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mAineAc
08-08-2004, 00:08
I am going to be doing the 100 mile wilderness in Maine. I am planning 5 days but will have enough supplies for 6. I am a strong hiker but I haven't done any hikes quite this long yet. I was planning on starting from the Helon Taylor trail and go up Katahdin. But I am thinking this might make it a little long and might just start from the Abol Bridge. I have the time, I might bring a little extra food and maybe go for 7 or 8 days. How long does it take the average hiker to get through the 100 mile wilderness? Any suggestions to make the trip as easy as possible?

attroll
08-08-2004, 00:33
5 days. Hmm. I don't want to discourage you but I would not plan on getting it done in 5 days. I would plan on 9 or 10 and hope for less. 5 days is doing 20 mile days at least every day. 1/2 of the 100 mile wilderness is pretty flat but the other have has some good mountians as well. I am not saying it can not be done. But I would not push myself to do it in 5 days unless you know for a fact you can do it. The other thing about doing it in 5 days if you can do it is that you will not have time to enjoy it if you are hiking that fast.

MOWGLI
08-08-2004, 07:55
I am going to be doing the 100 mile wilderness in Maine. I am planning 5 days but will have enough supplies for 6.

Let me echo ATTROLL's sentiments. I did it in 5 days in 2000, but I was at the end off a NOBO thru-hike, and in the best shape of my life. If I was to try that section today, I'd be sure to allow at least 8 days. Even the "flat" places that Troll refers to are strewn with mud, rocks & roots.

I hope that helps. Have a great hike!

mAineAc
08-08-2004, 08:11
Ok then probably I would want to hold off doing the katahdin part :) Do you think it would be better to start from the Monson side and go thorugh or to start from the Abol Bridge side?

attroll
08-08-2004, 10:47
Ok then probably I would want to hold off doing the katahdin part :) Do you think it would be better to start from the Monson side and go thorugh or to start from the Abol Bridge side?
From Monson to Abol bridge is the part that is considered the 100 mile wilderness. I was not talking about Katadhin. I did not know you meant you wanted Katahdin in there also.

MOWGLI
08-08-2004, 10:52
Ok then probably I would want to hold off doing the katahdin part :) Do you think it would be better to start from the Monson side and go thorugh or to start from the Abol Bridge side?

There is probably a greater variety of food available in Monson than at the campstore at Abol Bridge, so you might want to finish there. Of course, it's pretty cool to walk north towards Katahdin and see that great big block of granite get closer & closer. You can't miss either way IMO.

weary
08-08-2004, 11:11
It's a beautiful stretch of trail, with numerous lakes and ponds, some with sand beaches. If you can spare the time, I would recommend that you not rush. Take time to enjoy the views, the side trails though Gulf Hagas and up Potaywadjo Ridge, and enjoy the opportunities for lazy afternoons on wild beaches and the cool waterfall at Cooper Brook lean-to.

I would start at Monson with 10 days of food. Plan on a liesurely walk and if you run ahead of schedule, you can always spend a couple of nights in Baxter Park, exploring Katahdin and the surrounding mountains.

Weary

mAineAc
08-08-2004, 14:02
I hope it doesn't take me 10 days. I don't have that much time. But just in case... I guess I am better off with enough than not enough. I only have 10 days off and I need to have travel time in there.

weary
08-08-2004, 16:30
I hope it doesn't take me 10 days. I don't have that much time. But just in case... I guess I am better off with enough than not enough. I only have 10 days off and I need to have travel time in there.

If you want Katahdin to be part of your walk, you can cut off half the 100 miles by picking up the AT where it crosses the Jo Mary Campground Road. There is only lake country from there to Baxter State Park. That makes a hike of about 65 miles, including the round trip up and down Katahdin. Add in side trails for a total of about 70 or so.

The Jo Mary road branches from Route 11, a dozen miles or so south of Millinocket and maybe 20 miles north of Brownville.

Weary

Tramper Al
08-08-2004, 17:28
if you run ahead of schedule, you can always spend a couple of nights in Baxter Park, exploring Katahdin and the surrounding mountains.
Not true, of course. You cannot just show up at Baxter and stay a couple of nights, without a reservation.
Having walked north the 100 miles, though, a hiker is allowed one night's stay at the Birches campsite.

weary
08-08-2004, 21:14
Not true, of course. You cannot just show up at Baxter and stay a couple of nights, without a reservation.
Having walked north the 100 miles, though, a hiker is allowed one night's stay at the Birches campsite.

Tramper is right. But one failure of the reservation system is that people routinely fail to show. In my experience something often opens up -- especially if one arrives during a weekday or after Labor Day -- or is willing to take a walk in campsite or a less convenient campground.

