Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Hundred Mile Wilderness

I know I've already done a post about Katahdin and Baxter State Park, but Maine is where I was born and the last 100 miles of the AT, between the town of Monson and Abol Stream at the border of the park, is probably worth a mention...

No, Piglet, it's not the Hundred Acre Wood, it's the Hundred Mile Wilderness, a tractless expanse of  the original Great Northern Forest, impenetrable and forbidding...okay, it's not that bad. There are no towns or tarred roads, but there are some logging roads that intersect the trail and I've heard that there are some enterprising people in the area that offer supplies, refreshments and rest to the weary hikers passing through.

The previously-mentioned Appalachian Mountain Club recently completed a very successful fundraising drive so they could purchase a big portion of the land around the AT in this area. Their goal, part of their Maine Woods Initiative, is to keep it mostly untouched and so maintain some of the impenetrable-and-forbidding character that it's famous for.  A laudable goal certainly, but right now I'm thinking that a little logistic support to the hikers here and there probably isn't a terrible thing, either!

The bottom line is that it's a tough part of the AT and it would probably be a mistake to underestimate it. It really is the middle of Nowhere, and there are some river fordings and other tricky spots that get people into trouble pretty much every year. I can tell you from personal experience that you don't have to go very far outside of any town in Maine (except Kennebunkport, maybe) for it to start feeling like you're in the Deep Woods and, more importantly, even in the summer the weather can turn cold and nasty. Getting a broken leg (or even just a turned ankle) would be pretty inconvenient between Monson and Millinocket...

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