Monson, ME to Long Pond Stream Lean To
Miles Hiked: 15.1
AT Milage: 2092.6
This morning I woke up a little before 7am and started packing up my backpack before going downstairs to community breakfast at Shaw’s Hiker Hostel. I had a giant plate of eggs, sausage, home fries, and pancakes in the company of other hikers. I paid my dues and waited around the rest of the morning for the shuttle to bring me back to the trail. It was supposed to leave at 8:15am but no one seemed to be in a rush so we didn’t actually get in the car until after 9. I didn’t mind because it was so cold outside and I wanted to wait until the last second possible to start this last and final leg of the journey. As we got in the car to leave, “Poet” the owner of the hostel left us with a Haiku that I would use as a mantra for the rest of the trail.
“Drink your deepest now,
For the richest stuff
Settles in the last sip.”
I let his words sit in and I tried not to cry as we drove back to the trail for the very last time. I knew this week would be one of the most special in my life.
At the trailhead, Doc, Mismatch, Smiles and I all got dropped off at the edge of the 100 mile wilderness. I’ve been looking forward to this section of the trail for a long time. It seemed surreal that it was finally beginning. At the sign designating the beginning of the section, I took a second to take a deep breath, and acknowledge how blessed I was to be standing where I was. In that moment I felt that there was no place I would rather be. Then I began the final leg of the journey. 114.5 miles until Katahdin.
After my first mile or so on the wet mud and slippery leaves and rocks, Doc caught up to me and we hiked the rest of the day together. I’m so glad that I met someone to hike most of this last special state with. I enjoy his company alot and we both have a similar pace and hiking mindset. At one point in the day, a hiker named Greg, trail name “Slim”, who I haven’t seen since March in GA passed us. It was cool to see someone on trail again that I had met extremely early in this journey. Eventually, we reached Big Wilson Creek where we had quite a significant river Ford. The deepest yet. There was a rope across the river but I didn’t use it to balance because I saw a better route with smaller rocks to step on. The water was deep, I think close to my knees if not above. It was so cold it was painful but it wasn’t anywhere near as bad as I had expected.
Doc and I were falling so much today on the slippery leaves as we have been all week, that we decided to start a fall count for the 100 mile wilderness. Might as well make a game out of something uncontrollably miserable that happens spontaneously on trail. The falls hurt really bad sometimes but the only thing to do is get up and keep walking. I usually laugh.
Around 5pm we arrived at the shelter and set up inside. We made a fire and cooked hot dogs that Doc packed out for us and drank wine that we each packed out in boxes. It was a lot of fun and will always be one of my favorite nights on the trail. What a way to start the 100 mile wilderness! It was a cold night. As soon as the fire died out I was shivering and jumped in my sleeping bag to recharge for another day.