Wetfoot and Arry, Vol. 7. Days 13 and 14: Resupply and Mosquitoes
Day 13: 16.1 Miles
We made our timehack. By several hours. Then we proceeded to be eaten alive while we waited. And now I am holed up in my tent, making myself sick, stuffing myself with Twizzlers.
Let me back up. It rained last night. What a surprise.
We got an early-morning start. Climbed up Little Boardman Mountain. You know how I feel about little mountains. As I was putting one foot in front of the other I realized my steps were no different than when I climbed Mount Fuji. Still climbing upward. In the act, Little Boardman is no different. Where the difference comes, is I only go through the pain for five minutes with Little Boardman.
And now I’m going to get philosophical for a moment. This is what happens when you walk for days with a dog as company.
In life, we struggle and others struggle. Just because we don’t perceive their struggle to be as long and arduous as ours was, doesn’t mean that at this one moment in time it is any less painful.
However, let me share that Arry was nonplussed with the view of Little Boardman so we carried on to Crawford Pond Beach. It is a cute little sand beach that Arry had to run up and down the shoreline barking at the waves. (And I always think she is sooo tired.)
I felt we were ahead of schedule so we stopped for a snack and to refill water at Cooper Brook Falls lean-to. It was a gorgeous view. There I met Jacob, a mostly SOBO like myself who started in Monson, and a SOBO who skipped Khatadin. The SOBO hiker said the bugs only get worse. Yikes! I didn’t enjoy being in the mountains hard enough!
As we came to Jo-Mary Road it was just after 10 a.m. Jacob was sitting on the bridge! He was also waiting for a resupply from Shaw’s at noon. What are the odds! As we waited I applied multiple doses of bug spray to myself and essential oils to Arry. A few other hikers showed up as we were being eaten alive.
Caju Fires went from Springer Mountain to Monson last year, then broke her arm… you know while hiking 1,000 miles on a busted foot. She skipped the 100-Mile Wilderness and did as much of Katahdin as she could, and called it a hike. She is finishing up the last miles and is excited to have a real summit!!
We also met Sunshine and her uncle. Sunshine is thru-hiking mostly SOBO; she started in Monson as well. Her family is super supportive and although not really hikers they are going out of their way to hike portions with her. Her uncle hiked the first bit of the 100-Mile Wilderness with her, and was waiting for a shuttle at Jo-Mary. He said he couldn’t hike fast enough in his old age, which I think was very humble, because I’m sure she didn’t ask him to leave. When she gets to Katatadin her parents are going to summit with her, and then her mom will hike south with her from Monson.
I’m happy she has so much support. I remember my first days on the trail by myself were hard emotionally and mentally; physically too, I suppose. But I think in under two weeks I have become stronger because of it. You know I never thought we’d be pulling 15- to 16-mile days this early. That is a testament to Arry, but also people like Poet and my boyfriend, who believed in me and let me take baby steps to continue to challenge myself.
Our resupply came, and we quickly packed the goodies into our bags (in my case a bear can). I was planning to take ten days to complete this, and this was a five-day resupply. Of which, I plan to use three nights and three days worth. But stingy me said I paid for this food I’ll use it when I’m done hiking, and besides the worst of the terrain is over. I also packed out a huge bag of Twizzlers. I’m not sure why I didn’t divide it into two halves. Long story short, to get everything to fit, and to decrease weight, I’ve been housing Twizzlers. I’ll pay for it these next three days I’m sure.
Jacob, Sunshine, Arry and I hiked the four miles to Antlers Campsite where Arry and I were calling it a night. I forgot what it is like hiking with other people! Those four miles seemed to fly by! Perhaps someday I will see them again on the trail, but until then, I wish them the happiest of trails and the least of the mosquitoes.
Antlers is a gorgeous campsite, right off Lower Jo-Mary Lake. The tent sites are spacious and the view is gorgeous. I would give it a ten star review, but this time of year the mosquitoes are on a mission.
