Day 176: 100 Mile Wilderness Day 4

Day 176

October 7th

East Branch Lean-to to Nahmakanta Stream Lean-to

Miles Hiked: 23.8

AT Milage: 2148.0

Last night it rained all night and it didn’t stop when I had woken up in the morning but the temperature was drastically warmer. I was expecting us to get rain or snow for a few days in the 100 mile wilderness and it had finally arrived. Normally when it rains I don’t wear underwear because it’s just another piece of clothing that will get soaking wet. I try to keep as much clothing dry as I possibly can. I was really annoyed to find that I had started my menstrual cycle today of all days. The only thing worse than hiking all day in the pouring rain is doing it while being on your period. Talk about being uncomfortable for almost every minute of the day. I think I usually handle rain like a champ, but when both things happen at the same time it’s a nightmare. Although the rain sucked, I’ve definitely had to hike through much worse rain on this trail. I love how the hardest hardships make others seem not so bad. The terrain was super flat, but the rain contributed more to the constantly wet slippery leaves, rocks, and roots that cover the earthen floors of Maine.

There was only one shelter to stop at and take a break at today. It was by an awesome waterfall, but we didn’t stop for long because we were so wet, shivering, and cold. Again, I realized I didn’t have much food so I tried to ration it as much as I could. Usually I carry a jar of peanut butter as back up emergency calories to eat when I need to supplement a dwindling food supply. Well, I’ve been so hungry the past few day that I ate an entire jar of peanut butter in 3.5 days! That’s how I know I’m desperate for calories. I was even adding spoonfuls of honey to it to make it last longer. A few miles later we took another break in the middle of the rain. We both just needed to rest our feet for a moment and I had service for a breif amount of time to make a phone call to my dad. I had him reserve us a campground at Baxter State Park so we didn’t have to worry about getting one of the twelve spots for long distance hikers at the free shelter for us. It was super nice to have someone at home handle that logistic for us since we were in the middle of nowhere with close to no service and rain all day. Thanks for your help dad!

We had the option today to go to White House Landing which is a traditional Maine hunting camp. It serves as a rustic hostel for hikers as well. To get there we would have to get picked up by a boat ferry and would be obligated to spend the night. There would be hot dinner an a shower included. We discussed the idea, but in the end I decided that having one more night in a shelter on the trail was more important to me, even though we were soaking wet and miserably cold. I also didn’t want to interrupt our experience of the 100 mile wilderness with luxuries the trail couldn’t provide. It seems like it has been a while since I have gone so many consecutive nights in the woods without a town stop, even just for food. In my head, this last 100 mile section before Katahdin is supposed to spent soaking up every last special moment and hardship that I’ve learned to be resilient through.

We arrived at our camp spot for the night before sunset which is very close to 6pm these days. We had a nice newer Lean-to to ourselves for the night and I was so happy to put on dry clothes and get in my sleeping bag. Doc made dinner for the both of us yet again! It was fun to just hang out in the shelter, talking about trail life before our 8pm bedtime. I’ve really appreciated Doc’s friendship as we’ve hiked through Maine together and experienced some epic memories made in this final and emotional season on the trail. It’s nice to share these trail experiences with someone because when I go home, no matter how many pictures I have, or notes I’ve taken no one else but myself and my fellow thru hikers will know what this life is really like.

Happy Trails!

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