View Full Version : Preparing for my longest section hike yet

07-18-2012, 07:42
Hey guys,

I'm preparing for a 10 day hike in northern maine that will take me (slowly, ever so slowly) through the 100 mile and land me at Katahdin. I'm super excited - it will be the longest hike I've done both in miles and time on the trail. I think this time on the trail will help me decide if I ever want to thru-hike.

I'm preparing a gear/food list and had a few questions. They are probably newbie questions, so I appreciate your patience. I want to be thorough since it's a remote section of trail.

1. What do folks bring for bread on the trail? I'm a big fan of really good multigrain bread, but I don't want to be eating smushed bread on day 5. :)

2. Is fresh fruit just out of the question because of the weight? I'm planning on bringing dried fruit in trail mix, I just love fresh food.

3. What type of hard cheese would be possible? You can get little packets of sharp cheddar that are individually wrapped for a snack, I was thinking about some of those. Worth it? I live in Maine, it's been super hot lately.

4. I'm planning a resupply at White house Landing. Can I get packaged noodle meals, tuna packets, cheese, bread, etc there? What do they have? Anyone been through there lately?

5. Any suggestions/tricks for preventing blisters would be welcome.

6. Any recommendations for protein besides chicken and tuna packets for a sandwich? I'm not a beef eater. :)

7. And I was wondering - would anyone would be willing to critique my gear/food list? I can post it here if folks are okay with that, or you can PM me. You can be harsh, I can take it. :)

I did a three day hike last summer and my pack weight was about 32 pounds - it felt fine, I was really pleased with how it felt and how I prepared. I expect it to be more this time due to the extra food, but I definitely don't want it over 40!

Any feedback, thoughts, words of wisdom much appreciated!

07-18-2012, 08:07
1. Tortillas are my favorite. They'll last a week, easy. Bagels are okay, but get stale after a few days. But my go-to bread-like item is the tube of Ritz crackers. They go with everything - cheese, peanut butter, tuna salad, etc. - and they don't get easily crushed. An 8-pack of tubes gives me 8 meals.

2. Fresh fruit is fine for the first day or two. But it takes up a lot of space and weight for the calories. Enjoy an apple on your first day, then go with dried.

3. The little packets of cheddar work. A big hunk of cheddar works, too, but both of them will start to get soft and oily pretty fast. The seriously processed cheese will last forever -- you know, the kind of "cheddar flavored american cheese food product" that comes with a holiday basket. Also, I found individually wrapped Hormel pepperoni and cheese sticks in the grocery store, and they lasted 4 or 5 days of very hot weather and looked like they would last indefinitely. In short, any "cheese" that NOT sold in the refrigerated section will last a long time.

5. I use the band-aid blister pads; they stick well and last a couple of days, but they are expensive. Clean the area with an alcohol pad first so they stick better. Duct tape works pretty well, too. Take care of a hot spot as soon as you feel it - don't wait. My mesh trail runners give me many fewer blisters than my old boots did.

6. Instant hummous is terrific. Fantastic Food brand, I think. Goes well on crackers or a tortilla. Also, I add protein powder to my granola. Or you can add powdered milk to a lot of meals.

7. You can PM me your gear list. I won't be harsh. But us old guys need a lighter pack than the young'uns.

07-18-2012, 08:09
Thank you Ken! I'm going to PM my gear list now.

07-18-2012, 08:54
MetRx meal replacemet bars make for a great protein source. The Big 100 bars weigh (100 grams - duh) 3.5 ounces and are fortified with extra vitamins. I find that eating one of those with a quart of water keeps me from being hungry for quite a long time.

For blister prevention I believe in wearing trail runners that are loosely laced at the bottom and only snug where I tie them. I also hike at about 75 - 80% of whatever I would consider a fast pace for that area. I bring extra socks and during long breaks take off my shoes and socks to let my feet breathe. Also it always feels great to stick you feet in the water. Once you hit Gulf Hagas you will go past a lot of lakes and beaches - plan you breaks around them.

