You Will Die in the 100 Mile Wilderness!

Before heading out on the AT, I read all about the daunting 100 Mile Wilderness. Comments ranged from it was completely flat to it was completely impassible. Although I felt I was in shape, I can’t say that I wasn’t nervous. I took careful time to prep. The wilderness was absolutely difficult but it was also beautiful and I was fully prepared. By the end of the section, I was sore but full of joy.

At the end of the 100 Mile Wilderness with my good friend Tenacious.

My First Day Alone (13.4 miles)

My fiancé and friends left at 4 a.m. on Sunday morning. I woke up with them to say goodbye. Tears were shed and hugs were shared. I couldn’t comprehend what was happening at the time.. but that would hit later that day. As the car left, I waved goodbye and went back into my tent. I slept for another hour or two and then woke up to the bright sun shining through my tent.

When I awoke, I realized that my dream may have been a nightmare. No one was with me to pat me on the back and tell me it would all be ok. I packed my tent and bag and began down the trail. I was immediately met with mosquitoes and boggy terrain. I made fast time and exited the state park before lunch. Immediately after the park, I reached Abol Bridge’s general store. I met Truman, another SOBO, and grabbed a beer to enjoy with lunch.

A pond on the way out of the park.

Another three miles and I made it to my first shelter of the trail. I camped here for the night to save my feet and legs from injury. Truman carried on. I was also thankful to meet Turtle Tracks and Steve, who were so kind and offered words of support. It was only one p.m., but I knew it was time to stop hiking. The rest of the day was hard. It was the only time I ever considered quitting.

The realization that I had to be away from friends and family for months had hit me. I cried a lot that evening. I was grounded by letters from my mom, fiancé, and a letter to myself that outlined the reasons I must hike the trail. I could have quit. I could have been home within a day. I could have shared a comfortable bed with Kara. But those options would have meant leaving my dream behind. That would have meant all of my preparation was for nothing. Did I come out here for comfort or to push my limits? The answer is the latter. I did not quit. I cried and I am proud to admit it. I cried because I knew the physical and mental challenges were not going to be easy. But I figured.. better to cry and continue than to smile and quit.

My nervous smile at the start of the 100 Mile Wilderness.

Day 3 in the Woods (19.4 miles)

The morning after that lonely night was much better. I saw a massive toad and heard a bull moose bugle across a pond. I moved quickly and made it to Hurd Shelter by lunch. I waited out a fat rain storm. Took time to stretch and eat for a few hours. I decided to push myself and do another eight miles to Wadleigh Stream Shelter. I took a hard fall on a slippery rock but luckily was uninjured. Sore feet and a chaffed ass didn’t stop me from making nearly 20 miles. I met some great NOBOs (Lunchbox and Joe Baby) and then hit the hay. Couldn’t have asked for a more challenging day!

A beautiful section of boggy trail.

Day 4 (13.5 miles)

Started the day easy due to the big previous day. Everything was damp. Mosquitoes weren’t as bad today. I saw four snakes along the way and ran into a lot of NOBOs. I took a ton of breaks to stretch and rest. Every day I got more motivated to keep hiking. Hiker hunger was becoming real. I stopped at Antlers campsite, which was absolutely beautiful. I was joined by a few other groups but the spot felt remote and relaxing. A quick swim and wash-up in the lake were just what I needed. Couldn’t have asked for a more perfect day!

A photogenic red squirrel!
My tent in the sunset at antlers campsite.
An amazing view over the lake at Antlers campsite.

Day 5 (16.1 miles)

Woke up at 5:50 am to a beautiful sunrise. Gathered my things and took a massive poop. After four miles, I stopped at Jo Mary Road for a resupply. I saw a bull moose crossing the road and was excited!

A bull moose on Jo Mary Road crossing.

