Posts Tagged With: 100 Mile Wilderness

Beaker In the Midst of the 100 Mile Wilderness

8/7/17 Destination: Logan Brook Lean-to, ME

Miles hiked: 1800.5, Miles to Katahdin: 71.4, Miles Today: 14.6, Miles to complete thru-hike: 389.3

Beaker Katahdin.8.7

A View of Katahdin from the Trail

Beaker was awake and on the trail by 7:15 this morning. After fording the Pleasant River, he started climbing. His plan was to climb over four peaks today, including 3650 ft Whitecap Mt, so he expected the day to be pretty tough.

To Beaker’s great surprise the path presented some of the best trail he’d seen in Maine. There were still roots and rocks; but, there was even more smooth dirt trail. And there were rock steps over many of the steeper portions. And switchbacks! As a result, the climbs over Gulf Hagas, West Peak, and Hay Mountains were actually enjoyable.

Going over Gulf Hagas Mountain, Beaker saw moose scat (lots of it), but, of course, no moose.This was a disappointment but there are still many miles left in Maine. He saw his best view of moose on one of the last days into the 100 Mile Wilderness. There is still hope and time for Beaker to get a glimpse of these amazing animals.

Since the group of hikers were only going 14.6 miles today and the trail turned out to be so hiker-friendly, Beaker took his time and enjoyed the day. Even the climb up Whitecap Mountain turned out to be pretty mellow as the summit led Beaker above treeline and a view of Mount Katahdin in the distance.  I stood there for quite awhile looking at it. Even though it is still 70 trail miles away, it looked big! After hiking since February, it was reassuring to see that the mountain actually existed.Another short 1.4 mile hike brought Beaker to the Logan Brook Lean-to and home for the night.

8/8/17 Destination: Antlers Campsite, ME Miles to Katahdin: 51.8, Miles Today: 19.6

Beaker.Maine WildernessToday’s hike was another easy one:19.6 miles of mostly flat or downhill trail. It rained most of the night and Beaker slept a little later waiting for it to stop, although he was still on the trail by 7:40. The bubble of thru-hikers that Beaker joined through the 100 Mile Wilderness made one small climb over Little Boardman Mountain; but, the rest of the day was mostly flat and still filled with roots and rocks.

The only bad thing today was the mosquitoes. For the first time on the entire thru-hike, Beaker pulled out the DEET. The only thing I hate worse than DEET is getting swarmed by mosquitoes.

Beaker made camp around 4:00 in the afternoon. The skies had cleared during the afternoon and the Antlers Campsite, located on a peninsula on the Lower Jo-Mary Lake, was a Hallmark setting. 4WD built a fire and the Fellowship gathered and cooked dinner together. They have a big day planned tomorrow – 23.4 miles to Rainbow Lake Dam, where they hope to get an exciting view of Mt Katahdin.

8/9/17 The cell phone coverage must be weak or nonexistent today, because Beaker has not posted to his blog today. I am getting excited for him as he approaches the end of his time in Maine. He should be through the 100 Mile Wilderness very soon. It is then a 10 mile hike to the base of Katahdin and a 10 mile round trip to the summit and back.

Categories: 100 Mile Wilderness, Appalachian Trail, Maine, Mount Katahdin, Thru-Hike, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Beaker into the 100 Mile Wilderness in Maine

After a good night’s sleep at Moxie Pond, Beaker has turned his face toward Monson, Maine and the 100 Mile Wilderness, the last major obstacle before the climb up Katahdin Mountain.

8/4/17 Destination: Shaw’s Hostel, Monson, ME Miles today – 17.9

Beaker. River Guide

Rope Guide to Help Ford

Beaker was up early and cranked out the miles – 17.9 miles by 1:15 pm. The route on the Appalachian Trail was fairly flat; but, still dominated by rocks and roots. He had to ford two streams, which resulted in wet feet. He was the second to leave camp and, as usual, he was passed by just about everyone throughout the day. Everyone was stepping it out in order to get into Monson today and maximize the amount of downtime to prepare for the next week. Monson is the last town before Baxter State Park, home of Mt Katahdin. Between Monson and Baxter is the 100 Mile Wilderness. Thur-hikers have to carry food for the next week unless they arrange a food drop off a private logging road.

