Morning was beautiful today. Sun was shining and blue skies. Sweetpea headed down the mountain to Mahoosic Arm and Beardoh got a photo of the shelter caretaker in his Sunday best getting ready to mix up the compost heap.
The pond looked beautiful. Definitely wish we had gotten in earlier yesterday to enjoy Speck Pond. It is a great location, kind of a Shangra-la of sorts with the pond set down in between two mountains.
The folks in the shelter had warned us that Mahoosic Arm was a very difficult decsent with massive lengths of ledge. We went down some steep stuff for a bit and asked a guy whom we had presumed just came up from Mahoosic Arm, how it was… and he informed us that we had just come down it. Good enough, onto the Notch.
Mahoosic Notch is somewhat legendary in Appalachian Trail lore. We talked to one guy at the Andover hiker hostel that said it took him 7 hours to make it through. Some have said it is a lot of fun. Others say it is very difficult. We think the best thoughts came from a guy who had just passed through right before us. He basically said to go through it slow, and you will enjoy it. That was good advice.
The Notch is in between two steep mountain faces. The trail follows one mile through this narrow valley and is all boulders. One is very rarely walking on soil. The boulders are large, with many being over 20 feet tall. Passing through the trail requires quite a bit of hopping, scrambling, scrunching, climbing, sliding and squeezing. We took a bit under two hours to pass through the area, and had one good break in the middle. There was actually snow and ice in the notch, which was a surprise.
Most of the rest of the day was spent on a series of ups and downs in that area around 3000 feet where we would peak out in an alpine meadow and then go back down into a forest with short pines.
Ran into a northbound thru-hiker who was thru-hiking to raise money for a hospital in Mufinga, Tanzania. He had been a Peace Corps Volunteer there from 2008-2010. Very random to meet someone who served in the same country as us. We have only met 4 other returned Peace Corps volunteers in 15 years who served in Tanzania, and two of those have been this year.
Short miles today, but it was a full, challenging day. Tomorrow more miles as we want to get close to Gorham, NH.
Daily Distance: 9.5
Trip Distance: 281.2