Miles from Springer Mountain: 2161.9
Miles to Mount Katahdin: 30.1
It’s been a whirlwind of emotion during my time in the Hundred Mile Wilderness. Every so often a southbounder will congratulate me on my accomplishment, the signs post fewer and fewer miles to Katahdin, I’m now on the second to last page of my guidebook, and I can tell my time on trail is dwindling as my food bag gets lighter and lighter. I’m enjoying this last major step, it hasn’t been as easy as I anticipated, but it’s been the most beautiful reward I could earn after walking so far.
I woke up early on the 13th ready to conquer! I was gonna fly over the Chairbacks and get as close to White Cap Mountain to set myself up well for the next day. I woke up early, made my breakfast, and began to pack up, I don’t know what I was doing but I laid my head down for a second only to wake up two hours later. My morning was ruined! My plan to make saturday a big mileage day turned into a day dragging my body uphill and downhill, slapping at bugs, and cursing myself for falling asleep. Thankfully, despite beating myself up, the trail was still there and I carried myself as far as I could. I ended up in a beautiful tent spot next to a river, although I didn’t get to enjoy the view – the mosquitoes weren’t worth it.
I was in better headspace the next morning, consequentially my body felt better after doing low miles the day before. Ahead lay White Cap Mountain, the last large mountain before Katahdin. It was damp, lightly raining; the bugs were held at bay in the morning. All the work to summit White Cap and I didn’t even get to take a good picture of Katahdin! The best part of getting over this last ridge is the endless, flat valley that follows it – the next 65 miles are only interrupted with 3-4 mountains that more resemble bumps in the earth. The early morning climb had warmed up my muscles, I flew over the flat ground until my legs hurt enough to tell me to quit. My first 25+ mile day in what feels like ages, but in reality about a month.
The 15th felt great right from the start, the only thing separating me from Katahdin was about 56 miles, and no bugs were going to hurt my mental headspace. The day consisted of an overall incline of less than 1500 feet, an extremely flat day! I flew through the terrain, only interrupted by ruts and roots that hurt the bottom of my feet. As the day wore on the bugs began to be a real bother, I ran out of DEET a few days back, but by now I’ve become a skilled swatter. I made it all the way to the Rainbow Stream Lean-to, the 3rd to last shelter on the AT. I set up my tent to take refuge from the bugs and relaxed for the night, only 30 miles from Katahdin.
The HMW is almost over and with it the entire Appalachian Trail, I feel as if it’s almost the last sip of a fine wine – I’ve enjoyed the glass as a whole, but I’m ready to move onto the next bottle. Only a few miles left, I’ll take a sip of that wine and give a toast to Mt. Katahdin, my last step to conquer the Appalachian Trail.