Thursday, September 10, 2015

Day 161- The Final Marker

Sept 09, 2015
Stealth Campsite(2084.6) to Chairback Gap Lean-to(2100.7) 16.1 Miles

Have I mentioned before how much I dislike slippery, wet rocks? Let me set the record straight; I hate slippery, wet rocks. I've been really lucky with the weather lately. I can't remember the last time it rained. The consensus on the trail is that the beginning of the 100 mile wilderness is hard, but very manageable... unless it rains. Which, of course, it did last night. The first forty miles of the wilderness is over granite boulders, roots, and muddy bogs. The rain didn't make going over any of that easier. 

Blade and I got up early today so that we could do an eighteen mile day. Almost as soon as we started hiking this morning one of his shoe laces decided it had had enough of hiking and broke. While he took the time to stop and repair it I hiked ahead. I made it to the Wilson Valley Lean-to shortly after. I met up with Laces and we hiked out together. Even though the trail conditions were less than ideal, we were making good time. When we reached Long Pond road we saw a sign for trail magic. Even though we were in a hurry today we took the time to checkout the trail magic. It was located a quarter of a mile off of the trail, but it was well worth the walk. We walked down the gravel road for a while, before coming to a cabin in the middle of the woods. We were offered beer and soda, so I drank an ice cold coke. While Laces, Blade, Smoke Break, and I enjoyed our drinks, Scout threw some hotdogs and hamburgers on the grill. While we ate our second breakfast, Moxie, a MTC ridge runner, gave us advice on the upcoming terrain, good stealth locations, and info on Baxter State Park. The hotdogs and hamburgers were delicious and the advice was much appreciated. Trail magic in Maine has been very infrequent, so this was fantastic. 

After fueling up at the trail magic we had a sketchy stream crossing. Laces and I managed to stay dry, but Blade slipped on a rock and fell in. Half of his pack got wet and he lost a croc. Luckily, Zen was able to grab it for him before it was washed away. 

Once we were done fording the stream it was time for the climbing to begin. We had five mountains to climb today and all of them had difficult terrain. The first one on the list was, Barren Mountain. Barren had several different sections were we had to climb over granite slabs. It was steep and time consuming due to the wet conditions. Any section of dry rocks that we came across were more difficult to climb because of our wet and muddy shoes. The theme of the day was, walk through mud, slide over roots, and slip on rocks. 
  Easy stream crossing
One of the few easy sections of trail
Barren Mountain

Unfortunately, there was no view from Barren Mountain, it was in a cloud. From there we went back down a five hundred feet, only to climb up, Fourth Mountain, for four hundred feet. Once again there was no view. Then we went back down a few hundred feet, before climbing up a few hundred feet to, Mt. Three and a Half. You guessed it, still no view, but a climb of a few hundred feet up to, Third Mountain. I'm not sure why they decided to start using numbers for mountains. I think it reflects the number of mountains in the, Chairback Mountain Range. 
3rd Mountain

Just before the day ended, I crossed the 2,100 mile mark. It was a bittersweet moment. That was the last hundred mile mark of the journey. I got my wish, nobody else had made the sign yet, so I got to do the final one. I wanted to make it really grand, but just as I started to make it a storm rolled in. We could hear thunder really close by. I decided to go with a simple design so I could make it to camp before the storm. 
2,100 miles down, 189.2 to go

After each mountain the group would sit down and take a snack break. The constant ups and downs, with no views seemed to zap our energy. I'm around so many other hikers now that I feel like I'm back in Georgia. Every time I stop, I see a parade of thru-hikers go by. Every time one of them stops, I pass them by. I've been hiking around or with, Zen, Baltimore, Burn Out, Click, Pie, Cheesebeard, Smoke Break, Clarity, Oscar Mike, Forgetful Jones, and Laces. 

It is a really fun way to go through the wilderness, but it makes it difficult to find a place to camp. Tonight the shelter area is packed. It's like a tent city. I found a less than ideal spot for my hammock a few hundred feet from the shelter, next to Blades tent. Just as I finish hanging up my tarp it began to pour. It was actually raining sideways and the lightning was right overhead. For the first time in 2,100 miles my hammock and underquilt got wet. I guess I've always been lucky that the rain has never blown in before. I couldn't even cook dinner without getting wet, so I settled for a few snacks out of my foodbag instead. By the time the rain let up enough to cook, it was late. I stayed up for a while talking with Clarity and Blade. Once I finally went back to my hammock I fell asleep almost immediately. This terrain is wiping me out. 

Tomorrow promises to be more of the same. Lots of ups and downs over rocks, roots, and mud puddles. I can hardly wait to get started in the morning. 

"Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education alone will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent." 


  1. Congrats on the 2100 miles! I love the simple effective marker you made. "Granite boulders, roots, and muddy bogs" sure sums up your day. The quote for the day is so perfect - you are very persistent! Loved the Trail Magic breakfast and Moxie's advice to you about what's coming up. Good to know you have people to hike and talk with.

  2. I'm glad you went to trail magic. I have read about his place and hospitality. A big day and I'm glad you got to make your last hundred mile marker. They have all been special. The rain must have been bad for your under quilt to get wet. Not many mountains left for you to conquer, so embrace them. From that first step at Springer Mt. And look where you are now. Amazing adventure!! LY

  3. Well, my guess for a completion date was pretty far off target. Of course, I never was very good at Math. I hope you have some more pretty days to enjoy the end of your hike. Stay safe.