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SavageLlama
09-22-2004, 10:31
Mahoosuc Notch is the toughest section? Anyone disagree?


Mahoosuc Notch: Take on the toughest section of the Appalachian Trail
http://www.usatoday.com/travel/destinations/2004-09-21-mahoosuc_x.htm (http://www.usatoday.com/travel/destinations/2004-09-21-mahoosuc_x.htm)

"I thought, 'What is this? This is the trail? I have to go through there? This is pure unadulterated madness!'" said Abramson, who lives in Bethel, Maine.

Abramson, an instructor with the Outward Bound School, was recalling her first hike through Mahoosuc Notch, the notorious section of the Appalachian Trail that is considered by many to be the most challenging mile on the nearly 2,170-mile footpath from Georgia to Maine.

Lone Wolf
09-22-2004, 10:38
Toughtest section? Naw. Slow maybe. I made it through in 40 minutes once with a Jansport frame pack.

smokymtnsteve
09-22-2004, 10:40
the toughest section of the trail is the next mtn I have to climb late in the afternoon. :jump

MOWGLI
09-22-2004, 11:04
Mahoosuc Notch is the toughest section? Anyone disagree?




If you combine Mahoosuc Notch with Mahoosuc Arm, that IMO is the toughest 3-4 miles on the trail. The Arm darn near finished me off.

sloetoe
09-22-2004, 11:26
If you combine Mahoosuc Notch with Mahoosuc Arm, that IMO is the toughest 3-4 miles on the trail. The Arm darn near finished me off.

No wayyyyy. Mount Success or that little snot Moody Mtn were harder -- but the hardest "stretch" is probably in the Kinsman range.

Yes/no?

MOWGLI
09-22-2004, 11:44
No wayyyyy. Mount Success or that little snot Moody Mtn were harder -- but the hardest "stretch" is probably in the Kinsman range.

Yes/no?

Well, I had a stomach bug when I went throughthe Mahoosucs, so that made that range really suc - if you know what I mean. I enjoyed the Kinsman area - and was at the top of my game physically through there.

A-Train
09-22-2004, 13:30
For whatever reason, Rangeley to Stratton was the toughest part of the AT. I was simply out of gas coming into Stratton

icemanat95
09-22-2004, 13:42
Perception plays into it. On a day when you intend to do big miles, Mahoosuc notch is a real bucket of cold water in the face. But if you are doing a leisurely day from Full Goose to Old Speck Pond and get a nice early start, Mahoosuc Notch is just fun....the Arm can get to sucking pretty bad, but even then, it's only a couple of miles.

The hardest section of the trail is the section you are on when all of a sudden your spirit breaks and you start to question what you are doing out there. For me, that was from Speck Pond to the first road crossing into Andover, ME. I almost went home, I was sick and tired of hiking by myself, sleeping alone in shelters, and not having anyone to talk to. I had slipped into a gap in the hiker population and had gotten stuck there for several weeks. I saw people from time to time, but not nearly enough to satisfy what I had come to realize was my essentially gregarious nature. So sleeping alone in a shelter 2-3 miles further on than I had intended to come, with the rain pouring down and no prospect of companionship the next day or the day after in really shirty weather dragged me WAAAAY down. So there I was climbing up Baldpate in a full on 40 MPH wind that kept trying to throw me down the mountain, mist so thick I was guessing where the next cairn was and sideways rain, and I had had enough of that. I resolved to go home and spent the next couple of hours trying to talk myself into it. I reached the Andover road and stopped to eat something before beginning my walk into town, then the sun came out and warmed me up. Amazing how a little thing like that can change your entire perspective. Sometimes I think it was God's subtle way of bucking me up. "here kid, lighten up a bit and stop worrying so much about it." So as I sat there in the sun munching down some granola bars and cheese crackers I realized that if I did go home I was just going to be begging for a ride back up inside of a week to finish what I had started, so why bother going home? It would be a waste of time and a real drag on my parents who would probably be doing the driving. Better to just move on for a few days and suck it up. I had sucked it up through Basic Training, and Airborne School and 2 years of Army life. I had spent my first three weeks on the trail in constant pain from the three cracked ribs in my side, so what was so hard about a little rain and loneliness? Actually the psychological stuff IS the toughest part of the trail. That night I ran into Star Trek, an essentially deaf kid who read Star Trek novels obsessively and communicated via a pad of paper and pen (no sign language or lip reading for some reason). That bit of companionship made a HUGE difference. The next night was my birthday and miraculously enough, I ran into a lovely couple who I had been running into all along the trail. That was a great night on the trail and it allowed me to walk into Rangeley the next day in a great mood and without any intention of doing more than picking up my maildrop, spending a night in a warm bed, eating some good chow and then getting out of town the next day. The rest of the trail was smooth sailing.

