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  1. #1
    Long Trail '04
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    Default USA Today's "Toughest Section of the AT"

    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

    "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.

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    Toughtest section? Naw. Slow maybe. I made it through in 40 minutes once with a Jansport frame pack.

  3. #3
    Section Hiker 500 miles smokymtnsteve's Avatar
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    the toughest section of the trail is the next mtn I have to climb late in the afternoon.
    "I'd rather kill a man than a snake. Not because I love snakes or hate men. It is a question, rather, of proportion." Edward Abbey

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by SavageLlama
    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.
    'All my lies are always wishes" ~Jeff Tweedy~

  5. #5
    Registered User sloetoe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MOWGLI16
    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?

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by sloetoe
    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.
    'All my lies are always wishes" ~Jeff Tweedy~

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    Registered User A-Train's Avatar
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    For whatever reason, Rangeley to Stratton was the toughest part of the AT. I was simply out of gas coming into Stratton
    Anything's within walking distance if you've got the time.
    GA-ME 03, LT 04/06, PCT 07'

  8. #8

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    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.
    Andrew "Iceman" Priestley
    AT'95, GA>ME

    Non nobis Domine, non nobis sed Nomini Tuo da Gloriam
    Not for us O Lord, not for us but in Your Name is the Glory

  9. #9
    Registered User Peaks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by smokymtnsteve
    the toughest section of the trail is the next mtn I have to climb late 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.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by smokymtnsteve
    the toughest section of the trail is the next mtn I have to climb late in the afternoon.
    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.



    Quote Originally Posted by Peaks
    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.


    Flash Hand

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    Registered User A-Train's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flash Hand




    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.


    Flash Hand
    Its actually more like 10 miles! But a tough ten it is!
    Anything's within walking distance if you've got the time.
    GA-ME 03, LT 04/06, PCT 07'

  12. #12

    Default Icemanat95

    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.```

  13. #13
    Registered User beatbox's Avatar
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    Default My toughest mile

    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

  14. #14
    LT '79; AT '73-'14 in sections; Donating Member Kerosene's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by icemanat95
    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.
    GA←↕→ME: 1973 to 2014

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    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.

  16. #16
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    Default The section from Springer to Katahdin

    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?!!!

    Rain Man

    .

  17. #17
    Registered User weary's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SavageLlama
    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

    "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

  18. #18

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    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.
    "I too am not a bit untamed, I too am untranslatable,
    I sound my barbaric yawp over the roofs of the world." - W. W.

    obligatory website link

  19. #19
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    at least 10 characters
    Last edited by Jersey Bob; 10-27-2004 at 13:45.

  20. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by A-Train
    Its actually more like 10 miles! But a tough ten it is!

    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,

    Flash Hand

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