Monson, ME(2074.7) to Stealth campsite(2084.6) 9.9 Miles
Today marks the beginning of the end of my journey. This afternoon, after a late start, I entered into the 100 mile wilderness. I was hoping to get an early start, but that did not happen. Since yesterday was Labor Day, my final resupply package didn't arrive in Monson until 10:00 this morning. I was up by 6:30 this morning. The owner of Shaw's, Poet, offers a hiker sized breakfast for $9. We were fed three eggs, bacon, hashbrowns, and unlimitited blueberry pancakes. I wish I could have eaten more, but I just haven't been that hungry lately. I felt like a failure since I only managed to eat the eggs, bacon, hashbrowns, and one pancake. After breakfast I hung around the hostel waiting for the post office to open at 9:30. I watched most of my friends head back to the trail while I cooled my heels.
At 9:15 I walked down to the PO to check on my package. It seemed like every hiker in town was waiting on a mail drop. The woman at the PO was very busy and hadn't sorted through the new packages that had arrived. Finally around 10:30 she dug my package out and I was one step closer to heading out. I went back to Shaw's and began sorting through my food.
I'm not really sure how long it is going to take me to get through the wilderness. I've heard anywhere from 4-8 days. I do know one thing, carrying this much food is going to suck for the first few days. The 100 mile wilderness, is 100 miles without a resupply. There are no towns and only forest service roads. It is truely the only section of untouched land on the entire trail. After repackaging food and packing up my things I was ready to go at 11:30, but I had to wait for Poet to drive me back to the trail.
I didn't start hiking until 12:30. That puts a major hiccup into my plans for the week. I just started this section and I'm already behind schedule. I ran into more friends at the trailhead. I haven't seen Rocky Mountain High since Massachusetts. We hiked together for the first few miles so that we could catch up. I also saw, Forgetful Jones, Oscar Mike, and Clarity. I love the bubble I'm in right now. It's great that I will have so many friends around when I summit. I hope the majority of them will be in my group as I go through the wilderness.
The trail was pretty easy for most of the afternoon. I passed by six different ponds today. Maine is really showing off lately.
The trail was full of little ups and downs, rocks and roots, and small section of muddy and boggy trail. I really enjoyed the hiking today. It was just hard enough to feel challenged, but not so difficult that it slowed me down.
I wish I would have had more time today. It was really hot out and I could have used a dip in one of the ponds. A few miles later I passed by an amazing waterfall that I would have loved to take a snack break at, instead I took a few pictures and pushed on.
After following Little Wilson stream for half a mile we had to ford it. The water was about knee deep and the current was swift. The slick rocks should have made for a tricky crossing, but my Luna sandals are awesome. They are so grippy it's like having super glue on my feet. I made it across with no problems. The girl crossing after me wasn't as lucky. She slipped and fell in.
Blade crossing Little Wilson Stream
It was a very long, short day. It's getting dark so early now, that after our stream crossing we decided to find a spot to stealth camp at nearby. There is a huge bubble in the wilderness right now. I think 30-40 hikers entered around the same time as me today. There was a shelter .6 miles from the stream, but we figured it would be packed, so we took our chances stealthing. We didn't find the best spot, but we made due. By the time I got my hammock hung it was completely dark. I cooked dinner in the dark and then went to bed.
We are trying for a 15-18 mile day tomorrow, so it will be an early start to make that happen. I don't have any high elevation climbs tomorrow. It will mainly be several short ups and downs, like a mini roller coaster. The terrain promises to be difficult though. I've heard that this section has a ton of granite rock slabs, so hopefully the forecasted rain will hold off for a few days.
"At times, our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us." Albert Schweitzer