07-18-2012, 09:01
when are you going?Ill be heaed sobo starting aug 3

07-18-2012, 09:20
I'll be hopefully hitting Baxter right around the 2nd/3rd of August! :) giving myself about 8 days from Gulf Hagas. Hoping to climb Katahdin on the 3rd.

Going super slow to avoid injury and really enjoy myself. :)

07-18-2012, 09:30
I'll be hopefully hitting Baxter right around the 2nd/3rd of August! :) giving myself about 8 days from Gulf Hagas. Hoping to climb Katahdin on the 3rd.

Going super slow to avoid injury and really enjoy myself. :)ill be at abol night of the 2nd, KSC on the 3rd, then heading out of baxter 8/4. see you up there. good luck.

07-18-2012, 09:45
I just completed this section. And carried only about 15 Lbs without water.

It is possible to do a pretty good re supply at White House Landing.

I did a no cook menu for all of this summer hiking. Fresh foods last about 1-2 days, Protein bars a lot longer
Joseph flax and oat breads, pita or small sandwich breads have 5-6 g protein and lasted for a week. available in the deli area of some markets, not in the bread or tortilla area.

A 8 oz block of cheese lasts me about 3 days, or less. Yes it get a bit oily on day 3 but still is great.
White house has cheese also.

If you have the time, a zero day there is really nice.

Although it is, "the 100 mile wilderness" it is not all that bad. Going NOBO it took 4 night and 5 days walking from Monson to White House, then 1 night 2 days to Abol bridge.
The Abol Pines campground is a very nice spot and reasonable priced.

07-18-2012, 09:49
A few thoughts:

1. Multigrain tortilla wraps compact easily - I use them especially where bulk is a concern.

2. I bring fresh fruit sometimes for the first day only.

3. Speaking of fresh, a garlic clove packs and lasts pretty well, adding flavor and the nutritional benefits of garlic to your meals.

4. The best thing about White House Landing is the burger or pizza for dinner, ice cream, and the breakfast. I don't recall it as being a great place to resupply and they no longer accept mail drops.

5. For protein, I rely a lot on peanuts in 2 ways: as snacks during the day where your body also benefits from the salt and in my dinners. On the latter front, you grind dry-roasted peanuts at home in your blender. Pack them in a baggie. On the Trail, cook your grain (rice, couscous, bulgur wheat, whatever), add the ground peanuts, heat & simmer for about a minute, and enjoy your dinner. Don't forget to add the garlic! Lastly, quinoa is a complete protein but it takes a bit longer to cook, usually 10-12 minutes. Maybe you can use it for one meal.

07-18-2012, 10:13
Dehydrated refried beans are good. Just add water. Many stores now carry them. Ditto on dried hummus. It's good by itself or spread on a tortilla or pita.

Bread-most people use bagels,pita or tortillas.

Fresh fruit...forget it...get some dried fruit.

blisters-especially in the summer-keep feet dry. change socks at lunch. Consider wearing liner socks. Treat feet with body glide..

07-18-2012, 12:37
Goonky... enjoy the hike.. wish I was going too! If you can do the hike in late August or September, you'll have best weather conditions. Avoid Late May, June early July... you'd have mud, high streams, and lots of bugs. Plan to take the whole 10 days.. this section of trail is easily the most gorgeous portion of the AT! I assume you start at Monson and hike to Katahdin yes? Remember, you can resupply on food at Abol Bridge (10 miles before Baxter State park) and also at White House Landing which is 2/3 of way through 100 mile wilderness. But be prepared to poney up lots of cash (or even more if you use credit card) if you stay at White House Landing. The AT Lodge and Cafe is probably the most hiker friendly establishment to stay and eat in at Millinocket when your hike is done.


07-18-2012, 12:45
Thought I would address some of your questions. Previous post was just general comments.

Bread: use either pita bread or bagels. Normal bread (ie wonder) will get squished beyond usability.
gorp, snickers, milkyway bars always works well.

Fresh fruit.. biggest problem is it won't keep. If you want some, eat on your first day out after buying.

Cheese is definitely worth it and makes everything taste better. Go for a hard cheddar.