That's the hardest "mile" of my hike.

Peaks
09-22-2004, 16:24
the toughest section of the trail is the next mtn I have to climb late in the afternoon. :jump

For me, it's that last mile of the day, when it's uphill to my destination, and it's been a long hot day, and I'm out of water.

Flash Hand
09-22-2004, 19:15
the toughest section of the trail is the next mtn I have to climb late in the afternoon. :jump

I second ya! -- In the morning, you are in great spirit and strength, and later in the afternoon, an extra PUDS really kills me. I cuss everytime I see more climbs instead of a shelter, even if its 3 in the afternoon.




For me, it's that last mile of the day, when it's uphill to my destination, and it's been a long hot day, and I'm out of water.

yeah, that happened to me when I hike up to Mollies Ridge, a 15 miles section from Fontana Dam. I thought 15 miles is not that far, but it is when ur not driving. :datz


Flash Hand :jump

A-Train
09-22-2004, 22:52
yeah, that happened to me when I hike up to Mollies Ridge, a 15 miles section from Fontana Dam. I thought 15 miles is not that far, but it is when ur not driving. :datz


Flash Hand :jump

Its actually more like 10 miles! But a tough ten it is! :jump

Jack Lincoln
09-23-2004, 01:28
I think that if you spent time in the US Army Airborne, then you must have spent three years, rather than two in the Army. What division were you in and when did you serve.

Your story is very heartwarming, especially concerning the broken ribs.

Thank you.```

beatbox
09-23-2004, 06:41
I'm currently in the whites and every day seems to bring my toughest mile after 1800 miles of climbing. 2 DAYS AGO COMING OFF OF mOOSILAUKE BECAME MY TOUGHEST 2 MILES STRETCH....Yesterday it was slipping in mud all over Kinsman where I slammed my knees on 3 separate occasions. I have no doubt it will still get tougher, but I love the feeling of accomplishment at the end of a "tough" day. If all goes well I'll be at Mahoosic Notch in about a week. Maybe I'll add to this post after that:) . - God Bless, Beatbox

Kerosene
09-23-2004, 09:03
I reached the Andover road and stopped to eat something before beginning my walk into town, then the sun came out and warmed me up. Amazing how a little thing like that can change your entire perspective.I'm always amazed at what a little sunshine does to lift my spirits. Sometimes it's fun to walk in the rain for awhile, but having sunlight stream through the canopy overhead is much prettier.

chris
09-23-2004, 09:55
Personally, I think the toughest section of trail is from PenMar to Salisbury. That is, if I take toughest to mean unpleasant in the extreme. No matter how steep up or down something is, if you go slowly it isn't hard physically. Scrambling is difficult only when you try to go too hard. However, when you get hundreds of miles of ugliness and poorly thought out trail, there is little that a hiker as undeveloped as myself can do. I eventually, toward the end of this leg, did find some solutions.

Rain Man
09-23-2004, 10:04
Isn't the toughest section, the one most people never even complete, the one from Springer to Katahdin?!

Dang, here I am outside that box again. Now, ... how do I get back in?!!!
:jump
Rain Man

.

weary
09-23-2004, 16:20
Mahoosuc Notch is the toughest section? Anyone disagree?


Mahoosuc Notch: Take on the toughest section of the Appalachian Trail
http://www.usatoday.com/travel/destinations/2004-09-21-mahoosuc_x.htm (http://www.usatoday.com/travel/destinations/2004-09-21-mahoosuc_x.htm)

"I thought, 'What is this? This is the trail? I have to go through there? This is pure unadulterated madness!'" said Abramson, who lives in Bethel, Maine.

Abramson, an instructor with the Outward Bound School, was recalling her first hike through Mahoosuc Notch, the notorious section of the Appalachian Trail that is considered by many to be the most challenging mile on the nearly 2,170-mile footpath from Georgia to Maine.

I love the Mahoosucs. I'm sure that among my last thoughts on this earth will be the comforting belief that I may have played a small role in the preservation of at least the Maine section of this magnificent mountain range.

