Appalachian Trail – 100 Mile Wilderness – Day 6
A little advice for bloggers who write about their hikes. Don’t wait too long to write your thoughts down after you’ve completed the hike. While I had the intent on keeping a journal during my hike through Maine, I was so tired at the end of the day that I would just crash. The best I could do was jot down approximately where we were. Funny thing about aging, the short-term memory goes first and by the time you’re really old the ancient memories come back clear as a bell. So, maybe I should just write about this trip in 25 years.
Part of our experience in the section hike of the A.T. was the camping. Many thru-hikers stay in the lean-to’s and say that it adds to the overall adventure. While we didn’t avoid contact with other hikers, we preferred to camp in a tent as it offered protection from the bugs and rain. (It’s still kind of weird to sleep next to strangers in a lean-to) Since we would hike into the night to make our mileage, finding a suitable site was difficult. Joe had the uncanny ability to find decent campsites next to a stream or lake in total darkness. Falling to sleep with the sound of rushing water is either peaceful or makes you go pee. For me, I don’t think that I had enough water left in me at the end of the day as I lost most of it in sweat, so it was just peaceful.
As we broke camp and sent out my daily OK signal on the SPOT messenger, (SPOT 3 Satellite GPS Messenger – Orange) we looked forward to 15 mile days on easy terrain. Actually, there isn’t much easy terrain in the Maine wilderness – it’s just not as brutal. The bogs and roots were still prevalent and the occasional up/down would add some variety. At this point, approximately 60-70 miles into the 100 Mile Wilderness, the trail is never far from a lake or stream. We carried a little less water and noticed an increase in the humidity and bug population. In the summer up here, bug repellant doesn’t last long as you sweat it off within minutes of applying it. We did learn a valuable lesson on one type of repellant. Permethrin is a great bug deterrent when applied to clothing and hats. I treated most of my clothes, including socks and my hat. The bugs would bounce off the treated clothing, so most of the week I would wear long pants and a long sleeve breathable shirt. Sawyer Products Premium Permethrin Clothing Insect Repellent Trigger Spray, 24-Ounce
Hoping always to see a moose, we would continue to see their evidence on the trail. The little moose doodles were almost always on the trail, a reminder of who this path really belonged to. Most of the animals we would encounter or hear were birds and chipmunks. Around the lakes, the loons would make their haunting calls. The chipmunks almost seemed annoyed that we were invading their territory and chatter loudly. I began to imagine that whenever I was having a hard time on the trail, the chipmunks would be laughing at me with their annoying little voices. Little Boardman Mountain was a pleasant summit that provided some decent views of Crawford Pond and the Jo-Mary Lakes. We’ve been using Gu and Stinger energy gels to get us over these hills. They really have made a difference.
The lakes and brooks brought great opportunities to cool our aching feet. Yep, take off the shoes and wiggle your toes in the sandy bottom of a cool, clear lake or dip them in a rushing brook. We would repeat this cooling process a couple of times and take another 35,000 steps today.
Next morning, getting our usual late start we filtered a few liters from the brook and were on the trail at a decent pace. Eventually, we would parallel Rainbow Stream and began a gradual climb into the forest. The humidity was high, and I think we were losing more water than we could take in. We would end up drinking about 5 liters of water today. I ended up getting a lot of use from my water filtration system: Sawyer Products Complete Water Filtration System This thing is bulletproof and great for two or more campers.
Rainbow Stream at times was a rushing torrent through narrow crevices and multiple cascades. It was one of the fastest flowing streams of the entire trip. Taking a break, we observed several young people frolicking downstream. Tempting, but we owed the taskmaster about 5 more miles today. After a while, I found myself daydreaming and ended up in an area that opened up. I noticed a hiker setting up his tent and saw the Rainbow Stream Lean-To below. There were several northbound section hikers who were trying to make Rainbow Springs Campground a few miles away. Thunderstorms were all around us, but other than a few sprinkles, no rain. A Southbounder warned us about the bogs ahead. Lovely, more bogs. Actually, it could have been much worse – if it had been raining, we would have been sloshing through the bogs instead of hopping from rock to rock and root to root.
We took a break and dipped our feet in the stream. Trying to keep my feet out of the dirt, I almost fell in. This was a busy lean-to as a couple of more So-Bo’s would stop in. It was around 4 p.m. and most hikers would be settling in for the day. Not us, we still had a good 5 or 6 hours to go. A bridge made up of several logs made for a precarious crossing. The thunder would continue, and we actually hoped for some rain. Lightning struck within a mile or so, the crack was sharp and loud. I imagined there was one less tree in the forest. As we made our way around the various lakes and ponds, the trail would be within yards of the water. Mostly boggy at this point, it would slow our progress. The gnats and mosquitoes were relentless, but we pressed on.
I used this backpack for the AT hike in Maine: Deuter ACT Lite 65+10 Backpack – Emerald/Anthracite Also got a custom fit waterproof cover made for the Deuter. Well worth it; more stylish than a trash bag.