Southbound: episode 2
September 16th 2006
Written by: Bryan Wolf and Joe White
Here we are taking a “zero day” in Monson ME, our first town! We have just conquered 5,267 foot Mt. Katahdin to Abol Bridge, and then blazed the 100 Mile Wilderness. At 114.5 miles of the AT done we are enjoying a break in town. The trip started off Thursday morning at 2:30, I did say morning. You see, we arrived too late on Wed. to summit, so in a joke we asked the ranger how early can we start? His reply, I don’t know, maybe 2:00 am to see the sunrise. We took the opportunity, rested and strapped the head lamps on for a night hike. We reached the summit after 5 hours of grueling climbs, one after another. The clouds were beneath us, and we watched as morning came and the clouds returned above our heads. For that time at the top, there is no better feeling, literally on top of it all, the views astounding! The climb down equally challenging and rewarding, as we saw much of the scenery for the first time. We didn’t even notice that we had been covered in frost until we looked back at each other. We enjoyed a power nap and hiked another few miles to a stealth camp site. It was like being in the deep forests of Endor.
The days to follow were isolated within the 100 Mile Wilderness. This is the longest section along the AT with out a town nearby. Over the next few days, we fought with overweight packs, sore ankles, knees,…everything pretty much. The amount of miles we were able to cover during the day was very inconsistent. We just couldn’t find our pace. About a third of the way through the wilderness, we found a side trail that took us a mile down to this huge lake. At the lake was this little boat dock and an air horn. When we blew the air horn, a man comes across the lake in a little bass boat to take you back over to their hostel. At the hostel they serve a huge 1lb burger, delicious. We spoiled ourselves and spent the night there. We sent home about 35 lbs of extra gear that we just didn’t need to be carrying.
The following days to Monson were a little easier because of lighter packs, but the trail still kicked our butts. I cant believe how intense the trails are up here. The trail is unlike anything we had imagined, every step becomes a test of strength and balance. Everyday becomes a test of perseverance. Unfortunately our time has run out here for the computer, so we will leave you with that until we hit our next town.
This exert was originally published on atwishhikers.com. It’s content has not been edited from the original post.Epilogue: by Bryan Wolf
What we didn’t want to tell everyone when we first posted this journal is that things were going terrible and were 10 times as hard as we said. In fact, when we first got to Monson we had agreed to quit and come home. It took a hearty meal and an odd twist of fate to change our minds. It was a Northbounder from northern Kentucky that recognized us, his Uncle asked him to look out for us in passing. We were reminded of our outreach before the trail, the charity that we were hiking for and the people following us back home. We decided we couldn’t turn back, we just needed to hike our own hike.