I do think the notch is the most difficult mile on the AT. I'm in awe of whoever said he did it in 40 minutes. I did it once in 20 minutes. But that was in winter when snow had covered all those fascinating house-sized boulders that hikers in more vigorous seasons must crawl over, and under.

I'm mostly into enjoying trails, so I don't do much clocking of times. But one October I have a suspicion that I spent 3 hours getting through that one mile -- in a steady rain, followed by snow. I no longer have a clue how long the Notch took when I hiked the trail north from Georgia in 1993, but I suspect it took at least an hour or two, maybe three.

But that time was compensated by absolutely fabulous weather over Carlos, Goose Eye and other peaks. What a marvellous feeling. A wonderful wild mountain range and the prospect of another 300 miles of similar terrain before reaching Katahdin.

More than a decade later it influences my daily life. It still inspires my effort to provide buffers for these marvelous trails -- to protect a little more of this incredible legacy that, incredibly, has survived into the first years of the 21st Century. If you want to help, write us at: Maine Appalachian Trail Land Trust, PO Box 325, Yarmouth, Maine 04096.

Weary

Sleepy the Arab
09-23-2004, 18:26
I have a number of suitable metaphors and analogies for Mahoosuc Notch. Suffice it to say, my vision of Hell includes Mahoosuc Notch in the center, bordered on both sides by the pre-relo section of trail from 19E to Moreland Gap Shelter.

The thought of spending all eternity in this is what keeps me on the straight and narrow.

Jersey Bob
09-24-2004, 20:58
at least 10 characters

Flash Hand
09-25-2004, 04:03
Its actually more like 10 miles! But a tough ten it is! :jump


Departing Fontana Dam, and to Mollies Ridge, is exactly 10.6 miles but that day, I departed Fontana Village Inn, which is approx 12.4 miles to Mollies.

Sorry for being so precise, :banana

Flash Hand :jump

Pencil Pusher
09-25-2004, 07:26
I'm sure he's not going to be shy giving you the info, but the Army does/did have two year enlistments.

This is a good article to read on the toughest section of the AT.

NotYet
09-25-2004, 08:49
I'd have to say that the Arm/Notch combo was the most physically difficult stretch of the AT for me.

We hiked up Old Speck in a torrential downpour. Though it stopped raining by our lunch break at Speck Pond, coming down the eroded Arm was like trying to walk down the middle of a waterfall...water rushing past on steep, slick rock with very little to grab so as not to plunge to what seemed a certain death! In places, I was having to use rock climbing moves to downclimb! It took forever! It didn't help that a trail crew was working on the Arm that day, because, grateful as I am to trail crews, a few in this particular group were leaving items like pick axes (pointy side up) in the middle of the trail in the few places that were level. I kept having visions of an unpleasant impalement!

The weather was gorgeous as we approached the Notch, but I was already pretty fried! Crawling over, under, around and through was interesting, amusing, draining, and beautiful. But to be honest, it seemed occasionally absurd when we'd turn around to see a side trail going around a particular obstacle. Why didn't they put the trail there?

After only a 10 mile day, I seem to remember crawling into the crowded shelter as it was growing dark. Totally spent that night, I could barely even speak. The next day, I actually felt a little angry that the trail was routed the way that it was...the Arm sure looked unhealthy for the mountainside, and the trail through the Notch didn't have to be as difficult as it was.

Definitely a tough day for me! But...glad I did it!!!! :)

Youngblood
09-25-2004, 09:15
...The weather was gorgeous as we approached the Notch, but I was already pretty fried! Crawling over, under, around and through was interesting, amusing, draining, and beautiful. But to be honest, it seemed occasionally absurd when we'd turn around to see a side trail going around a particular obstacle. Why didn't they put the trail there? ...

Hmmmm... why did they put a side trail in? Maybe to see who was smart enough to use it. :rolleyes: I know I wasn't!

Youngblood

NotYet
09-25-2004, 15:27
I wish I could have seen those little paths! We even started looking carefully to see if the "cheat trails" were visible coming from our direction. No luck there, though. As sobos we were going primarily uphill through the Notch...so we'd see the subtle unmarked paths only after squirming through the officially marked trail and turning around! The path on the downhill side must have entered back on the rocks slightly above us.

Did anyone else notice this? Or was I just delirious (very much a possibility!!!)? :o

tlbj6142
09-26-2004, 14:43
PenMar to Salisbury. That is, if I take toughest to mean unpleasant in the extreme.Funny, my brother (2-3 weeks left on his thru) had nothing good to say about this section as well. In fact, it was in this section that he most considered quiting. And, I think, a major reason for flipping up to Katahdin and finishing his hike SOBO (He said he needed something good to look at).

