Maine Appalachian Trail
This summer I'll be doing a 9 day section of the Appalachian Trail in a very remote part of Maine called the 100 mile wilderness. The route I'll be taking is about 130 miles long, including a summit of Mt. Katadhin in Baxter State Park, the northernmost terminus of the AT.
This hike is going to be particularly challenging due to it remoteness and length. Most of section hikes that I do are 3 or 4 days long and I'm very good at planning out the food, fuel and gear required for this duration. But this hike will require me to bring food, fuel and gear for 9 days without a resupply: that's a lot longer than most thru-hikers go without stopping in a town.
I'm not to worried about the weight of carrying 9 days food in summer, but I've been giving a lot of thought to the gear that I plan on bringing, which will be a bit different than my normal summer kit.
Hiking in the Rain
For example, the section of Maine that I'll be hiking is full of ponds, lakes, and rivers and requires a fair number of stream crossings. Many sections of the trail are elevated on boardwalks to prevent overuse damage in wet and boggy areas. Plus, rainy weather is likely to be a factor.
When I hiked the Long Trail in Vermont last year, conditions were wet too, but hiking for 2 or 3 days in wet leather boots is a lot different than doing it for a week or more. So, I've been experimenting with Inov-8 Men's Roclite 370 Hiking Boots to see if it makes sense to bring them to Maine instead of my Asolo TPS 520's. After a bout of plantar faciitis a few years back, I am in mortal fear of wearing any boot except my Asolos, so you can't imagine what a big step this is for me.
This shoe is made without Gore-tex and is supposed to dry very quickly when wet. I've been wearing them for the past week and they feel great, but I haven't had the opportunity to do much hiking with them so far. I plan on jumping in some mud puddles with them next weekend in New Hampshire to see how they feel when they're wet and I have to hike on real mountains.
In addition to boots, I'm probably going to bring a different shelter on this trip than my MLD Grace Duo tarp. With all the water, I think I'll be better off with a tarptent like my Squall 2 which has a vestibule for cooking and storing wet gear, and better bug protection than my tarp. My Squall 2 is very snug in heavy rain but I'll probably seal the seams this spring just to make sure I don't spring a leak in Maine.
In addition to extra food, I need a bigger bear bag to protect it. I currently use an XXL Spintex stuff sack from Mountain Laurel Designs to hold my food, so I've bought a second one so that I can balance them on a tree branch.
Finally, there's the issue of fuel and other personal care items. I will probably bring a canister fuel stove, despite the fact that I won't be able to resupply, simply for the convenience of having a fast fire. I often don't cook meals in summer, so bringing my stove is more of a safety decision in case I get chilled and need a warm up.
On the personal care side, I'll probably add a few ingredients to my first aid kit, like more zinc oxide to prevent thigh chafing and ibuprofen. In addition, I'll triple the amount of toilet paper, wet one's, hydropel and purell that I carry for the 9 day duration and I may add another pairs of socks and underwear to my clothing list to be on the safe side. I'm sure I'll be able to wash clothing along the way: the question is whether it will ever dry if the humidity remains high.
Other than that, the only additional item I may bring is a Gossamer Gear bug net in case I need to spend the night in a shelter to avoid heavy rain. This is a definite possibility and it's worth a few extra ounces to keep the shelter mice and mosquitoes off of me.
Have I forgotten anything else that you can think of?
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