swayze and i hiked out of the 100-mile wilderness today and we still haven't seen a moose! we're 115 miles into our hike in maine, and it's been every high and low imaginable. the climb up katahdin was amazing... when we got to maine, the weather was really crappy, so we waited two days so that we could hike in good, warm, sunshiney weather. if i couldn't finish on katahdin, i was going to have sunshine for it, by golly! the climb was awesome... it was an entire-body workout and i could hardly roll out of bed the next morning. there were parts where you had to lift your foot up to your chest and plant it in a rock and pull yourself up on the ledge above your head and there were parts where if you weren't careful, you could have fallen off the mountain and died. the views were 100% amazing and i kept thinking to myself, "what's this mississippi girl doin' all the way up here in maine?" i cried when we hit the top... it's just such an emotional high! the only "downside" to our hike up to katahdin was the fact that by the time we got to the summit, there were at least 30, if not 50, day hikers up there and it was completely crowded. taylor and i both got our pictures by the sign, but all the groups were being so loud. i really wish people would treat katahdin like a library. i wanted to yell, "could y'all please be quiet? i'm trying to have a moment here!" :) if anybody's reading this that hasn't done katahdin yet, i've got two suggestions: get up EARLY, as soon as they post the weather forecast, and hike before the day hikers even wake up, and don't bother with your poles. i didn't use them at all... you can't, really, except on the tableland, but it's flat enough that you don't need them.
the 100-mile wilderness was... sigh. long. i didn't realize how much "out of shape" i was for that kind of hiking... i think flipping from jersey kind of screwed me for making decent mileage. the last couple of hundred miles that i hiked before i flipped were relatively flat... va, md, pa, nj... with the exception of va, i don't think any of those states have peaks above 2,500', much less the 5,000'+ peak that katahdin is. they tell you to pack in 8-10 days' worth of food for the wilderness, and i took six and a half days' worth. it wasn't enough. i didn't sleep well two nights in a row, so trying to hike when i was pretty worn out wasn't a very good idea, but i didn't have enough food on me, either. the weather was pretty decent the first couple of days in, but a few days ago, rain was forecast with at least a 60% chance, and all i ate that day was probably 400 cals worth of granola for breakfast, then a pack of ritz cheese crackers when i realized my granola wasn't going to get me up the mountain. it started sprinkling around lunchtime, so when we got to a shelter on top of a mountain, i decided swayze and i were going to take a nap and catch up on our sleep and warm up (it's already cold up here!!). we didn't move for the next eighteen hours; we stayed in our sleeping bag until the next morning. that night, i rationed out my food and ate a nature's valley granola bar. my reasoning was that if i didn't hike much that day, i didn't need a lot of food... i ate less than 1,000 calories that day. good thing, too, because all that food i saved myself from eating then really helped me through the 15 miles we did today to get out of the wilderness. it's just really weird how i've been out here for so long, and i'm still not good with figuring out what to eat and when to eat it and how much of it to eat. i honestly thought i had enough food with me when i walked into the woods... and maybe i guess i did, had they been new jersey woods. but they were maine woods. and maine woods are different.
maine has been good and bad and everything in between already. it's been gorgeous and sunny, but we've gotten a lot of rain, too. and rain makes things so slick and slippery. i've fallen countless times on wet, mossy rock and broken both of my hiking poles that i found on the trail in hot springs! my first register entry in maine (other than the one at katahdin) said, "maine is the place where poles go to die." there are even bogs up here where you can sink pretty deep in some pretty mucky, unrecognizable stuff. they try to place big logs across the bogs that you can step on, but all the moisture in the air eventually weakens the boards over time and they can break. and then you step on them, and they're not as sturdy as they look, and then your foot gets covered in nasty black stuff. factor in the rain and the cold and muddy feet and slipping and falling into the mix, and it can put you in a pretty foul mood. but the views make up for it when they're there.
and swayze is beginning to have trouble with her feet. she was absolutely fine in pennsylvania on the rocks, but these rock scrambles in maine have gotten the better of her. thank God it happened today and not three days into the wilderness, but i noticed that two of her toenails have gotten so short that they've started bleeding. her pads are fine; it's just her toenails. :( i don't know what to do about it, so i opened a forum discussion on whiteblaze, where hopefully i'll find some answers here in the next day or two. if anyone reading this has any recommendation, i'm more than open to them. i don't want to have to resort to buying those $65 dog boots because with one misstep into a bog, it could suck them off her feet and that would be money gone, but if that's what i have to do... ?
we're going to take a 0 tomorrow and i'm going to an AYCE (all you can eat) breakfast at shaw's here in monson.... it's all i've been hearing about from the nobos for the last couple of days, and i'm super excited about it. i guess i should go to bed so i can wake up in time for it... breakfast bell rings at 7:30!