So, how did you keep you spirits high through this section? Close your eyes? Run for 24 hours?

Lone Wolf
09-26-2004, 14:52
It's a great section but if you're trying to pound out big miles like most hikers, it will wear your ass out.

A-Train
09-26-2004, 15:00
Funny, my brother (2-3 weeks left on his thru) had nothing good to say about this section as well. In fact, it was in this section that he most considered quiting. And, I think, a major reason for flipping up to Katahdin and finishing his hike SOBO (He said he needed something good to look at).

So, how did you keep you spirits high through this section? Close your eyes? Run for 24 hours?


Sure it isn't the most remote, rugged or beautiful section on the AT, but it isn't a death march unless you make it one.

Pleasant? I thought Antietem shelter and Old Forge park was pleasant, and also Tumbling Run. I thought Quarry Gap was pleasant and the side trail to Pole Steeple. I thought that Boiling Springs was pleasant and so was Scott Farm and the long farm walk through tall grass. I thought the Doyle and DUncannon and all its people were pleasant. I thought Peters Mtn was too and also Rausch Gap and Yellow Springs Village. Also 501 and Port Clinton and the Eckville shelter and the Pinnacle and Allentown shelter. Once past the Wolf Rocks, the last 10 miles going into DWG are very plesant. I can't think of a single thing about the AT in New Jersey that ISN'T pleasant. And the views down to Greenwood Lake near the State Line and all of Harriman park is pleasant. Graymoor and RPH and the lowlands around Pawling are plesant. So is the entire state of Connecticut. Sure the best part of the state is the last couple miles north of Salisbury, but its all plesant. Ten Mile River area is great and so is Silver Hill and the Housatonic River walk and Rands View.
I suppose people differ in their opinions of plesant or even enjoyable, but to me, there is still a lot of Trail and surrounding area worth walking. It shouldn't be torturous

weary
09-26-2004, 17:56
What's not to like? It is one of the longest roadless sections on the whole trail -- 30 miles between the bridge over the Androscoggin River in Shelburne, NH, and Grafton Notch in Maine, with only trails, open summits and spectacular views in between.

I thought it was an absolutely incredible place, miles of high elevation bogs, challenging climbs, three nice high elevation ponds in New Hampshire and spectacular Speck Pond in Maine.

I was lucky in 1993. The weather was dry and the visibility crystal clear. I thought the Mahoosuc Range was the most beautiful section of the whole trail.

Sure the mountains are a scramble and the notch takes extra time. But that should be a plus. No section of the trail offers a more variable landscape, a better chance to see and explore a wild country.

I found the Mahoosuc's a delight, especially after hiking through the over developed and over civilized Whites.

Weary

Lone Wolf
09-26-2004, 18:02
For once I agree with weary. :)

weary
09-26-2004, 18:08
For once I agree with weary. :)

Geeze. L. Wolf. There's hope for you afterall. No one who likes the Mahoosucs can be all bad.

Weary

Lone Wolf
09-26-2004, 18:12
I've hiked it 6 times. Great area. Great camping at the north end.

A-Train
09-26-2004, 18:17
He wasn't talking about the Mahoosucs guys, but I concur, its the best part of the AT, hands down!

Jack Tarlin
09-26-2004, 18:27
I personally think the toughest section of the entire Trail is from Gorham, NH to Grafton Notch, ME, with the toughest part of the section being Mahoosuc Notch, immediately followed by the Arm, the climb up Old Speck, and the long walk down to Grafton.

It can, of course, be broken up to make it easier: There is camping immediately at the end of the Notch; one can stay at Speck Pond, which is beautiful; there are a few sites on Old Speck itself, and certainly several on the way down, if you fade before Grafton Notch. Probably the best way is to plan on staying at Speck Pond, one of the nicest spots in Maine.

Also, it helps a lot if you go thru here during a spell of good weather. The prudent hiker will get a good weather report before leaving Gorham or Andover, and may want to delay their departure or slow their progress til they get better weather; I've been thru here in all kinds of weather.....on a good day, the Notch can be great fun. In the rain, it's kind of the ninth circle of hell. Most days, it's somewhere in between. Pick the right day, plan on giving it as long as you have to; take your time, and plan on a low-mileage day.

