 

Before long, my already soaked feet had become completely saturated. It finally hit me how dampened my spirits were.

By 5:30pm, I still had 2 miles to hike. I stopped on a rock clearing to gather myself. Everything hurt. I wanted to stop. My brain was telling me I was a failure because it was getting dark and I still had to hike another 45 minutes. Except the world opened up before me, as if to quietly remind me that I was still in a beautiful place, no matter how much it may hurt. I couldn’t stop now. I couldn’t give up. I remembered that I had been through worse and I am still alive.

Most importantly, I knew I couldn’t take this time for granted. As much as I wanted to feel miserable, this was the last time I would be out here. My days were numbered.

So I put on my metal playlist and hiked on so aggressively that I immediately ate shit. Oh c’mon, don’t pretend like you don’t fall all the time. Kudos to you if you’ve got good balance. But this wilderness is ruthless and soaking wet.

I laughed at my muddy self and picked my aching body off the ground. 2 more miles.

I arrived very damp to camp.

Shaaades had to set up his tent – YEAH! Shaaades the Shelter Rat was sleeping in his tent tonight. The shelter was full of visitors and other thru-hikers, so we were condemned to the piney backyard. We’re both really worried the ground will flood, but there’s not much that can be done.

I set up my tent in the slow pattering of rain. The sun set on us. I hastily ate gooey mac and cheese and talked to Shaaades about our game plan for tomorrow.

Then I removed my shoes. Oh HO MY GOD, my friend, I have FRANKENFEET. This is pretty normal for a rainy day. It still makes me laugh, the intensity with which my feet get rubbed raw.

There are only 5 days left.

I have made it so far and now I only have 5 days. That is an incredibly difficult concept to understand. I don’t feel like this is going to end.

Today I thought about when I was a kid I would wonder what people did in the rain when they didn’t have a home to go into at night. Where would someone sleep if not in a house? I would trudge around my backyard, dancing in the rain, trying to find shelter and pretending to sleep.

Now here I am, a poor excuse for an adult, doing just that: surviving in the woods without a home to get dry in at night. I couldn’t help but thinking Little Me would be proud of the person I’ve become. So many things about the woods and the dark scared me throughout childhood. And today I am literally living inside my worst fears.

We plan for 17 miles tomorrow,

so that shouldn’t be a big deal right? Forward, onward!

Fly on,

Lil Wayne

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Comments 1

  • Edie Poe : Oct 16th

    Way to go! You got this. I did short few days in the AT and it was amazing and scarey at the same time. But I learned what I was capable of accomplished through it all. It is liberating! Keep on hiking!!!! 🏕⛰👍

    Reply

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