The first (or last) section of the Appalachian Trail is the most remote of the entire trail. It is, as the name suggests, 100 miles of trail without passing a town. Now, it’s not as remote as one might think. There are still dirt roads and bail out options. But it’s all relative right? It took me 9 days to get through, so that says a lot. Anyhow, here it is, summed up:
I entered the wilderness in the evening with Marcus and Tinkerbell. We had left the last sign of civilization at Abol Bridge Campground. First thing they forgot their trekking poles, so we turned around. As we were briefly walking north on the road by the campground, a car stopped and rolled down the window. A guy reached a white paper bag out of the car and said, “Do you guys want a homemade Whoopie Pie?” We accepted willingly, despite having no idea what a Whoopie pie was. It was our first trail magic, we were euphoric!
As we turned back south it started raining. I held the paper bag under my rain jacket and protected it with my life. We walked 3 miles in the rain as it started getting dark and arrived at the Hurd Brook Lean to. The shelter was surprisingly empty so we set up camp in there.
Now fast forward to after dinner. Time for the Whoopie Pie. It had gotten a little squashed under my jacket but was intact. It was huge and weighed probably a kilo (about 2 pounds). We split it 3 ways and I tried a bite cautiously. Oh My God. I thought for a moment that I died and went to heaven. It was that good! So to describe it without doing it justice whatsoever: It’s two dense chocolate cakes with lots of heavenly frosting in between. Think ice cream sandwich basically.
As we all got into our sleeping bags we looked out of the shelter and saw several tiny lights in the forest. One after one more lights popped up. It took us a while to realize they were fireflies putting on a show for us. Just when I thought the day couldn’t get any better.
The next few days were all full of events, but listing them all would take too long. So I’ll sum it up.
We stopped at all the possible lakes for a swim. For three days in a row we camped on beaches. For a while there I even forgot how dirty I was.
The terrain was sort of flat, but walking was still slow because of all the roots and rocks on the trail. That combined with just starting out made for short days.
On the 5th day I met two new friends, Sincerity and Barefoot who’s actually walking the entire trail barefoot(!!!)
On day 6 we had a big group of southbounders at the shelter we stayed at. We laughed a lot and shared stories. It felt sort of like the beginning of a trail family. Everyone from the past few days were there. Plus a girl named Jenni who caught up to us, despite starting two days later.
The next morning we all went over White Cap, the biggest mountain since Katahdin and the highest peak in the 100 mile. In a thunderstorm. Not to recommend. Everyone made it down the other side safe and sound though. If anything a little wet.
The wilderness had a couple of river fords, but nothing significant. Mostly going up and down mountains of varying size.
On day 7 I started feeling like the pace we had been keeping was too slow. The wilderness had started feeling suffocating somehow. So I made it a little further that day to Chairback Gap Shelter. Jennie and Sin made it there as well. I also met Earth Surfer with his dog Kabra, WhiteBread, OTB (Off The Bench) and Tomato.
On day 8 I had service for the first time in over a week. It was good to assure everyone I was okay. They got a bit worried. That night me, OTB and Jennie made it 8 miles from the road into town and the end of the wilderness.
The morning of day 9 I hiked as as fast as I could without stopping, dreaming about what food to eat in town. At 11am I made it to the road. It almost felt like out of the forest and into a white light of hope. Okay maybe not that dramatic, but I sure was happy to be done with the 100 Mile Wilderness.
Sounds anazing nick ! Must be tough terrain if it took nine days to walk 160k, but as you said up and down mountains can’t be easy. Keep the storys coming, and continue the adventure