When you're done, in all likelihood, you'll look back on your Mahoosuc Notch Day as one of the highlights of your trip.

Assuming, of course, that you survive it.

Bluebearee
09-26-2004, 19:58
More than a decade later it influences my daily life. It still inspires my effort to provide buffers for these marvelous trails -- to protect a little more of this incredible legacy that, incredibly, has survived into the first years of the 21st Century. If you want to help, write us at: Maine Appalachian Trail Land Trust, PO Box 325, Yarmouth, Maine 04096.

Weary


Were you at the Common Ground Fair this weekend by chance? I went by your booth yesterday but didn't stop.

Ridge
10-12-2004, 00:50
The trail had come to an end. I really wanted to turn around and do it all over again. Nothing was as tough as leaving the trail, nothing! Absolutly NOTHING!!

chris
10-12-2004, 10:20
Funny, my brother (2-3 weeks left on his thru) had nothing good to say about this section as well. In fact, it was in this section that he most considered quiting. And, I think, a major reason for flipping up to Katahdin and finishing his hike SOBO (He said he needed something good to look at).

So, how did you keep you spirits high through this section? Close your eyes? Run for 24 hours?

There wasn't much to keep me going in this leg. The hiking is the easiest, physically, on the entire trail. Except for Lehigh Gap, Duncannon, and some board walks in NJ, I can't think of anything good here. Even the pizza sucked. I wouldn't even call it pleasant. I was hiking to get it done, to get out of PA and NJ and NY as fast as I could, hoping that CT and MA might bring some relief (northern CT and MA did). I was definitely not in a good mood for most of this section, which really clashed with my memories from other summers.

weary
10-12-2004, 12:02
I wish I could have seen those little paths! We even started looking carefully to see if the "cheat trails" were visible coming from our direction. No luck there, though. As sobos we were going primarily uphill through the Notch...so we'd see the subtle unmarked paths only after squirming through the officially marked trail and turning around! The path on the downhill side must have entered back on the rocks slightly above us.
Did anyone else notice this? Or was I just delirious (very much a possibility!!!)? :o

The Appalachian Trail was mostly laid out and built by weekend hikers who never envisioned thru hiking. They sought interesting and challenging trails, not easiest trails.

Weary

The Solemates
10-12-2004, 12:22
I dont know how many times this question has been asked, but I will reiterate my answer. Toughest: No way. Katahdin is way tougher. Both are loads of fun though.

rocket04
10-12-2004, 16:37
I dont know how many times this question has been asked, but I will reiterate my answer. Toughest: No way. Katahdin is way tougher. Both are loads of fun though.
I thought that Katahdin was rather easy. After climbing mountain after mountain with a full pack weighing 30-40 pounds, doing Katahdin with a day pack was cake! Doing with a full pack would have probably made it the hardest. But given the circumstances (the legendary Mahoosucs on one side and the end of the trail on the other), I'd say both would end up being fun. The Wildcats, on the other end, just pissed me off... :D

Crash! Bang!
10-15-2004, 13:54
define section. how big must something be to be a section? to quote an esteemed co-poster "who defines what a section is? you? wingfoot? the atc? what gives you the right to judge what a section is? did the trail-gods come down from on high and give you the knowledge? im trying to have fun, and youre diminishing my hike with your self-imposed "section". its scum like you that ruin it for everyone. im going to pout now"

end satire

the toughest 3 miles, for me, by far, was the stretch from madison hut to osgood campsite, part of a day that went from lake of the clouds hut to osgood campsite. the mahoosuc notch is slow, but cant hold a candle to osgood ridge. i would daresay the writer of that article has not hiked much of the AT and just knows the notchs rep, in addition to having hiked it. she needs to go back and do moosilauke to carter, then let us know what she thinks

Kozmic Zian
10-15-2004, 16:03
Yea.....Weary, Doe's the MATLT have an email address?

The Mahoosics and Mahoosic Notch II, Mahoosic Mountain and the upper Mahoosics is a pretty tough section. Some of the Southern stuff out of Hot Springs, NC, and Big Walker in VA were pretty hard too. Some of the PA Rocks socked it to ya. And the Whites had their own uniqueness. Trail's tough all the way, guys. Even kicked my but on a bad weather day, up Katahdin. So Just remember one thing, it dosen't get any easier, you get harder, and 'Trail Smarter' making it seem that way. KZ@

weary
10-15-2004, 22:31
chaas@matlt.org reaches our partime staff

Our web site is: www.matlt.org