Beaker  decided to spend the night at Shaw’s Hostel today. It is one of the best known hostels on the trail due to its location. It is the last hostel the NOBOs pass and the first one the SOBOs pass. About 60 hikers joined him. Once he got checked in and showered, he went shopping and bought supplies for the next six days. I hate carrying that much weight; but, there aren’t many alternatives.

Tomorrow, he will head into the 100 Mile Wilderness. Due to its remoteness, he is concerned that his cell phone service will be pretty limited, making his blog posts difficult to publish. The goal is to make it through the wilderness in time to summit on Saturday, August 12. After I summit next Saturday, I will catch a flight home (missing the post-hike partying), see an eclipse, go to a wedding, and head back out August 27 to complete the portion of the Virginia AT that I missed while moving back in April. The adventure isn’t nearly over…

8/5/17  Destination: Long Pond Stream Stealth Site,  Miles today- 14.8;  Miles to Katahdin  100.2

Beaker.Shaw's InnAfter a big breakfast at Shaw’s, a large group of thru-hikers from Shaw’s entered the 100 Mile Wilderness – just the name sounds dangerous and remote, like you’re entering a dark, mystical forest in a Tolkien story. There is an ominous warning sign as you enter the wilderness telling the adventurer to carry a minimum of 10 days of supplies and to not underestimate the difficulty of this section. Beaker discovered that it was the same old rocky, rooty, muddy AT that he’s been hiking all through Maine. Instead of 40 miles between towns, it’s 100 miles.

Beaker hiked under overcast skies with the threat of rain all day. The whole group started out together after being dropped off by the shuttle; but, it began to spread out as the day progressed. Beaker hiked most of the morning with Odin and 4WD, then he hiked mainly by himself during the afternoon. I would catch back up every couple miles at the numerous stream fords. We crossed several streams that were too deep to rock hop. So, we’d all stop, remove our shoes, wade across, and put our shoes back on. I have actually had extensive stream fording experience with my years of hiking around WV. As a result, I would generally pass the group at the stream and they would all pass me again over the next couple of miles.

The group decided to stop about a mile short of the shelter and camp by the Long Pond stream because the water supply was plentiful and easy to obtain. It was a bit of a short day; however, since their  packs are heavier than normal with extra food, no one seemed to mind stopping early. The rain that had been threatening all day finally arrived. So, we all retired to our tents. I am now all snug and dry in my tent listening to the rain.

8/6/17 East Chairback Pond Stealth Site, ME Miles today- 14.8

Beaker. Trail in MaineThe skies opened up shortly after going to bed and it poured most of the night. Beaker was able to  stay dry in his tent. The hikers awoke to overcast skies, which stayed with them most of the day. The sun occasionally peeked out; but, generally, it was overcast and blustery until evening, when the skies finally cleared.

Today’s hike turned out to be pretty tough! It’s as if Maine is reminding the thru-hikers that they aren’t done yet. Beaker climbed up and over six mountains today but none of the peaks were overly tough for the hiking legs developed over the past 2,000 miles. However, the combined up and down of all the summits wore Beaker out.

It was nice to climb back up on the ridge tops, though. That’s where you get the incredible views. It’s amazing to look out and see nothing but wilderness – no roads, no houses, no power lines. And the ponds are incredible! Huge ponds everywhere that do not appear to have been touched by people – no boats, no piers, or any other evidence of humans.

Throughout the 100 Mile Wilderness, Beaker has been hiking with a group of thru-hikers that call themselves the Fellowship.  They are a great bunch of kids. Actually, they aren’t all kids. 4WD is a 50-something Hungarian man now living in FL. Wild Thing is a 45 year old school teacher from Stratford Upon Avon. He teaches 3rd and 4th grade. Misplaced is a 30 year old woman who has been working in a corporate office for a restaurant chain. All the rest are 20-somethings. Giggles and her brother Waldo, Feathers, Odin, and Scout (all guys) are Americans. Big Style and his friend Teabag are both British guys.

