Katahdin, 100-Mile Wilderness, and What made the Cut
Greetings from Monson!
On August 1, my husband, Ian, and I summited Katahdin on a wonderful, bluebird day. Also, the Sawmill Bar & Grill in Millinocket has an awesome deal that if you buy their t-shirt ($20), take a picture with it at the summit, and return with the photo, you get an appetizer, entree, and another “This Ass Summited Katahdin” T-shirt! I can attest to delicious wings, plus Ian says their ribs were really good and the staff is awesome.
It took us four hours to reach the summit, and another three hours and fifty minutes to get back to the Katahdin Stream Parking lot. From the summit to the parking lot, I counted 533 Blazes. I went home for the evening, had a smoked pork chop, sweet potatoes, and broccoli for dinner, and went to bed early to be up to head to Baxter for gate opening again the next day.
I went as far as the Hurd Brook Lean-To on my first day, a total of 13-miles on my fresh legs. I dawdled a bit the next morning, chatting with CABOT, and didn’t get started until just before 9. It was a tough climb up to Rainbow Ledges, but the view was well worth it- my first sight of Katahdin from the trail! I could have stayed longer and kept picking wild blueberries, but there was rain in the forecast, so I decided to get a move on.
It thundered for a few hours without much sign of rain. Then it sprinkled for long enough for me to put my pack cover on, but stopped a few minutes later. I thought “well if that’s the rain, I’ll take it!” I thought too soon. Within the next ten minutes it began to rain. Hard. Then harder. It continued to absolutely pour, with thunder and lightning, for TWO hours. It finally let up about ten minutes before I arrived at Rainbow Stream Lean-To. How many people can say they Aqua Blazed in Maine? I most definitely did!
After that day of rain, I had pretty good weather, and enjoyed MANY swim calls!
The best part of my first 100-miles was my trail family! Ladybird & Vintage were section hiking the Wilderness, and we hiked “together” from Katahdin all the way to Monson, yo-yoing back and forth and motivating each other to get through two back-to-back 15+ mile days.
These two were even scoping out camping spots to stay that had enough trees for me to hang my hammock. I would not have made in through the Wilderness in 8 days without them! Also with us during that time were Lucky One and Eager Beaver, but I unfortunately did not get any pictures of them. My awesome husband made a video with my footage from the first four days on-trail: Beginning the AT
The 100-Mile Wilderness was hard, no denying that. However, conquering this first obstacle has strengthened my resolved to continue a thru-hike attempt. Two big tips: 1) EAT! If you have hunger pains at 3am, just grab a protein bar or something and eat it. 2) Don’t forget your sleeping bag- it gets cold out there 😉
I received a lot of feedback on my Gear post, so I thought I would update as to what adjustments I have made in the first 114 miles.
- SheWee is gone. When I have to pee, I don’t have time to get it out, put it together, and position it properly. I grew up in Arkansas, I know how to pop-a-squat, and I will continue to do so.
- Primus Stove was heavy. Instead, I made a tuna can alcohol stove, which cut FOURTEEN ounces!!
- Bear Spray. I guess those east coast bears aren’t quite the same as the west coast bears.
- Solar Charger is getting traded out for a small battery pack.
More when I finish Maine!
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