Walking out of The Hundred Mile Wilderness

We backpacked 16 miles today in order to reach my car, that was spotted at Abol Bridge at the end of the Hundred Mile Wilderness.  I pitched it to the guys that our goal was to walk 12 miles again, a distance that we had been accomplishing the past few days. That 12 miles would have put us at the last lean-to, at Hurd Brook. When we reached that empty shelter, on a day that was clear and sunny, with ample daylight left,  four more miles ( flat terrain) to the Appalachian Trail Cafe for dinner in Millinocket were easily completed.

Here are some photos from our last day:

Jocomotove and I successfully shuffled over the slippery log bridge above Rainbow Stream. G-Man walked right through the water.

G-Man gets to try his waders
G-Man gets to try his waders

The floor of Rainbow Stream shelter has the original baseball- bat style saplings.  Only in Maine.  Not so comfortable for sleeping on a thin foam mat.  My Neo Air had no problem with it.

No plywood in this place.
No plywood in this place.

The only uphill of the day was just 400′ of elevation over the always astounding Rainbow Ledges.  Joe and I took a break here. We had an 18 year old female thru-hiker named Sprout take our picture. I was in awe that a young woman just out of high school could arrive at Katahdin looking as fresh as a spring daisy after 5 months on the AT.

Two old friends near Katahdin
Two old friends near Katahdin

After we descended the Ledges, the trail meandered through a Lord of the Rings landscape.

Our last memories
Our last memories

When we reached Millinocket, we bee-lined it to the AT Cafe, where I phoned up Ole Man to find out how the thru-hiker evacuation played out.

It was no surprise to me that it did not end well.  Ole Man said that when he got the guy in his Suburban, the hiker’s ankle didn’t seem to be that much of an issue. The trouble started when the hiker absolutely refused to leave the Suburban to go into the clinic and have his injuries assessed.  Next!  Other than the $20 bill I gave the guy, he had no money, nor any credit cards of his own.  How was he going to pay for his expenses in town. The young man had told me that he planned to call his father and have his father help him pay for stuff.  Ole Man said that didn’t pan out either.  The guy’s father only had an American Express card, which Ole Man was not set up to process, either at the AT Lodge, which is the hiker hostel in town, or at the AT cafe, which Ole Man also owns.  Normally, folks have a backup to an American Express card, which tends to be declined at backwoods Maine businesses.  So, at the end of that day, Ole Man brought the  fellow over to stay at his Hostel.  Maybe a solution could be achieved to help this guy get back home?  That next morning, Ole Man had to leave early to shuttle some folks to the AT.  When Ole Man came back to assist the hiker, he discovered that the guy had just left, without a note. Vamoose !  End of story.

Ole Man said that he has usually just one thru-hiker case every year that leaves a bad taste in his mouth.  I was the guy that made that happen in 2014!  Ole Man let me know that there were no hard feelings between him and I. I volunteered to cover the charges that the fellow rang up, but Ole Man would have noting to do with me paying.

In retrospect, I would have done the exact same thing if I encountered another injured hiker in need out in The Hundred. People can get lost and die out there.

So Ole Man would get in his Suburban yet again, probably sometime soon, to evacuate the next injured hiker.  I hope that hiker, has a means to pay for the time, gas, and lodging that Ole Man would offer, as he does day after day, many times a day, in assisting hikers as they experience all the jewels along the path that the Appalachian Trail has to offer.

8 thoughts on “Walking out of The Hundred Mile Wilderness

  1. Smart move about forwarding the names. The A.T. only works as well as it does when the Trail Guardians are cooperating up and down the Trail. It’s always interesting to me to see how this works. That young girl had a fine experience and will have a lifetime memory, but may never know of the network of hikers that looked out for her and others. Bravo!


    1. You make a very good point, Joe. When a solo 18 year old beauty is able to embrace the greatest accomplishment of her life – alone and glowing like a thousand watt bulb, know that many other hikers helped keep her safe on her odyssey north.


  2. Slow Gin Lizz

    Aw, what a disappointing end to the story of the injured guy. I wonder where he’ll show up next?

    Anyway, love your trail reports on the 100MW. I’d love to hike it myself one of these days.


    1. Thanks for commenting, Gin Fizz. Great trail name. I appreciate your comment. I have been through The Hundred five times now and already can’t wait to get back. There is nothing like it. It’s got that old time feeling.


  3. Joe Rehmeyer

    Thank you Uncle Tom. This was an awesome hike with you and G Man. It was so good to be back on the 100 Mile Wilderness of the AT after 37 years! It did my soul good and I felt right at home. Slocomotive


    1. Jocomotive, the pleasure was almost 100% mine. It continues to give me deep satisfaction that you and I were able to walk on the AT, where we both have spent months of our lives. I swear, at times, I was not sure to make of your strong steady pace. I was puffin! You are living proof of my theory that a long-distance hiker resets their neural software on their initial hike and that when he or she engages in that activity again, even if decades later, as in your case, the body resumes walking again at the same pace where it let off the last time it was released. Yes, I meant Released, maybe this time with the big R.


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