Today was a beautiful day for hiking with temps in the low seventies, no humidity, cool breezes and rarely a cloud in the sky. After another excellent breakfast at Shaw’s we were shuttled to the trailhead, which also is the southern entry of the 100-Mile Wilderness.
The 100-Mile Wilderness is one of the most notorious sections of the Maine Appalachian Trail, revered for being such a long stretch of untamed forest without any resupply points. The sign at the beginning urges hikers to bring at least 10 days of food.
As beautiful and remote as the wilderness has been so far (we jumped our first deer on the trail today), it seems a bit overrated. What I mean by this is that the Wilderness’ popularity makes it appear less remote. In addition to all of the AT thru hikers and state section hikers like us, there are a large number of people who hike the 100-mile wilderness stretch. We met some people doing so today, and were told that there are several large youth groups on the trail about a day ahead of us.
In addition, there are a number of logging roads that cross the trail, making many areas of the Wilderness accessible to day hikers. Since we’ll be passing the popular Gulf Hagas area over the weekend, I’m anticipating that we may see more people in the Wilderness than we did at any other point of the trail. The many roads leading into the Wilderness also make it possible for people to have supplies brought into them. This isn’t cheap, though, unlike us, so we’re carrying our full supply of food to get us through.
The hiking today was moderate with a lot of short elevation gains and losses. We’re fortunate that it was dry, because there were a lot of places where the trail went over smooth slate that would have been extremely slippery otherwise. In other words nobody fell, so we’re still tied at nine. With the heavier packs we covered 15 well-earned miles, which I guess means that we are now in the 85-Mile Wilderness.