Whitehouse landing: yes you can resupply with candy, noodles and all that stuff. Be warned it's very expensive. VERY. Plus the guy gets easily annoyed. Discaimer: I have been there only once.. my 2006 thru in September.

not a beef eater.. no problem (accept you'll miss out on the 1 pound white house landing burgers!) since meet doesn't keep.
Get protien from cheese, from candy, from dehydrated milk.

preventing blisters.. age old question! -- make sure your boots are well broken in before hike. Keep feet dry. wear socks that are not cotton and have a nylon spandex type blend. Also boots must fit properly. I'd caution against wearing sneakers/running shoes. Many younger hikers seem to swear by them, but they caused me foot pain.

07-18-2012, 16:46
Thank you all for the great feedback. It's made me re-evaluate some things. Great ideas! Ken checked my gear list and gave it a general thumbs up with some really good tips.

I'm actually skipping the section below Gulf Hagas. Starting at Gulf Hagas - doing the side trail to see it - then over Whitecap. The rest will hopefully be easy and relaxing. Hoping to stop at lots of streams and ponds.

Complete change of pace from my computer job. :)

07-18-2012, 18:31
I did this section earlier this year. Here are thoughts:

1) Keep your weight as low as possible--preferably around 30 lbs or less.
2) As far as the trail goes, first 15 miles rough and up and down, no elevation to speak of, but a reasonably tough section; the next section--Chairback Range, is very tough; the following section, Whitecap Range, is not tough, elevation, but easy trail; the next section approximately 25 miles--until Rainbow Lake, very flat, easy; after Rainbow lake, muddy, rutty and up moderately up and down, until Katahdin Stream. Over all, not that tough of a section--Pleasant, however.
3) Fresh fruit first day or two is fine--but heavy.
4) As far as blister prevention, get a pair of Darn Tough socks and Bridgedale coolmax liner socks--you will never have a blister problem.
5) I can't comment on White House Landing--though I heard the food is good.
6) As far as protein goes, add olive oil to anything you eat--in addition to the recommendations that you outline.

Have a great trip.

07-20-2012, 06:04
pouches of sardines, salmon & tuna are good protein & Are easy

07-20-2012, 06:07
Thank you, I am bringing some of those.

I got a lot of great feedback here and have made some changes.

Can I ask: Does anyone bring chocolate - in the sense: M & Ms in your trail mix, some snicker bars. Snickers are high in calorie and yummy.

I'm worried chocolate will melt though. Wondering if it's worth the mess. Thoughts?

07-20-2012, 07:47
M&Ms are excellent. Very dark chocolate doesn't melt as quickly. (So dark chocolate M&Ms are perfect. And tasty.) I put them in trail mix with cashews and dried cherries. Mmmm. Or just eat them out of the bag.

07-20-2012, 08:49
I've had M&Ms melt in my trail mix on hot days but it was my fault for having them in an outside pocket exposed to direct sunlight. Try to avoid that mistake!

07-20-2012, 08:50
ok! Well you guys have convinced me to bring M&Ms. YAY!

What about mini snicker bars? individually wrapped?

07-20-2012, 10:47
I brought Snickers bars (the big ones) on my hike in June in VAS. It was unusually hot, and they were a mess, even buried in my pack. Not sure what the temps are like in Maine, though -- in VA it was over 90 every day.

07-20-2012, 16:12
If you take mini candy bars, they will melt in the heat, but, when you get to a campsite, put them in a little container, or zip loc bag, and sink the whole container in the cool stream. The bars will firm back up, and you can eat a couple with out a big mess.

07-21-2012, 06:40
If you take mini candy bars, they will melt in the heat, but, when you get to a campsite, put them in a little container, or zip loc bag, and sink the whole container in the cool stream. The bars will firm back up, and you can eat a couple with out a big mess.

Brilliant. That may be worth it to me. :) Thank you!

Thanks everyone - I'm definitely adding some chocolate. :)

coach lou
07-21-2012, 07:20
Brilliant. That may be worth it to me. :) Thank you!

Thanks everyone - I'm definitely adding some chocolate. :)
Chocolate is an important food group:p And King size bars are in LouSDA minimum daily requirements:D