Day 14: 13.6 Miles
Antlers campsite was beautiful. Buggy but beautiful. We had a gorgeous sunset that I stayed awake for (a first) and a beautiful sunrise. I watched from the safety of my tent. When it hit a threshold of wonderfulness I would dash out to take a picture and then rush back inside.
Did I mention the bugs were ruthless? I packed as much as I could inside my tent this morning, took a breather, and then packed the tent as fast as I possibly could.
We started early, and caught a gorgeous view of Katahdin from Twitchell Brook. The rest of the 100-Mile Wilderness seems to mostly go around lakes and ponds, as if the creators found a bunch of mountains and then had no more ideas as to what they should route the trail around, so they said let’s make them hike around the water features. Don’t get me wrong; they are beautiful, just buggy.
We passed the pickup site for White House Landing. It is a little resort 30 miles into the wilderness. You call them and they pick you up on a boat. There’s a little sign along the trail, beneath it is a business card. We skipped it; sadly, you can’t bring dogs.
As we rounded Nahmakanta Spring lean-to, Arry woofed. The “Hey mom. There’s someone up ahead” kind of woof. Once we caught up, it was Sunshine!! It was so nice to see a friendly face!
We hiked together for a few miles, talking about everything: family, life, books, the trail, etc. It was really nice hiking with her because she leads, and Arry will (usually) follow her, which gives me a chance to kind of relax with Arry off leash. Sunshine hikes fast. I thought we hiked fast, but at times I was struggling to keep up. She is on a mission to meet up with her family to hike Katahdin. I know she will make it with plenty of time to spare.
As Arry and I were calling it quits for the day at Wadleigh Campsite, Sunshine and I planned to stop for lunch there. We passed a beach by Southern Nahmakanta Lake that was gorgeous. And windy. Ergo minimal bugs. We couldn’t pass up the opportunity for a great view without bug nets, so we quickly changed lunch reservations! Sunshine gave me half a Snickers (I haven’t had chocolate since starting this journey!) And I gave her some dried mango.
When we finally arrived at the campsite, there were some SOBOers who had summited Khatadin eating lunch. The busy trails have begun!
Arry and I left to scope out a tent site before it all got too crowded at the end of the day. When we returned, a hiker was at the lean-to eating lunch. It was Jacob! I dubbed him Roadie. We shall see if it sticks. He made it to White Landing just in time for pizza last night, and hiked out half of it. He said he was trying to decrease his pack weight, so of course Arry and I helped him eat it! (I shared some Twizzlers. Not sure if I’ll be able to eat them any time soon after last night.) And then he was off to meet Sunshine at Rainbow lean-to.
It seemed like we had just set our tent up when who should swing by but Cajun Fires! I’m starting to see the wonderful part of the hiking community. Her foot was quite swollen and she was trying to decrease the swelling. I let her use my phone to arrange a meet-up with her brother so she could slack pack tomorrow.
There are several SOBOers and a NOBO just about to finish (woo!) And a few mostly SOBOs. It is nice to have conversation with people, to share stories and insight, and pass along trail knowledge. And there are fewer bugs here!!!
Also, Wadleigh Campsite is at the bottom of the first spread of pages in my guidebook. Katahdin is finally at the top of the page I’m on! We have 23 miles until we are out of the 100-Mile Wilderness and then I’ll only have about 15 to go! Crazy how far we have come, even though we still have so far to go.
Poor dog is getting spoiled with a 16-day walk! She is doing awesome! But it isn’t all fun and games. I liken it to hiking with a three-year-old. Her needs have to come first. The Mushers Secret on the paws, essential oils for the bugs, making sure she eats enough, setting the tent up before taking off my hiking boots so she can rest in peace from the bugs, and also carrying extra weight. It is her hike, and I take it personally to ensure that she is healthy and most importantly happy and enjoying the trail.
I know we could have made it out of the 100-Mile Wilderness in seven days. It seems sad to leave our first friends. But I just have to be content, and find joy in relaxing and these next two 11-mile days. We will get there. And we will enjoy the journey. And that is one of the sacrifices of having a dog; you can’t always go where your dogless friends can.
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