Another four miles to Cooper Shelter. I had lunch and swam in the falls despite the comments about leeches in the log book. Pushed another eight miles to East Branch Shelter. Saw another two snakes and my feet finally felt OK. Sore on the rest of my body, though!

View looking back on Katadhin!

Day 6 (10.8 miles)

Another early morning, only this time I slept in the shelter. Rained hard last night and Birddog snored a lot. Coffee equals lots of poop. Made it up White Cap before 10 a.m. No views due to the clouds, but it was great to make it over this milestone. It was a chilly day and I stopped early to rest up. I had a lazy afternoon at camp and took a nap in my tent. I had a fire and got to hang with Barak later that night. I learned how to PCT hang my food to keep it away from bears. I slept like a brick and enjoyed the restful night!!

A mountain worth climbing (not White Cap).

Day 7 (11.6 miles)

Woke up to Barak (a fellow SOBO) packing his bags. I got up and made coffee, followed by a you guessed it… another massive poop. I quickly met up with Tenacious. We hiked and talked for a few miles and were soon met with the ford of the West Branch River. The water was low and the ford was easy. He took a break on the other side and I continued up the chairbacks. The climb up was tough but I took it slow. At the top of the first mountain, I was able to call Shaw’s Hostel and reserve a couple of nights. Tenacious, Barak, and I camped at West Chairback Pond and it was amazing. The views were spectacular and the water was perfect for an afternoon swim.

I was rewarded with the trail name “No Kiddin” that night. I told Barak that a perfect tent site was just down the trail. After a bit of indecisiveness, he went down the trail and saw the amazing site. He said, “woah damn, No Kiddin” and that became my trail name. We had a perfect night at the pond. Wind cruised through our tents. Rain followed that night and into the morning but it didn’t bother any of us.

View from West Chairback Pond camping area.

Day 8 (13.9 miles)

“Go fast when you can, slow down when you have to.” Rain in the morning led to fast packing up and fast hiking. I caught up to Tenacious a few miles in and we stuck together for the remainder of the day. The trail was steep, rocky, rooty, and wet. I was glad to have someone with me in case one of us were to take a bad fall. After hiking Barren mountain and getting a barren view, we descended to a lower elevation plateau. Luckily the clouds cleared, and we could see the surrounding forests.

A beautiful view on the descent of Barren Mtn.

As we descended further, we hit a roaring creek that provided a much-needed water refill and some new friends. Skip and Courtland were having lunch at the bottom. They were also going SOBO and started just a day or two before me. It worked out that we all planned to stay at the same shelter that night.

Roaring creek in the valley.

Nearing the shelter, we passed a big milestone for me, the 100-mile mark. I couldn’t believe my eyes. I remember struggling through every mile, yet 100 of them went by so fast. I took a picture, and Tenacious just laughed; he had been there and done that on his previous thru-hike.

100 Mile Mark!!

Tenacious and I made it to the shelter first. The tenting options weren’t great but we made it work. A group of girls from a summer camp showed up and their counselor had badly cut her knee fording a creek. They were well prepared and were able to get her to a logging road for a trip to the ER. Around this time, Skip and Courtland showed up. We made dinner and shared good conversation. An hour or so later, Skip pointed and said, “Barak.” Of course, I heard “Bear” and quickly turned only to be surprised to see a friendly face. This was another great day.

Day 9 (10.6 miles)

Woke up to everyone packing up. Seems to be a theme, but I always seem to make it out of camp fast. Today I was hiking by 6:45 am, excited to make it into the town of Monson. The weather was perfect and the forests were beautiful. I passed through beaver dams, ponds, waterfalls, and dense forests.

A creek on the last day of the 100 mile.

Eventually, I caught up to Tenacious and we hiked the last three miles to the road. Most of our conversation was about the nature that surrounded us and how happy and proud we felt to be coming out of the wilderness.

Small brook carving through a valley.
One of the last ponds in the 100-mile wilderness.