Generally, Beaker hikes alone; but, if one of the Fellowship takes a snack break or stops to look at a view he would catch up. They would then hike together for awhile. Today, he had lunch with Odin and Big Style atop Fourth Mountain.

Beaker arrived at East Chairback Pond, where the group decided to camp for the evening, around 5:20 PM. The clouds had cleared, leaving sunny skies and cooler temperatures. He fixed dinner with everyone else.  After dinner, he decided to make a cup of tea to help counter the evening chill.

Odin and Big Style decided that a hot cuppa sounded pretty good too. We took our tea to the rocks on the pond and watched a pair of loons fishing while the sun slowly set over the pond. It was a magical moment – a 53 year old guy sitting there with a 25 year old American kid and a 19 year old British kid, sipping tea. At that moment, we were just three thru hikers enjoying the evening after hiking a tough section of trail. We are all ready to be done with the trail; but, this moment wasn’t lost on any of us. We realized what a special space out of time this was and that we would really miss moments like these when we all returned to our regular lives.

Shaw’s Photo – http://packpedal.com/post/128105520258/hikers

 

 

 

Categories: 100 Mile Wilderness, Appalachian Trail, Beaker, Maine, Monson, ME, Shaw's Hostel, Thru-Hike, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

The 100 Mile Wilderness

HikeItForward-Final-MediumFrom Monson, Maine to the base camp at Katahdin there is a stretch of trail called the 100-Mile Wilderness. On this section of the A.T. there are no towns and only a few road crossings. There is a Caution Sign posted at the trail head just beyond Monson that serves a sobering reminder to hikers concerning the realities of the journey ahead. The sign reads:

“Caution: There are no places to obtain supplies or get help until ABOL BRIDGE 100 miles north. Do not attempt this section unless you have a minimum of 10 days supplies and are fully equipped. This is the longest wilderness section of the entire A.T. and its difficulty should not be underestimated. Good Hiking!” MATC

Air Horn. White House LandingI have read that the first forty miles are more strenuous than the last sixty. Research has also revealed that there is a very unique resupply area at White House Landing (about 1 mile off the trail) at the 70 mile mark. After taking the side trail off the AT, the hiker will come to a wooden dock on a lake. There is an air horn on the dock. The hiker blows the air horn and waits. Soon a motor boat arrives and escorts the hiker to White House Landing. You can spend the night there ($39/bunk) which includes an AYCE (all you can eat) breakfast or you can just stop for a meal and a resupply. Hopefully, White House will give a boat ride back to the dock.  I am sure that the resupply will be expensive but it might be imperative depending on my situation.

100 mile wilderness signIt is somewhat difficult to strategize this section but here is my Plan A and my Plan B. Plan A is a five day hike with a resupply at the beginning of Day 4. Plan B is a six day hike with a resupply for breakfast on Day 5. Right now my plan would be to hike into the wilderness with a lean 6-day food menu in case I can’t make it to White House in 5 days.  Here’s the potential agenda:

Plan A: Day One – 19.1 miles; Day Two – 19 miles; Day Three – 24.6 miles (This is the challenge day); Day Four – with a stop at White House): 23.7 miles; Day Five – 15 miles to resupply and then on to Katahdin Stream Campground – 25 miles for the day.

If I find I cannot make 19 miles on the first day, Plan B falls into place: Day One – 15.1 miles; Day Two -15.2 miles; Day Three – 16.4 miles; Day Four – 19.5 miles; Day Five – including a stop at White House 20.2 miles; Day Six – 15 miles to resupply and on to Katahdin Stream Campground – 25 miles

It is quite difficult to plan today what I will able to do after hiking 2000 miles. I know this – I will be much more confident when I get to Monson and make my final Plan C (C for Confident).

Air Horn Photo: http://papabearnewyork.com/papabear/AT2004_Maine_Adventure.html

Wilderness Sign: http://news.runtowin.com/2011/06/20/maines-100-mile-wilderness.html

Categories: 100 Mile Wilderness, Appalachian Trail, Backpack, Hiking, Maine, Thru-Hike, Trail, Uncategorized, White House Landing | Tags: , , , , | 4 Comments

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