It’s here: The 100 Mile Wilderness

It was here. The 100 Mile Wilderness.

The 100 Mile Wilderness stretches from Monson, ME to Abol Bridge, which lays on the outskirts of Baxter State Park, where one finds Mt Katahdin. It is called the 100 Mile Wilderness because it is 100 miles in which there is no option to resupply.

There is a sign like this at the northern and southern edge of the 100 MW. I missed the southern sign but snagged this photo of the northern one.

114.7 left to go until we reached the base of Katahdin. For me, this marked the beginning of the end of the northern half of my Flip-Flop; 1068.1 miles down. For the tramily I had joined, this was the beginning of the end of their whole adventure; 2093.1 miles down.

The 100 Mile Wilderness

Day 84 – 15.1 Miles

We neroed out of Monson, after waiting for Lava’s shoes to arrive in the mail. While waiting, it was discovered that the MATC advised skipping a section of trail due to dangerous river conditions. I was told later that apparently some SOBOs had come in that day claiming the water had reached their chest when they crossed it. Luckily, the MATC posted a map showing options for alternate routes, variations of road crossings that would get hikers over the river via bridges instead of their own two feet. Since we were leaving late, we opted for the fastest route, which carried us down a long long road. Half-way through, a group of three hikers a emerged from the woods, covered in mud, and informed us they had hiked to the river and upon seeing it, decided against it and hiked back to the road. We felt validated in our choice.

Near the end of our first day setting out from Monson, we found trail magic sitting in some buckets outside a house. The owner came out and told us the trail used to take hikers along this road and right past the house she grew up in. Her mom used to cook food for hikers and trail magic was a part of her heritage. Her husband then came rolling up in his ATV and offered to give us a ride the last 2 miles of the road to the trail head. Lava and I jumped at the chance!

Day 85 – 20.8 Miles

If anyone ever told you that the 100 mile wilderness is easy; they lied. If they told you its beautiful; they told the truth.

The first half of the 100 mile wilderness is all mountains. Granted, these mountains were not as hard as others such as The Whites, or Mahoosuc, but they had their steep moments. But this day, we were lucky, and we had stunning after stunning view. At one peak there was a fire tower I climbed up and I was then rewarded with a full panorama of the surrounding green lush lake filled region we embarking through.

That night we stealthed 0.2 miles south of the Carl Neehall Lean-to (which, by the way, all shelters in Maine are called Lean-to’s) and I heard what I believe to be the loudest thunderstorm I had ever experienced on the trail. My feet had been wet all day from mud, the trail, and river crossings, and by the time I took my shoes and socks off, I no longer had feet but prunes attached to my legs.

Day 86 – 27.1 Miles

Luckily, the thunderstorm was over by the following morning, so even though we had to carry wet, heavy tents, we were not getting rained on and that made it all okay.

The first half of this day was comprised of steep mountains again, but the last 14 miles of it were a lot flatter, allowing us to gain some serious mileage. We hiked 27.1 miles that day! That was, up to that point, the longest day I had ever hiked! I didn’t do too much celebrating though. Even though the last 14 miles were flat, I was still wiped out by the time I dragged myself into Antler’s Campsite at 7pm.

The water in the lake by Antler’s campsite was so clear

That being said, Antler’s Campsite turned out to be my favorite campsite of the whole 100, maybe of the whole trail so far. It was located on a peninsula, surrounded by lakes and it was absolutely gorgeous.

Day 87 – 27.1 Miles

The following morning, the tramily decided on its biggest goal yet: to hike 33 miles. To do so, we all woke up early and caught the sunrise as we packed up.

Sunrise the following morning.

However, I realized pretty quickly as I set out to hike that day that my body was fatigued from completing its personal best yesterday, and there was little to no chance of me getting to 33 miles this day. Since I realized that, I decided to approach this day from a different viewpoint, and try my best to enjoy the 100’s beauty, rather than put my head down in order to push right through it. I stopped at a river and swam, and plucked some blueberries to fill my talenti jar as I hiked, knowing that my days of wild blueberries in Maine were quickly coming to an end.

That being said, the day wasn’t all happiness and rainbows. One of shoes, which had been struggling for the past week or so, finally gave way and ripped fully across.

