The infamous 100 Mile Wilderness of northern Maine, the only thing standing between us and the base of Mt Katahdin. What is the 100 Mile? It is advertised as an isolated and remote stretch of virgin wilderness through marshy moose bog habitat with easy rolling terrain connecting pristine lakes. The idea of hiking completely through this section originated almost a century ago in connecting several hunting camps situated only a day apart. As time passed the hunting camps slowly disappeared and the 100 mile experience changed from something geared toward the upscale outdoorsman to a rugged, self reliant wilderness trek. The foreboding reputation of this section of the Appalachian Trail has created a sense of fear and anxiety amongst the pool of modern AT Thru Hikers and it has now become an almost impassable barrier. Mentally at least. With communication technology developing and an influx of thru-hikers with greater disposable cash, the 100 mile has morphed once again to something different. The distance between Monson, Maine and the Golden Road on the boundary of Baxter State Park is still 100 miles but the mystique of a true wilderness experience has become a thing of the past.
As you may have surmised from the previous couple posts, we did not have the best mental state going into the last 1/3 of our Appalachian Trail thru hike. Our feet hurt, we had less then spectacular scenery and to be perfectly honest we simply were not having fun anymore. We had just spent two days in town in complete bed rest and after four days of hiking it seemed like the down time didn’t help to rejuvenate us in the slightest. Every time we took a zero day it seemed pointless, ineffective and even worse, a waste of time. Walking for a week and taking two days off had proven fruitless twice now, and doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting a different result is often referred to as the definition as insanity.
We knew that our current method of getting to Maine by foot wasn’t working. We also knew that the last thing either of us wanted was to quit the trail. We knew that our bodies and minds were beaten down and probably the worst of all, hiking the Appalachian Trail stopped being fun for about 200 miles. If fortune favors the bold then the time had come to think outside the box but still get our butts to Maine!