Going Full Camping Mode in the 100 Mile Wilderness

Entering the 100 Mile Wilderness you are warned to bring 10 days of supplies minimum. I didn’t do that, and I didn’t arrange a food drop like many others.

I planned for 6 days of food, and figured I could stretch it to 8 if I needed. I’m banking on one little known place I found out there in my research to acquire supplies, more on that later. My plan was to not charge through this home stretch like most, but experience it.

For me, that means transitioning into camping mode for a time. After Whitecap Mountain, about 45 miles into the Wilderness, the big climbs are over until Katahdin. The AT appears to run the longest and flattest stretch of the entire trail afterwards. If I have to pull a huge mile day because supplies are low, I figured I could.

It’s a strange dynamic I’m experiencing, much of it in opposition to each other. The only thing it all seems to have in common is that it’s crying out for me NOT to move forward. It’s exciting to be up here this deep and explore it, I’m ready and willing to get “lost” in it. At the same time it’s a touch foreboding to dive into. Part of it is exhaustion of the trail, at times I’m simply just done with this. While the other side of me of is sad I’m nearing the end, and doesn’t want the adventure to be over.

I’m also still a feeling a touch sick and honestly not caring about reaching Katahdin, amazingly. I seriously contemplated quitting and coming back one day. Yes… even right here at the end. While the other half of me just wants to hang out in the middle of nowhere, Maine, and experience living in it and just being still. To relish in the simple just a bit longer.

I hiked a decent first day out of Shaw’s. I’m feeling somewhat better, but now it’s a massive amount phlegm in my chest with bronchitis, I suspect. I can’t take deep breaths without hacking. And when I cough, the most stubborn chest mucus of my life gets stuck in the back of my throat, then making me gag fiercely as I attempt to break it free. The 2 bottles of expectorant I’ve nursed the last couple weeks seems to be kicking into full gear, finally. It’s hard to hike without taking more than a half deep breath, and not so fun gagging on the verge of vomiting when you do! Standing on the trail yacking constantly trying to get it up and out while your nose consistently drools down your face sucks. I can’t afford to use my toilet paper on that, so the bandanna finds yet another use… as permanent handkerchief. Gone are the days of using it as a single serve cooler on the side of my raft. I wonder if that thing made any more voyages?

This little footbridge near the entrance to the 100 Mile is about the last bridge over water the trail will provide. The rest of the crossings will require getting wet while fording your own way across the many rivers and streams throughout Maine. Unfortunately, all my water crossings footage was on GoPro, and that will sink in the ocean in a couple weeks before I have time to transfer it.

The trail runs along various bodies of water before the first big climbs.

I don’t know if these waters ever get really comfortable to swim up here, but I know they aren’t now.

While almost everything is still green, you can tell it’s just days away from busting out with fall colors everywhere. Another good reason to chill out a bit and hope for the best timing.

One of the numerous river crossings. If you don’t have some sort of backup sandal or water shoe at this point, it’s going to really suck for you. Regardless, it doesn’t take long for them to go numb while crossing.

Little Wilson Falls ain’t so little! It’s at least a 60 foot drop into a sheer slate canyon. The pool at the bottom of the canyon looks extra dark and deep. It just feels like something I don’t want to tango with would be in there. I sense leaches perhaps? I don’t know… regardless it’s far too damn cold to find out.

I found my spot along a river at the end of the first day. Easy flat tenting areas covered in pine needles, a clear spring feed stream, a fire pit with lots of char left over, and even two well placed slate rock chairs!

I’m feeling rather campy… think I’m going to get me a tree and make this place my bitch for a couple days. Attempt a little fishing and foraging, try to catch up on the blog as always, maybe capture a moose on video, without being killed… It’s the end of moose mating season and the bulls have full racks and are most aggressive this time of year. I’ve heard them out there a couple times. Apparently there are more moose deaths than bear deaths per year in the U.S and Canada. At least you don’t have to worry about your food with them. Speaking of which, I haven’t hung my food since Maryland. I’ve taken to sleeping with it.

Another lost GoPro fun bit of footage I finally did was recording a time lapse on myself as I setup camp and started a fire. I thought I was pretty adept at setting up a quick camp before, now… pfft.

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