Journals From The Hundred Mile Wilderness – Night Three
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 7th, 2:30pm
NOPE. THAT’S IT. WE’RE DONE.
Fuck it and goodnight world because today was absolutely too difficult and soaking wet to hike more than 10 miles. But, if you can believe it, I’m actually laughing real hard right now. And not in the sardonic-I-actually-hate-my-life kind of way. More in a this-misery-is-totally-hilarious-and-I’m-so-happy-to-be-in-the-woods-with-my-friends way.
This morning I woke up and wearily tried to convince myself I wasn’t miserable.
There was a little voice in my heart telling me I’d be ok. But, my friends, if it’s the second day in a row you’ve woken to everything you own being soaked, you know my woes. Have you ever had to put on wet shoes and socks on in the morning?
This moment of slipping on scrubby wet socks and shoes, while quick and fairly easy to advance past, is a little disheartening.
You know what’s more disheartening? When the Hundred Mile Wilderness gets soaking wet.
I am not exaggerating when I tell you that the Trail becomes a water source after it rains in the Hundred Mile.
I know I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again: the SoBo’s were right to look at NoBo’s with confusion when we complained about the mud in Vermont. Or anywhere else for that matter. Pardon my French, but I have literally not seen anything so expansively and unavoidably SOAKING FUCKING WET.
Within 5 minutes of hiking I gave up on trying to avoid the puddles. You just, you can’t. They’re too long to jump over and completely cover the width of the trail, which is lined by thick brush.
So I said aloud to no one in particular, “Fine, FINE! WHATEVER,” and stomped and sloshed forward.
And at this point I was also so soaked that the fucking pine needles wouldn’t stop sticking to me and I swear to god this little detail is going to make me have a conniption.
Chairback Mountain was a hilarious addition to the day.
Why? Oh because, you know, it was basically just a rockslide. Yeah. I passed a SoBo section hiker on the way up who said to me, “Ah man, such a shame. This is one of my favorite views you’re about to pass, but it’s just so foggy.”
You hate to hear that.
The backside of Chairback is this aforementioned rockslide. I really think the MATC just looked at the landscape, shrugged it’s shoulders and said, “Eh, that’ll work, just put some white blazes on it.” Don’t get me wrong, this wasn’t a difficult climb necessarily. Rather, it slowed me down hardcore because, as I’m sure you remember, everything is soaking slick wet and I don’t want to break a leg, but I just want today to be over already, so I’d like to move faster please.
By the time I reached the river fording, I didn’t even bother taking my shoes off.
Seriously, it didn’t matter. My feet were thoroughly drenched. The Trail was full of water. What difference did it make if I walked through an actual river?
This state of mind was very interesting to reach. It’s crazy how nothing phases you after awhile.
As I got closer and closer to the shelter we were just supposed to have lunch at, I felt more and more as if we should just spend the night there. I had a difficult day.
But really, it was Shaaades who was the MVP today.
On this soggy, soaking day in the Hundred Mile Wilderness, my dear friend Shaaades really hit the lotto. That is to say, he woke up in this:
Yeah, THAT is where his tent was.
And so, pretty much every single thing he owns got soaking fucking wet.
When I reached the shelter, he was smoking his 3rd cigarette and yelled, “OH HEY LIL WAYNE.” He had emptied his entire bag and hung everything up. Garbage Can, Winnebago, and myself watched as Shaaades separated his things into “fucked shit” and “not fucked shit.”
Except he wasn’t in a bad mood. My friends, it is on this day that I laughed the hardest I’ve probably ever laughed in my life. We were in tears about how hilarious our lives were. We conversed and swore and screamed about how WET everything was, about how we were still here, about how much we still had to hike, about how we truly did not give a shit about anything.
Important lessons from Shaaades
I hope this doesn’t sound as if I’m complaining about the misfortunes we faced in the Hundred Mile. To be honest? I am happy as a clam right now.
Yes, we have reached a deep level of damp exhaustion. But it came from a place of hard work, and we’re too determined to give up.
I have never experienced anything like this before. It is something truly unique to the Trail. So that is why 2:30pm marks the end of our day. We’re going to sit and watch hikers pass by as we smoke cigarettes and eat too much food and pray for sunshine. Perhaps our shoes will actually dry out, but that might be too much to ask for.
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