If worse comes to worse, it's usually easy to hitch a ride to campgrounds outside the park, or wait an extra day at Abol Bridge for a Baxter opening.

Weary

attroll
08-08-2004, 21:15
I would not atempt from Monson to Abol bridge in under 10 days. I would set a goal of 10 days at least. But like Weary said if you want to include Katahdin then you could start at Jo-Mary road and head north.

Mausalot
08-08-2004, 23:34
The actual trek from Monson to Katahdin is more like 120 miles (with the return off Mt. K). I didn't find the actual hiking particularly strenuous in terms of vertical (until the end) but if you do the math, well, can you hike 20 mile days? 15 mile days? There is a spot to get supplies in the middle, White House Landing, but it is a bit off the trail and pricey.

We tackled the 100 mile wilderness when we were in decent, but not excellent shape, chasing down the main subject of our documentary 2000 Miles to Maine (http://homepage.newschool.edu/~at2k/). 20+ mile days killed us. 12-15 would have been perfect. But our subject was a NOBO and at the end of his journey in great shape.

Also, I would strongly encourage you to hike Katahdin, one of the most amazing mountains I've ever climbed, though you do need to work out how the park will work for you. If you arrive early in the morning, it should be no problem. Long distance hikers (not only thru hikers, but those coming from the 100 mile wilderness) are allowed to stay at the Birches.

Finally, and I hope no one hunts me down, the 100 mile wilderness ain't all that. It's not particularly wildernessy (there are plenty of access roads and camps) and certainly you can find other beautiful stretches of trail in Maine where you can just hike and bail at any point easily. My suggestion, hike Mt. K, then pick a stretch elsewhere (Monson and hike south perhaps) so you can simply stop and hitch a ride somewhere when yer done time wise. We did that when hiking north from springer and only had a week. Walked until we dropped, then caught a ride out. It works well. The 100 mile wilderness sounds more romantic than it is.

Camerman, 2000 Miles to Maine (http://homepage.newschool.edu/~at2k/) :dance

weary
08-09-2004, 09:01
Finally, and I hope no one hunts me down, the 100 mile wilderness ain't all that. It's not particularly wildernessy (there are plenty of access roads and camps) and certainly you can find other beautiful stretches of trail in Maine where you can just hike and bail at any point easily. ... The 100 mile wilderness sounds more romantic than it is.

Camerman, 2000 Miles to Maine (http://homepage.newschool.edu/~at2k/) :dance

Very true. The name was coined by a former editor of the Maine Appalachian Trail Club's guide to the trail in Maine as a way of highlighting the fact that there is no resupply in the 100 miles between Monson and Abol Bridge (and even the latter then was pretty meager. It's improved somewhat since.)

But except for a newly reopened sporting camp near the end of the stretch, and a campground store with sporadic hours, (think a 12 miles round trip with no assurance that the store will be open) you remain a long distance from ordinary civilization -- knowledge that was reenforced once when a companion slipped on a wet bog bridge and broke her wrist.

Though logging roads cross the "wilderness" every few miles, only a couple of them have enough regular traffic to rely on for emergency evacuation or resupply. Don't think of it as wilderness. But it is as close as the Appalachian Trail gets to wilderness, besides being an absolutely delightful walk.

Weary

mAineAc
08-09-2004, 10:00
Well, I have hiked katahdin a few times. I will probably start in Monson and go the 100 mile wilderness. If I have time at the end I will hike katahdin. I haven't had a chance this year to do katahdin, but I will do it later somethime this year I am sure.

Wendigo
08-09-2004, 10:12
My trip through the 100-Mile Wilderness in 1985 took 11 days. About 9 were planned for, but three days of continual, torrential rain changed things fast! Hiking through the Chairbacks is tough enough, but climbing up and down waterfalls didn't help the pace and was downright terrifying at times. At one point a stream crossing was impossible due to flooding, stopping the hike an entire day until the water subsided.

My point is, of course, to plan for weather and terrain contingencies that might make your short hike much longer than you planned. I recommend at least 10 days provisions to get through this stretch.

Otherwise...I found this the most mystical, wonderful, beautiful section of the AT, personally. I only wish more sections had been as remote and wild as the 100-Mile.

I wish you well on your trip; savor each mile!

Jack Tarlin
08-09-2004, 12:03
I've done this stretch 8 outta the last 9 years. It always seems to take about six and a half days.

Were I to do it again, I'd pack a little extra food (or resupply at White House Landing) and do it in seven or eight.

TJ aka Teej
08-09-2004, 22:26
How long does it take the average hiker to get through the 100 mile wilderness?
There is no average hiker, alas. 6-7 days, if you're fit and the weather's fair.