I tried duct taping it but the shoes were so wet the duct tape came off within 30 minutes of hiking

Then, I noticed that I had a spot on my cheek which was red, swollen, and hot to the touch…

By the time I reached 20 miles, it was not only the fatigue in my body, but the time of day which told me I would most definitely not be making it 33 miles. I was exhausted, and tred, as I continued to put one foot in front of the other. Functioning in some kind of daze where I was only using 70% of my brain. That is when I passed another hiker, who asked if I had seen his friends on the trail. “uhhhhhh…” was all my brain could manage as I tried to think if I had seen anyone.

Seeing that I was exhausted, the hiker whose name was Soda Bread pulled out a FULL PACK OF OREOS and gave me some! I was so grateful and tried to express my gratitude as I consumed the dearly needed calories, and slowly the fog lifted from my brain. We chatted some more, and upon deciding that his friends were too far back, we began hiking in the same direction together. Maybe 0.5 miles up the trail and we hit a dirt road, at which point he told me that he had actual soda bread in his car!! I was so stoked because I LOVE soda bread, I routinely make it at home 🙂

And that is how Soda Bread turned my day around and refueled me to make it until 7pm, when I finally crashed into my tent at 7pm, 2 miles past the Rainbow Spring Campsite. (I ran into Lava at the Rainbow Spring Campsite, and she told me that the rest of the tramily had made it to the Hurd Brook Lean-to, 6 miles up the trail).

Day 88 – 19.3 Miles

The following morning I hiked up and over Rainbow ledges, past Rainbow lake which remained shrouded in mist. I never once saw Katahdin from afar as I hiked through the 100MW, and so as I carried myself out of the 100 and onto Abol’s bridge, I got my first sight. There, at the eastern edge of the Abol Bridge, is the Abol Bridge Store, which is where I found my tramily hanging out munching on ice cream, chips, and whatever other kind of food they wanted. After getting myself a wide swarth of food (ice cream included, of course), I learned that they had not been able to get into the hiker Lean-to in the park, but that the park ranger had managed to find us a spot at Abol campsite within Baxter State Park where we could stay. This actually worked out great for us because staying at the thru-hiker lean-to in the park costs $12/per person, whereas the 6 of us splitting this campsite was less than $5 a person. We had to hike into the park to get to a ranger station where we checked in with a ranger before we hitchhiked to our campsite (it was about 2 miles away from the ranger station). The campsite was also located next to one of the coldest, clearest streams I have seen. Sadly, I do not have many photos from this day because 1) I was tired and spent most of my energy resting than on my phone and 2)… you guessed it… near the end of the day it started to rain!

That being said, I want to commend Baxter Park. It definitely is a bit confusing when you are a thru-hiker trying to figure out how staying in the park works, but the park rangers were extremally helpful, and they take down hikers information such as which trail up and down the mountain we plan to take, and how we plan to leave the park, which I thought was a great safety measure. For example, because my family friend was picking me up from the park, I was able to give them her contact information in the case of an emergency, and they told me that if she asked any park ranger in the park about me, they would be able to tell her my planned route (however, if someone who I had not named as my emergency contact asked about me, they would not tell them anything).

It was here at the Abol campground that I took stock of my walking gear. My inserts, from SOLE, had served me dutifully up until this point, but being made of cork, they had started to deteriorate. That being said, I am a huge fan of them and I believe they’ve significantly decreased my pain on this hike, so I’ve ordered another pair that I’ll pick up when I flip back south! SOLE is another company I will use even after I finish my thru-bike. If any of you are interested in inserts you should check out their website, and if you decide you want to buy some, I have a 10% off code you can use: ROVER10

As you know, my shoes had fully ripped. Luckily Twistys had some floss. So I embraced my inner surgeon and went to work. Overall I was pretty happy with the results:
And that’s it. Katahdin was tomorrow. We had made it!

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Comments 4

  • Randy Chase : Sep 3rd

    Greetings, enjoyed the update. Just FYI when I used ROVER10 on the SOLE store, I get the message that the code has expired.

    • Dakota : Sep 3rd

      Thanks for letting me know! I’ll get right on that

  • Kendra Fay : Sep 3rd

    Wondering what tent you use? Awesome job with the dental floss!

  • Bonnie : Sep 4th

    It was a pleasure sharing trail magic with you! I always wonder what to put in the buckets, and it’s fun to see what you all enjoy! Best of luck finishing the trail.


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