Upon arriving at the road, we were met with a married couple who had hiked the trail in a year past. They met on trail, got married shortly after, and now have a happy family together. A few days before, Tenacious asked me what I wanted when I got out of the wilderness. I said a cold beer. Well this couple happened to have a cooler full of cold beer and offered me one (along with half a family-sized bag of chips, which Tenacious and I devoured).

My not nervous smile on the other side of the 100-mile!

The hostel we were staying with shuttled us into town. We got situated, showered, and did laundry. BBQ sandwiches were for lunch and chicken tenders and fries followed for dinner. We met up with Barak, Skip, and Courtland, who arrived in town just a bit after us.

My dinner (only about 3 hours after a late lunch).

Day 10 (0.0 miles)

Decided to take a zero day in Monson. This was much-needed after the last nine days on trail. Shaw’s serves a massive breakfast of bacon, home fries, eggs, and pancakes. Pretty much all you can eat… which is a lot for hikers. The rest of the day was spent getting some things needed for the trail, stuffing my face with food, and relaxing. Couldn’t have asked for better weather or company.

Thanks for reading this update about my time during the 100 Mile Wilderness. I have been loving every day, mile, and person I meet. Excited for what the rest of the trail brings. Until next time, keep wandering in your own direction.

Affiliate Disclosure

This website contains affiliate links, which means The Trek may receive a percentage of any product or service you purchase using the links in the articles or advertisements. The buyer pays the same price as they would otherwise, and your purchase helps to support The Trek's ongoing goal to serve you quality backpacking advice and information. Thanks for your support!

To learn more, please visit the About This Site page.

Comments 16

  • Kara : Jul 5th

    So so proud of you!

    • Asup Porter : Jul 5th

      I agree with the lady. You did that homie…congrats

  • Asa Porter : Jul 5th

    I agree with the lady. You did that homie…congrats

  • Ace A Porter : Jul 5th

    I agree with the lady. You did that homie…congrats

  • Reveund : Jul 6th

    Tears were shed? I figured you must be going on a 6 month trip. 10 days! You all are a bunch of cry babies.

  • Revrund : Jul 6th

    Tears were shed? I figured you must be going on a 6 month trip. 10 days! You all are a bunch of cry babies.

  • Gfcv : Jul 6th

    Thanks for all the info and beautiful pics although we don’t need to know the details about your bowel movements thnx🤢

  • Greg "Pilgrim" : Jul 6th

    I’ll be following you SOBO starting August 17.
    I appreciate your post and look forward to hitting the trail six weeks from today!!

    Hike your Hike!

  • Campo "Horizon" : Jul 7th

    This post just came up at random on my google feed, but I saw your first photo and your friend looked familiar. I know him from my 2016 SOBO. If you run into Tenacious again, tell him Horizon says hi!

    • No Kiddin : Jul 8th

      Camping with Tenacious tonight.. saw this post and told him that you said hi. He was elated to hear from you and told me to say hi back!

      • Campo "Horizon" : Jul 8th

        I don’t doubt he was! It’s truly joyful to hear he’s back SOBO on trail. Tenacious is one of the best guys you will meet!

        Thanks for the chance to connect, No Kiddin! I hope you have a wonderful journey South! Always remember why you’re out there, and hold on to that tightly. Happy trails!

  • DMFINO : Jul 7th

    Good Post! I’ll be following you and good luck.

  • Ken Johnson : Jul 7th

    Your first 100 miles behind you and it sounds like an amazing adventure. I’m really enjoying your blogs and beautiful photos. Can’t wait for more.

  • C.hooker : Jul 12th

    Question…do you happen to have any kin named Charle Flickinger? We met in MSU graduate school…
    Admire your strength & perseverance!

    • No Kiddin : Jul 12th

      Hi, no I don’t think I have family with that name. Do you know where he was from?

  • Daisy C. : Jul 13th

    I cried reading about all the crying a grown man could do. Sad.


What Do You Think?