Days 5-9 SoBo: The Hundred Mile Wilderness

Originally posted on allwomansalltrials.com; you can find the link here

Day 5, Nahmakanta Stream Shelter to Cooper Falls Lean-To, 15.7 miles

The shelter at Nahmakanta was basically brand new, so we had chosen to sleep inside. Jayla, Coulter, myself, and our new companions Ben Runner and What’s Up Doc, two best friends section hiking for 5 weeks and trying to get to Massachussetts, where one of them lives, also slept there. They were such nice guys that shared their food, laughs, and traveled pretty quickly. The mosquitos that night were bad and I ended up setting up my tent inside the shelter to avoid the constant buzzing in my ear even with a head net on. It also rained almost all night long.

We headed out before the boys. Jayla, Coulter, and I set off at a pretty good pace. The elevation wasn’t too crazy for the day. It was cloudy out, but it had stopped raining. Once you got near Antler’s Campsite, which I heard was beautiful and popular, the mosquitoes started to swarm you in clouds. You could barely stop to eat or drink water without them attacking. The only way to avoid them was to keep moving. I could tell how bad they were based on the clouds that would chase Jayla and Coulter up ahead.

 

I had been consistently hiking with Jayla and Coulter for quite a few days now and felt it was my obligation to give them trail names. I named Jayla Wild Card because she is very quiet at first but once you get to know her there are many different layers to her.

We practically ran to camp and didn’t take any breaks until we reached the lean-to at 1:30. It had a beautiful waterfall in front and if everything wasn’t so damp, I was tempted to jump right in.

Ben Runner and What’s up Doc caught up and camped there too.

Towards the evening, a large camp group came in to share the space. It was so interesting to me that this particular camp took inner-city New Yorkers out to backpack for several days. I have summers off and wouldn’t mind spending time leading backpacks with students. They were backpacking for 5 days and doing a 15-day canoe trip. How cool is that?

Day 6, Cooper Falls Lean-To to Logan Brook Lean-To, 11.7 miles

Wild Card, Coulter, and I set off hiking eager to reach our resupply buckets. We began hiking so much together that we really started to get to know each other. Wild Card tried to rename me several times. Prepper because how much I planned out the 100 Mile Wilderness trip, which we stuck to most of the time. Audio Book or Story because I would recount very detailed stories about backpacking and different experiences in great detail to kill time. Lastly, Lost because I had lost my head net several times, hand sanitizer, water bottle, and a blue cap to my Sawyer. My bag is like a bottomless pit.

 

We reached our resupply pit stop and met Ben Runner and What’s Up Doc by the road. They were pretty fast and actually had beaten their bucket to the drop off location. They had to wait for their food and eventually were able to get it.

I also lost my head net shortly after this. This time my head net, a necessity out here this time of year, fell out of my pocket. The other time it was stuck in my hood and I had asked everyone at camp if they had seen it.

 

We took a mid-day break to dry out gear and rest our feet when these two school teachers section hiking the wilderness walked up. I had asked if the boys were still at the road waiting and they were. I had hoped they had seen my head net and picked it up. Well.. the two ladies had picked it up and I was so excited she found it that I took it right out of her hands and gave her a fist bump. In my excitement, I completely missed that she was just as excited to have found my head net because she didn’t pack one…but it was mine!

 

Once we got to our destination for the night, there was an ice-cold spring that I decided to jump in to get clean. Initially, I went in once and got soaked. Well, I jumped back in to scrub down some of the dirt and could only stand a couple of minutes before pins and needles started. Luckily, my hair was able to dry out but my clothes stayed pretty damp the next day.

 

The shelter was packed with NoBos, SoBos, and section hikers. I crammed my tent next to Wild Card and Coulter’s but knew if we got any rain I was toast. Well, it stormed that night and I had rain hitting me in the face. There was nothing I could do. I pitched the tent the best I could in the space I was given. I had to take out all my rain gear and lay it against the one side of the tent and even hold up my rain jacket to prevent it from coming in and onto my quilt. Eventually, the storm passed pretty quickly and I managed to get some sleep.

Day 7, Logan to Stealth Camp Spot around East Chairback Pond, 14.5 miles

We saved the White Cap climb for the morning. It wasn’t as bad as everyone had made it seem. It was what came after it that was tough. White Cap had three other mountain summits some were wooded after it and the elevation gain and loss were the toughest we have faced thus far.

 

The morale was low all day because we felt we were going all faster than we thought. We had a couple of fords and I was happy to not have to do them alone.

We had planned to go to Chairback Gap but we were way too tired to do the rock scramble. We decided to stealth camp at East Chairback Pond. It was a quiet night.

Day 8, Stealth Spot to Long Pond Stream, 13.7 miles

We woke up to the sound of raindrops hitting the tents. It was a tough day up Chairback but the scramble was cool. The elevation was similar to the White Cap and the miles seemed to take forever. It rained on and off that day and made the rocks, roots, and mud difficult to avoid.

Once we made it to the shelter, we met a ridge runner named JukeBox. Her job is spent backpacking 3 days advising hikers to leave no trace and 2 days at the Monson visitor center. Many hikers came in to spend the night given it was a weekend night.

Day 9, Long Pond Stream to Monson, Maine, 15.1 miles

Town Day! I woke up around 4:20 A.M and thought Wild Card and Coulter would be already up. I packed up as quietly as I could. I walked back on trail ate my breakfast quick and pushed to town.

The first ford of the day was tough by myself. I walked aimlessly up the side of the river to find the best place to cross. The current was quick in the middle and it was hard to see what was underneath the water. I made it across safely but the water was practically up to my waist.

Later on, I slipped in the mud and slipped crossing a small ford and fell halfway in.

I stopped at the first shelter I had passed around 8 and talked to Crows, a section hiker, and had asked him to look for my friends and pass along a message.

Shortly after, they caught up to me as I was about to ford a river. I was happy to have their company. They quickly sped up to get into town earlier. I didn’t want to kill myself to get into town, so I hiked solo. Another hiker joined me until I caught up to Coulter aka Slick Rock and Wild Card. This hiker’s name was Reid and he was from Australia. I enjoyed hiking with him because he helped me move faster.

Once we reached the road crossing for ME 15, we met What’s Up Doc and Ben Runner who we hadn’t seen for a couple of days. Then we got picked up to head to Shaw’s.

100 Mile Wilderness after thoughts

  • Stay at Abol’s so my legs could recover before entering the 100 Mile Wilderness
  • Push bigger miles at the beginning when the terrain was flatter
  • Separate White Cap and Chair Back into smaller days

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