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In my book, it says that the Mahoosuc Notch is the “most difficult or fun mile of the AT.” For me, I’m gonna have to go with most difficult.
Don’t get me wrong, it had an element of fun involved because it was essentially a giant, adult version of a jungle gym. You’re in a valley where a massive landslide had occurred however many years ago, leaving boulders as big as houses that you have to scramble over, under and around.
There are a few parts where it’s easier to have hiking partners, because you’ll have to take off your pack so that you can maneuver through a tiny cave or a two-foot wide squeeze, and it just helps to be able to hand off your pack to them first.
I started off with my old friends that I’d reunited with yesterday, but these guys were monsters. Inhuman. My feet were hurting more and more every day, but even if I’d been in perfect shape there’s no way I could’ve hung with them. They were out of sight within the first five minutes of the Notch, which left me to figure out my own tricks.
There are so many times where you’re leaping across a crevasse twenty foot down, or hugging the side of a boulder the size of Kobe Bryant’s ego, or scraping your back climbing through caves.
The Notch took me two hours to finish, and I finally stumbled upon the campsite that the guys had made, just as the sun was about to finish it’s day’s work. Keep in mind… two hours, for one mile.
Just so that you can compare, on a slow day I’ll do two miles an hour, and on a fast day I’ll do three miles an hour. So yea…the Notch was friggin difficult.
Climbing out of it the next day was no picnic either. It’s called the Mahoosuc Arm, and it’s basically the Notch but you’re climbing up a steep mountain as well.
Boomer at the very beginning of the Mahoosuc Notch.
Look closely for the white arrows that show us the way.
Crawling around the rocks.
The two foot-wide squeeze I mentioned earlier.
One of the holes you have to take off your pack to get through.
A few days later, Yukon announced that he was going to having a lobster party. His parents would pick up two dozen fresh lobster, cook them on the spot, and bring drinks and sides as well. Now, I’d never before eaten a lobster but I was excited to try it. I had just finished climbing up and over Moody Mountain, which is a 1300 foot climb in about an eighth of a mile. I felt like I needed climbing gear or something. I was coming down off the mountain, wanting to do more miles than what I’d done that day but knowing that I had lobster with my name on it at the end of the day, when I heard guitar in the distance. I crossed a wide brook, and worked my way closer. Is that Atlas? No way! I hadn’t seen Atlas since Gorham where Atlas and Cheeks had stayed to skip the Wildcats almost a week ago. I thought they were ahead of me, but apparently I’d accidentally passed them earlier yesterday at a campsite. Cheeks and I are from Texas, and therefore had no idea how to properly consume a lobster. I’m sure that was funny for everybody. I felt like an animal using tools to break apart the shells and eat the meat, but… it was so good. There was plenty of beer, soda, salad and rice, and other random people even showed up to help us eat everything. It was wonderful catching up with everybody, and enjoying such fantastic food because of the graciousness of Yukon and his family. Atlas serenaded us all late into the night, and we all slept very soundly. Almost 250 more miles means the end of this journey!
In my next post, I’ll talk about camping behind a grocery store, getting what is officially the coolest hitch ever from a school bus, and what it’s like to camp during the remnants of a hurricane!
-Walk and Eat
“The Heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.” -Psalms 19:1
This is the final half of a ripping good post by thru-hiker Jimmie Jackson. Check out his blog right here here.
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