View Full Version : 100 Mile Wilderness Section Hike

04-19-2014, 01:46
Hi Everyone - Long time reader, first time poster (newly registered).

My brother in law and I are looking to hike the 100 mile wilderness in late July and would like perspective on our current approach, and help on a couple of questions we have.

We're both experienced hikers and avid endurance-sportsmen. We try to do at least one backcountry trip together each year, but do several on our own otherwise. We plan to hike northbound from Monson with no resupply and would like to do better than 20 miles each day. Our last section hike was the Smokies portion of the AT (6 days, including some additional off-AT hiking). Here are the areas where we'd appreciate any perspective y'all might have:

What is availability like at shelters in the 100MW? Should we plan on staying outside of a shelter most nights?
Which map(s) are best to use to prepare for the hike, and where can I find them?
Generally, can we count on shelters every 10 miles or so, or are they further apart in the 100MW?
Any suggestions on how to divvy up the mileage/days?


We carry hammocks and prefer not to use tents. We carry one dry-fly between the two of us (we double up on the same set of trees when it rains). Are there any stretches on the 100MW where hammocks are not practical?
Rain-gear - From what I've read, some seem to equate Maine to SE Asia in the monsoon season - Any recommendations on something that I won't overheat in?
Shoes - I hike in light mid-top shoes that offer some water protection. Should I take my trail runners instead to handle the all of the water? (My over the ankle boots will retain water/weigh more longer than the trail-runners, but will not offer the support for traversing more technical terrain with a heavy load).

Thanks for any/all advice y'all have on our questions or in general!


04-19-2014, 06:38
I did it last summer, in the middle of June. Used a hammock and there are plenty of places to hang. No need to stay at shelters with a hammock. There are tent sites too, or just find a likely looking spot. Plenty of water.

You don't really need a map, get one of the guidebooks that lists everything by the mile - I use AWOL's AT Guide, but there are others. He has a web page where you can buy it.

Why NOBO? It seems a little easier to section this going SOBO, which is what I did. Drive to Monson and park at Shaw's Hostel. They will shuttle you to Abol Bridge - hike back to your car, get in it and go home. Easy...

I did it in 7 days/6 nights. Lots of people do it faster and slower. The northern half is almost flat, and if it weren't for the rocks and roots would be easy. The southern half has lots of climb and more fords.

July shouldn't be too bad. I plan to start my SOBO thru July 12th...

Migrating Bird
04-19-2014, 08:22
As Forrest described, I also elected to go SOBO having been shuttled by Dawn at Shaws to Katahdin Stream CG. A climb up Katahdin should be included if time permits. The hike from KSCG south to Abol is also flat and is quite pleasant, passing ponds and waterfalls.

Maps I carried through out ME, https://www.atctrailstore.org/catalog/iteminfo.cfm?itemid=1&compid=1

I hammocked and never stayed in shelters, no problem. I would bring 1 tarp each and not try to share, but thats me. I have a Packa which doubles as a wind shirt. In the 100 MW you will just as wet from the fir trees adjacent to the trail even if it is not raining.

I do not try to set goals for milage each day. Roots, rocks, bogs and wet slate in the southern portion of the 100MW makes hiking interesting. I find myself looking down most of the time.

Enjoy your hike.

04-19-2014, 08:48
cwhitt7: congrats on deciding to hike the 100 Mile Wilderness. It's a gorgeous section of trail!

As to your questions:
1) there are shelters an easy day a part. However, you should still definitely carry a tent or tarp. Shelter might be full or you might not like the shelter (they aren't all nice or in pretty spots).
2) be prepared to ford large streams that are up to knee deep. there are no bridges.
3) don't hike before at least early July or you will have mega bugs, mud and high water in streams.
4) no need to carry a map unless you want to for curiosity sake.
5) don't stress about mileage. That said, I'd recommend scaling back the 20+ mpd to 10-15. Enjoy the area. Plus the mtns may not be high but that doesn't mean the hiking is easy. mud, rocks, roots steep.
6) the reason to hike northbound (in my view) is to have the climax at the end of the awesome view of MT Katahdin from Abol Bridge. Plus the camp ground there is gorgeous!

04-19-2014, 13:25
I agree with the other posts, but would add one piece of advice -- allow some flexibility in your schedule for weather. In the past, I have done it in 7 days, six nights, but the last time I started at Abol going south in the rain. It rained solid for three days. The slippery roots and mud made the 7 day schedule impossible for me.

04-19-2014, 16:38
Bring a map. If you need to bail, the map is what is going to get you out of the woods.

A option to consider is to stop by one of the AMC lodges about half way through,

There are individuals that will resupply you half way through.

The shuttle between the beginning and end is a long one

04-19-2014, 17:27
All very good insights, thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts. Speaking of weather (rain), is there a high likelihood that a rainy day or two will cause delays due to impassable rivers? I've read where that has happened to others, but how frequent is it that rivers cannot be forded due to a day of rain or so?



04-19-2014, 17:41
In late July there shouldn't be any stream fording issues. It's remotely possible a strong thunderstorm could rise the water levels a bit, but it would be short lived. The early June hikers are the ones in trouble. The multipule days of rain occur in late May / early June and when combined with any lingering snow melt, getting across will be a challenge. By July it's just the afternoon and early evening thunderstorms you have to worry about.