September, 2011 Archives

Day 3 into 100

Got up and conquered our last 3K peaks. Not a terrible climb up Gulf Hagas Mountain. We are currently sitting by a fire on the shore of Mountain View Pond. White Cap Mountain was our final climb. We got to the peak which was shrouded by a haze and drenched by a constant misty wind which by the looks of things seemed to be the norm on this mountaintop. Today’s hike was shrouded in fog.

It is quite amazing what a lack of wildlife Maine has. Aside from a few aggressive squirrels the woods seem to be almost exclusively left to the hikers who pass through. The bugs are almost nonexistent which is a shock even this late in the season. The mosquitos tend to resurface almost instantaneously after the weather warms up leaving me wondering where they come from and where they disappear to when it cools down again.

I walked through a stretch of woods today that made me feel as though I was the only person on earth. Moss had grown rampantly over rocks and trees so that when you looked into the forest it appeared that a layer of green carpet had been cloaked over everything in sight. The terrain underfoot was comprised of pine needles and soft dirt so steps made no sound while the moss seemed to deaden any airborne sounds.

Maine is really filling out into a nice all around place. Today in the midst of climbing over our final 3K peaks I was able to find 3 legitimate springs that gave me no pause. This was the only aspect that Maine really lacked and since I haven’t been treating my water this is a crucial element to me. On the flip side I did also get pricked by my first mosquito in the state today so I guess you are never truly out of the woods.

From the very spot I lay my head tonight I am 65 miles from the peak of Katahdin.

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Final 3K peaks

Further into the wilderness

Started off the day with a spirited game of bumper boats on West Chairback Pond. Aces and Catalyst started out in the canoe we took out the previous night while the rest of us piled into the rowboat called ‘Dairon’. To a man we really sucked at keeping the boat going straight so we were the boat who kept getting rammed most of the time. I still think it is amazing that we keep encountering these empty bodies of water with abandoned boats to take out. This is one thing I will miss immensely. We were out there with not a care in the world on our own seemingly private pond.

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From here we headed towards a trail just off the AT called Gulf Hagas. This was a 5 mile diversion but well worth the extra effort as we witnessed a raging river carving it’s path through a narrow canyon. You saw rapids that had over time worked the rocks into smooth yet carved formations that caused the rapids to form a rip curl pattern as it flowed downward. The walls of the canyon tower over the waterway on both sides in a straight, cliff-like formation.

Todays walk from West Chairback to Gulf Hagas was not particularly hard. Had a pleasant ford across the the West Branch Pleasant River as the water was not very deep and moved slowly. The water was cold so I took the opportunity to pause halfway across and soak my legs in the brisk water as a preventative measure against muscle injury.

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More into the wild

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100 miles day 2

After moving slowly out of Monson we chose to push a bit harder out of Little Wilson. With some monster fords and fairly substantial mountains today was an arduous day. We pushed up and over Barren mountain, down the steep north side of Fourth Mountain, and to the top of each and every false summit Third Mountain threw our way. The views from Barren slide were magnificent as from a rock plateau you saw a desolate lake in the valley below surrounded by neighboring mountains. From here we faced perhaps our most difficult ford of the trip at Big Wilson stream.

We wound up at West Chairback Pond for the night which like most other seemingly abandoned ponds in Maine had a shore full of semi chained up canoes. After offering Shorty five bucks for his fruit punch drink concoction I was still in the gambling mood and dared Aces to paddle out into the dark and spooky pond. She turned this around on me and said she would do it only if I would go. After rejecting this offer over and over out of fear I finally relented and I found myself paddling out into the glasslike pond under the starry night. Not the worst place to be in the world but I had no intention of being out there at the start of the night. Yet another of those unique moments that the trail provides.

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100 mile day 2

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Start the wilderness

After pushing out of Monson I could not pass up a perfect campsite along Little Wilson Stream. This perfect spot wound up being only 7 miles from the start of my day but since I am almost done I figured that I can basically be a bit of a snob when it comes to finding places to call it a day.

I was later joined by the crew; Bear Bait, Short Order, Water Bug, Aces, Catalyst, Tomahawk. The spot was along Little Wilson stream but firewood had been picked clean so before they all got to the bottom of the hill I had them gather some from up top. Before I know it huge logs are raining down onto the site below from all directions. We had a raging fire and all were positively giddy with the prospect of closing out our journey.

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100 Mile Wilderness

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About to head out of Monson and into the 100 mile wilderness. Made it to the home stretch. Probably down to about a week left. I am really looking forward to this last little bit.

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100 Mile Wilderness

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