What to expect in 100 mile wilderness in August?
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Curtis B.
(rutilate) - MLife

Locale: New England
What to expect in 100 mile wilderness in August? on 07/06/2013 12:18:11 MDT Print View

My family of three is hiking the 100 Mile Wilderness NOBO starting the 3rd week in August. After having done 50+ miles in the Tetons and Wind Rivers, I'm wondering how to adjust my expectations and am also looking for recommendations on the best campsites/must-see locations.

1.) What kind of average temperatures might we expect? Is there a site that will allow me to query average historical temperature during a date range?
2.) Is moisture enough of a problem that I should convert from down puffies to synthetic? In the West, down was best because we never saw rain and even if we did it would dry out the next day. My wife keeps stealing my Western Mountaineering Flight jacket I carried because it was warmer and lighter than my Patagonia down sweater. Not quite sure how to replace that with synthetic.
3.) Is rain enough to warrant rain gear (ie. GTX paclite) instead of DriDucks? We carried the DriDucks in the West and never really used them. Can I get away with a cuben kilt? The only time I was really grateful for rain pants was when we were caught in a freak snowstorm in the Tetons and I needed the warmth as well as waterproofing.
4.) Are the mud bogs traversed via logs? I've heard of many complaints but seen many pics in trip reports of the raised double log/beam paths.
5.) Are the big peaks on the south end really any different than many of the 4000 footers in NH that have about 2000' elevation gain over ~4 miles?
5.) I've been mapping out shelters. I've heard mixed opinions on shelters vs. "stealth" camping. Some say the shelters are great, others say they're noisy, trashed, and mouse-infested. Personally, I'd rather set up 2 tents away from anyone else. What are the conditions like for off-trail LNT camping?

I have a couple of recommendations from people here for Antlers,side trip to Gulf Hagas and the Nature Conservancy campsite on Rainbow Lake.

Here are the tentative camp locations just based on distance to defined shelters. Any nearby camping recommendations would be greatly appreciated:
Day 1-Long Pond Stream lean-to: 15.1 mi
Day 2-East Chairback Pond 13.8 mi
Day 3-Logan Brook Lean-to: 14.4
Day 4-Antlers Campsite: 19.6
Day 5-Wadleigh Stream lean-to: 13.6 (with a lunch detour at Whitehouse Landing)
Day 6-SE End of Rainbow lake (Nature Conservancy campsite?) 15.3 mi
Day 7-Birches in Baxter SP (how likely is this to be full on Saturday, 8/24?)
Day 8-Katahdin

Recommendations welcome!

Curtis

Ryan Smith
(ViolentGreen) - F

Locale: Southeast
Shelters on 07/06/2013 15:40:24 MDT Print View

You will get a lot of mixed opinions on the shelters. I can tell you that:
There will be mice. Guaranteed. They are fast and need about 10 seconds to chew through your pack and into your food. Some folks leave all of their pockets unzipped so they can inspect the pack without chewing a hole.
Most I have been in aren't trashy, just scribbled all over mostly. You can tell humans have been there.
If people snoring bothers you, set up a tent.

Ryan

Edited by ViolentGreen on 07/06/2013 15:41:18 MDT.

george carr
(hammer-one) - F

Locale: Walking With The Son
re:What to expect in 100 mile wilderness in August? on 07/07/2013 17:56:39 MDT Print View

Your trip falls right smack during hurricane season. It will be hit or miss in regard to rain. Here's a pic at Chairback Gap during Hurricane Ophelia:

Maine rain

There are no bridges over the river crossing so you need to remain aware and cautious during heavy rains.

The good news is that bugs really won't be an issue. Most of the bogs are crossed on boards. Here:s a pic of the bog on Fourth Mt in the Barren Chairback Range:

Bog bridge on Fourth Mt.

Temperatures should be 50s at night and 70s during the day. Don't try to over think it. I made the mistake of looking up weather on the AT before my trip and wound up over packing for cold.

The climbs aren't too much different from the Whites, but the first 15 miles from Monson is deceiving - the topos make it look like a level walk in the park. It's not, it's 15 miles of climb 200-300 feet only to lose elevation, constantly up and down. Nothing impossible, you just need to keep your head in the right place.

The Maine woods are gorgeous, but hardly a wilderness. I love it up there, so I am jealous. Enjoy and don't forget to come back with a TR and pics.

Curtis B.
(rutilate) - MLife

Locale: New England
Avoiding hurricanes on 07/07/2013 19:18:18 MDT Print View

George and Ryan, thanks for the insights. George, that trip in the middle of Ophelia looks pretty miserable! Those temps are very reasonable.

Are there any parts of the trail that are overgrown that would make you want to hike in pants rather than shorts?

Can we get away with Driducks in lieu of dedicated raingear?

I'm hoping that I'm not overestimating our abilities to do the distance, especially on the first 2 days NOBO. I'll be taking extra food so if it takes longer it'll be fine.

M B
(livingontheroad) - M
Maine on 07/07/2013 19:28:04 MDT Print View

Stay informed about the rainfall. Rivers become impassable after heavy rain.

Stay flexible, you might have to wait for water levels to drop.

Bring DEET

Be prepared to get wet

Edited by livingontheroad on 07/07/2013 19:28:52 MDT.

Curtis B.
(rutilate) - MLife

Locale: New England
Staying abreast of weather on 07/07/2013 19:36:05 MDT Print View

"Stay informed about the rainfall. Rivers become impassable after heavy rain."

How do people normally track weather conditions while on the trail? Rely on the last 10-day forecast? Fire up your smartphone on a peak and check weather.com? Ask other hikers? Or carry a weather radio?

Curtis B.
(rutilate) - MLife

Locale: New England
How likely is Birches to be full on Saturday, 8/24? on 07/07/2013 19:38:18 MDT Print View

We're planning on staying in Birches in Baxter SP. How likely is this to be full on Saturday, 8/24?

george carr
(hammer-one) - F

Locale: Walking With The Son
Re: 100 mile wilderness on 07/12/2013 21:40:56 MDT Print View

Sorry Curtis, I don't have any experience with dri ducks. As far as long pants go, the trail won't be overgrown. There are plenty of people up there in the "wilderness" so it doesn't get much chance to grow over.

Ophelia wasn't bad, but the trail looked like a river. I don't mind severe weather so I just went with it and had fun.

It depends on your conditioning as to how tough your itinerary will be. When I was in my prime 15-20 mile days in Maine were no issue. Not something I would even plan for today. I would say you'll know after the first day.

As far as the Birches go, it's hit or miss, although I would guess the odds are you'll be lucky to get space. Make sure you let the ranger know you thru'd the 100 when you call from Abol. Good luck.