August 7, 2013
Today’s mileage: 15.1
Total mileage: 2086.5
After walking down to Shaw’s, the other hostel in Monson, for an all-you-can-eat breakfast, we headed back to the trail. We started around 9:00 and officially entered the 100-Mile Wilderness! Beginning the last stretch of our hike was an exciting moment. We didn’t say much, but we both knew how big of a deal it was to get this far in the game. There’s a sign warning hikers to enter with no less than 10 days worth of food. We entered with 3.5 days worth.
The terrain north of Monson was full of small ups and downs. It reminded me of a mini-version of the roller-coaster in northern Virginia. We went up to a rock ledge and then down to a pond or a stream. And then we did it again. And again. We hiked through the typical rocks and roots of Maine, but nothing that we hadn’t seen before. We took our morning break at Little Wilson Falls, a cool waterfall with plenty of space to sit and relax in the sun. We chose a warm rock in the sun to eat our snacks on, while we watched the falls nearby. There were several day hikers coming in from a nearby road to see the falls and we met three guys from Portland who are hiking the Wilderness.
Our guidebook warned of three fords today, but we only ended up having to ford one of the streams. We rock-hopped across Little Wilson Stream and Wilber Brook, but had to ford across Big Wilson Stream. It was an easy ford however, the water only going up to our shins. Our book didn’t mention having to ford Long Pond Stream, but it definitely would have to be forded in a high rain period. It was a tough rock-hop across there, but we made it across without slipping. I only got the front of my right shoe wet. Tragic thing to happen near the end of the day.
As we crossed Long Pond Stream after passing a tote road, we realized that this was the same stream that we crossed on our hike up to Barren Ledges when we were freshmen at Bucksport High School. The hike was part of our freshmen orientation and I remember walking down a long, dirt road and then crossing the stream. A few kids even fell in the water and now I can see why. At least they didn’t have huge packs on like we did this time around. I’m looking forward to going up to the ledges tomorrow. Although I last hiked this section ten years ago, I still remember the view vividly.
We are the only ones at the lean-to area tonight. A lot of thru-hikers hike the Wilderness in 4 or 5 days. They do either four 25-mile days or five 20-mile days. But, some people take things a bit slower. I wouldn’t say we’re going slow by any means, but we are taking a couple of extra days to finish and enjoy our last 114 miles. We’re tenting to escape the mosquitoes and really, we don’t have many nights to spend in our cozy L.L. Bean tent. I think I’m really going to miss this little tent. It feels like home.
As we neared the end of our hiking today, we reached another major milestone. We are now less than 100 miles from Katahdin! Our hike really is starting to come to an end now. Only one week left in our thru-hiking world. They’re calling for rain and thunderstorms tomorrow. Normally, I would be annoyed, but I know that living in a thunderstorm will soon be a thing of the past for me. Now, that I can live with.