Day 115 – 24th July
Started in Monson – mile 2070.8
Finished at Long Pond Stream Lean-to – mile 2085.9
15.1 miles covered.
Total days hiked 113
18.46 Av miles / days
It’s amazing what a good night’s sleep and some decent food can do. I woke up feeling ready for the final push.
I joined James and Lyndsey for breakfast at a place called Pete’s, next door to Lakeshore. It also doubled up as a decent place to resupply and even had things like oatmeal and hot chocolate broken down into individual sachets. The breakfast was awesome. I highly recommend adding maple syrup to your shopping lists to have with bacon. It works really well and gives you loads of energy.
After breakfast I ventured over to the gas station to check on what delights they had on offer. On the way there I thought I was gonna get bitten by another dog. Where an angry looking mutt followed me across the road barking a warning. The owner shouted after the blood thirsty hound and it retreated.
Satisfied with the selection at the gas station I went back to my room and checked exactly what I had in my food bag and wrote a list of what I needed.
Between Pete’s and the gas station I got all I needed for the next 5-6 days. The guy in the gas station commented on the amount of family sized packs of Skittles I had bought and said ‘you’ll definitely taste the rainbow with that lot’
James had spoken with the owner of Lakeshore and she agreed to give us a ride back to the trail at 10:00.
I had decided to abandon ship on getting a food bucket sent into the wilderness. I didn’t want to risk losing my valuable food to a bear or a hunger unscrupulous hiker. Turns out that there was a problem just yesterday where a girl couldn’t find where the guys at Lakeshore had left the bucket. She was lucky to have phone reception and a crisis was averted. I didn’t want to take that risk. So reluctantly I squeezed all of my food goodies into my pack and groaned as I lifted it. This is gonna be a tough couple of days!
Whilst I had been getting ready this morning I looked at myself in the mirror in the bathroom. My hair is nearly back to its normal length. I have lost a lot of weight though. I used to be a 30-32 waist and now my 30 inch waist shorts are way too big for me. My pelvis and hip bones are showing badly and I look skinnier than ever. Back home people have said that I look like a racing snake, or a streak of piss. To quote one of Sarah’s phrases I now look like a matchstick with the wood scrapped off.
Whilst waiting for our ride I talked with Lyndsey and was surprised that she didn’t actually like camping or hiking for that matter. It has always been about the challenge and the fact that it was something James always wanted to do. So for all of you anti campers out there there’s no excuse.
On the way back to the trail Rebecca (Lakeshore owner) apologised for the broken bed in my room and said the room used to be occupied by the old caretaker and his partner. Apparently they had an abusive violent relationship. Rebecca joked the bed breaking incident was probably the result of some violent make up if you catch my drift.
She seemed quite a character and touched my left knee briefly to give me good Zen. In a strictly professional capacity I must stress! I informed her that I had been suffering with that knee so was thankful of any help I could get.
At the trailhead we said goodbye to Rebecca and she commented that James had a bit of a Chuck Norris thing going on. I hadn’t noticed it before but she was bang on.
James and Lyndsey hit the trail whilst I went back to the cooler box I discovered last night to grab another can of soda. It was now or never as there will be no soda in the 100 mile wilderness.
Just as I was finishing my can James reappeared from the woods. He had left his flip flops in Rebecca’s car. I left them to it and got a head start.
Entering the wilderness I came up against a sign that read ‘Do no underestimate the 100 mile wilderness. Pack in at least 10 days’ worth of food’ I had 5-6, but a zip lock bag of skittles that you could sink a ship with.
Straight away the trail was rugged and the granite and slate rocks very wet and slippery. I hiked through woodland past beautiful looking lakes with islands. The light sparkled on the water’s surface producing hundreds of lens flares.
I felt pumped and the first 3 hours went really well. I stopped at Little Wilson falls for a break and sat by the waterfall. J&L caught up and stopped briefly. James was saying how good he was feeling too. Everyone had been pretty beaten up and tired since the White Mountains and Maine. Today it was like the mist had finally lifted. Maybe it was adrenaline as we were finally in the last stretch, or maybe it was our hearty breakfast. I said to James that all we need to do is smash out 23 miles each day and in 5 sweet days our work here will be done. I let out a roar! He replied that he was so pumped that he was thinking about doing a 50 mile day today and laughed.
That feeling didn’t last long unfortunately and the novelty of being back on the trail started to fade. Although we didn’t start until about 11:00 by late afternoon I was knackered and my pack weight started to register.
Funnily enough apart from the deer and black flies chasing me at every opportunity the Mosquitos haven’t been too bad today. In fact this evening I hardly noticed any when cleaning my teeth outside of my tent. They’re meant to be as big as hummingbirds and in force in the wilderness, but so far so good.
There were 3 river crossings today and 1 of them had a dead moose right beside the trail. J&L were putting on their shoes after crossing and taking a snack break right next to the rotten carcass. I said to Lyndsey what a nice place to take a break and pushed on.
Our initial plans to do big miles soon fizzled out. We all pulled into Long Pond Stream Lean-to. There was another shelter another 3 miles away, but it was 0.4 off trail. Excluding this detour to this shelter there is no water for the next 10 miles. That was another reason to stop. I don’t need the extra weight of carrying more than 1 litre of water at the moment. This would have been necessary if I moved on as water is required for cooking this evening and for breakfast. So a decision was made and after all Rome wasn’t built in a day. Tomorrow we are taking about trying to do a 28 mile day to get past the last of the big mountains before Katahdin. This sounds ambitious, but apparently you can see the northern terminus from this point on.