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Planning A Hike In A New Destination

Vacations, trips, and adventures are one of life's little pleasures. They give us a chance to unplug, unwind and rejuvenate from the everyday stresses we endure. Whether done solo, or with family and friends an escape from reality is needed for one's own health and well-being.

But planning for a get-a-way can sometimes be more stressful then the tension we are trying to avoid. It's then we need to step back and ..... Breathe in..... and Exhale......Repeat two more times. Enjoy the planning process. It can be quite rewarding.

In my last blog post The Best Way to Increase Anxiety, I mentioned the importance of creating a list to help ease stress when tasks mount up. The same is true for planning a vacation. If you are going away with family or friends, delegate. Don't try to do it all alone. If someone is not contributing, hand them the children's story The Little Red Hen. Decide who is good at what. For example, when Bruce and I are going some place we collaborate on what we want to do. He then does all the financial and travel logistics while I take care of meals and packing. If you are going solo then you get to have everything your way. Or, if you are married to the best spouse in the world you still get to have everything your way.

When you are planning an escape to a new destination fear of the unknown creeps or we over think it. Don't let that happen. A little research and a trip to Google can make the unfamiliar more comfortable. One of the best ways to inquire about your next first time destination is to seek first hand experience. Reach out to friends and family who have been there and done that. Or join a social media group specific to where you will be going. I belong to several trail specific hiking groups. We ask questions and share info in a safe, nonthreatening way.

In one such group I was contacted by a fellow hiker from Florida who will be hiking in Maine this summer, two drastically different climates. She requested info on what she could expect. I thanked her for a great blog post idea and told her she could check back with my reply.

So I dedicate this post to Lori and hope this helps with the question what to expect for weather in Maine in the Hundred Mile Wilderness in June.

Because I am not a pro or expect, rather just an amateur myself, I sought the help of the World Wide Web before answering. I simply asked Siri what weather is like in June in Maine. She quickly produced several selections and AccuWeather.com caught my eye. I clicked on the link. Once at the site I plugged Monson, ME into the search box and clicked again. There I saw the current weather forecast. I noticed on the menu bar there were several choices. I chose "month". Next I chose June 2017 and PRESTO - I was transported to the future. It gave a couple weeks forecast for June and also historical averages. I learned that generally, June temps for Monson, Maine are

Early June - Day high 60's / Nights high 40's

Mid June - Day low 70's / Nights low 50's

Late June - Day mid 70's / Nights mid to high 50's

Armed with this new found website I checked out the forecast for my Appalachian Trail start date. I regret looking.

Another great hiking resource is the Appalachian Trail Conservancy. They are really great at answering questions or pointing you in the right direction.

With the temperatures recorded by AccuWeather I would suggest the following clothing for a June hike in western Maine.

Base Layers - Keep dry at all times, save for camp and night time.

- lightweight 150 wool top & bottom (L.L. Bean, Smartwool)

- 1 extra pair of lightweight, wool socks

For Hiking - Whatever you are comfortable in.

- Bottom: Hiking shorts, pants, skorts, or leggings

- Top: T-shirt, tank top, or light weight, long sleeved, merino wool.

- Light weight, wicking undies and sports bra that are modest so they can double as swimwear. Black works well for this.

- Toe socks or Toe Liner socks under Smartwool socks

Layering and Outerwear

- Layering top - A button down or zippered sport performance top, light weight, wicking. Just a little something to break the breeze or morning chill without being bulky. If you run cold you may want a lightweight fleece as your layer.

- Gortex rain jacket with hood or Poncho with hood

- Gortex rain pant or a rain skirt

- Gaiters (Dirty Girl, L.L. Bean)

- Puffy Jacket (L.L.Bean)

Other

- Light weight beanie hat

- Light weight buff (L.L.Bean, Buff)

- Light weight liner gloves (Dollar Store)

- Mosquito head net (Sea to Summit)

That's all I would take. I don't bother with extra under garments. Layers next to my skin I try to stick with merino wool. It's warmer when it's cold out, keeps you cooler when it's hot out, it is wicking, dries fast and doesn't smell. Lots of great properties to wool. You may or may not need a puffy jacket depending on how cold you run. I run hot and bring one just in case. I really like the L.L.Bean ultralight 850 down sweater. It packs into it's own pocket and it's light weight. Or if it's warm stuff it into Hyperlite's pillow sack and you'll sleep like a baby.

Temperature is not my biggest worry about hiking in Maine in June. It's the black flies. They are hungry and numerous. I tend to be very health conscious but when it comes to biting insects I arm myself with Deet, Ben's 100 to be exact. Be careful though, this stuff is strong and can ruin synthetic clothing and gear. If I wear a skort and tank top, I lather on the Deet. Directions indicate not to use on skin. If I use long bottoms and a long sleeved shirt then I use less of the cancer causing insect repellent. The L.L.Bean 150 merino wool base layer top works great for this. But I would carry a spare. I never hike in my pj's. I keep those dry. Gaiters not only help keep out debris and muck they help keep off biting flies as well. If you are trying to save weight and space skip the long pants and add tall Gortex gaiters. They add a moisture barrier and warmth if it is cold.

The other hazard hiking in June could be high water levels from spring run off. And this year with the amount of snow we have gotten and what is in the forecast, those levels could be high for quite awhile. In September 2015 while hiking in the 100 mile wilderness with friends we met a couple hikers who were forced to take a zero day by a stream crossing just to wait for the water level to subside in order to cross. There was even a rope but the level was so high it wasn't even safe to cross with the aid of the rope. The next day we came to the same crossing and even with the aid of the rope it was treacherous. The A.T. in Maine has several fords and most do not have bridges so they must be done on foot. That brings up two more points to consider. Hikers in Maine should know about safe water crossing and plan at least an extra days worth of food in case plans change.

There is a lot to consider when venturing out into the wilderness especially if your destination is a new experience. But with proper planning and an open mind it can be one of the best and most refreshing experiences you have.

Happy Hikiing

Emily

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