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  1. #1
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    Default AT Grafton Notch to Gorham - How many days?

    I'm planning a section hike this summer from Grafton Notch SoBo to Rte 2 near Gorham. My ride needs to schedule vacation time to drop me off and pick me up, so I'm trying to get an idea of how many days this will take. I usually carry about 25 lb pack, hike 12-15 mpd on moderate terrain, did 10-12 mpd in NH from Hanover to Lonesome Lake hut. Is it possible to do these 31 miles in 3 days, or since it includes Mahoosuc Notch and Arm, is 4 days more realistic?

  2. #2

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    You can definitely do it in 3 days. I did the same section last year in 5 days, wasnt sure about the terrain, which is pretty challenging, so I took my time. 4 days would probably do it, but I allowed an extra day in case of really bad weather which never came.By the way, this was by far my most enjoyable hike ever. Had everything, crazy scrambles, ridiculously steep ups and downs, and spectacular scenery.I would probably go with 4 days. Mahoosuc Notch is a lotta fun, as long as you take your time.ENJOY!!!

  3. #3
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    That is a tough stretch but I'm thinking 3 days is well within reason.

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    For a section hiker 3 days is pushing it. Most would want to start at Grafton notch then hike up over to Speck then over to Speck Pond for the night, Next day Speck Pond to Full Goose shleter (down mahoosuc Arm, thru the notch and then up Fulling Mill Mtn). Then Full Goose to Gentian Pond (over the Goose Eyes, then Mt Carlo and Mt Success and down to Gentian) or Dream lake. Last day over to Hogan Road. Thru hikers who most likely are in better shape and have "Katahdin fever" can do it in three.

    It is far rockier and the footing is rougher than anything south of the whites and most of the trial is on the "fall line" right straight up the mountain rather than switchbacks.

    If you do decide to try it in three days start at Grafton Notch and there are some bail out points at Gentian Pond and Dream lake.

    Be aware that the AT cuts off the Mahoosuc trail on Mt Hayes. The Mahoosuc trail officially dead ends on the Hogan Road on the wrong side of the river due to right of way issues. To get to Gorham where the trail stops, you take a right on Hogan road and hike up the river along the hydro canal then take a dirt road that turns left off the power line right of way to a old railroad bed, then take a left and go over the hydro canal on a railroad bridge and follow the railroad bed to Gorham. You cross the main channel of the river under the railroad bridge on a pedestrian walkway. If you take the AT to Shelburne it ends on a deadend road with a long hitch back to Gorham.

  5. #5
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    It took me 3 1/2 days last year although I started at Frye Notch Lean to and the weather was really nasty the day I went through Mahoosuc Notch.

    Day 1 Grafton Notch to Speck Pond Shelter. The decent from Speck down to the shelter is memorable. I stood at the top of the ledge as two NOBO's were coming up - the first one said "this isn't hiking, it's survival" we laughed very hard as I knew what lay ahead for them and they knew what I was in for.
    Day 2 Speck Pond Shelter to Full Goose only 5. 1 miles but they are fun miles, the notch is a blast, just keep an eye out for the blazes if the rocks are wet remember white is fine, black ones are slippery.
    Day 3 Full Goose to Gentian Pond Shelter great view from the shelter. Do not go down to Carlo Col Shelter, it is a nasty down hill filled with rocks and well off the trail. I went down to see if anybody was there and to have lunch.
    Day 4 Gentian Pond to Rt. 2 (left turn when you hit Hogan Rd.) follow the AT to Rt 2 or pick up at Hogan Rd. Or as Turn Left as Peakbagger described.

    3 1/2 days would work if you have to travel to get to Grafton Notch and would get you out by 2-3 in the afternoon on day 4 leaving time to travel as well. also gives you a little flexibilty if the weather is not good.

    This is a great section to hike, it is pure magic, just take it slow and steady. On the decent of the Arm, there is a great stream to get water before the M. Notch. Water after that was not as nice - tannin and moose poop.

    Have a great hike and enjoy.

  6. #6
    AT 4000+, LT, FHT, ALT Blissful's Avatar
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    I'd take four, esp if you did 10-12 from Hanover north. And brush up on rock climbing skill. In one part alone even with those NOBOs who had done 30 miles in VA they could only do 14.
    Hurray for SOBO. Just watch the blazing in the notch, its nonexistent in some parts SOBO. I got lost.







    Hiking Blog
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  7. #7
    Registered User DLANOIE's Avatar
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    If youre not already in great shape, this section is going to kick your butt. Take your time and enjoy every second of it. This is my favorite section.

    I was just there this last weekend on Old Speck doing some trail work. I spooked two moose right at the start of my hike.

    Enjoy the notch and the arm...so much fun!

    The shelter at speck pond is small and leaky, there are some nice tent platforms. Also a caretaker.

    Both full goose and gentian pond shelters are very nice and no caretakers to my knowledge.

    Of all the times I have done this section youre doing, I have had horrible luck hitching the 4 miles into town. Just a heads up...

    Oh and the alpine bogs and ladders and bog logs are amazing too. Also some virgin spruce forests in this region.
    skinny d

  8. #8

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    theres a great view of the Carter Moriahs from the gentian pond shelter.

  9. #9
    Registered User brian039's Avatar
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    I say 4 days. Man, that's the toughest section of the trail but it's soooo much fun. There's a hostel open now right where the trail comes out in Gorham. They're nice people, I met them last year as they were getting the place ready to open. Enjoy this section, it doesn't get much better. Gentian Pond Shelter may have been my favorite shelter on the whole trail and I'm definitely not a fan of shelters.

  10. #10
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    I think these folks are right
    - give yourself 4 days and consider direction.


    I remember when the whole trail was like that section
    --just kidding

  11. #11
    1,630 miles and counting earlyriser26's Avatar
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    You can do it in 3, but this is such a great section of the trail I would take my time. I would stay at Speck the first night. Full Goose the second night. BTW I hiked this section NOBO and thing I remember being the toughest part was not the notch, but the Arm. Straight crazy down going SOBO. Also Full Goose was brand new when I did this section LOL. I stayed at Carlo Col., but this the one I would skip. It is a good hike downhill, but an interesting one. Gentian pond on night 3. Then, a half day to rt. 2. If you really want to take it easy go 4 1/2 days and hike shelter to shelter. The distances are short, but IMO this is the toughest and one of the most scenic sections of the trail, so enjoy.
    There are so many miles and so many mountains between here and there that it is hardly worth thinking about

  12. #12
    1,630 miles and counting earlyriser26's Avatar
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    You can do it in 3, but this is such a great section of the trail I would take my time. I would stay at Speck the first night. Full Goose the second night. BTW I hiked this section NOBO and thing I remember being the toughest part was not the notch, but the Arm. Straight crazy down going SOBO. Also Full Goose was brand new when I did this section LOL. I stayed at Carlo Col., but this the one I would skip. It is a good hike downhill, but an interesting one. Gentian pond on night 3. Then, a half day to rt. 2. If you really want to take it easy go 4 1/2 days and hike shelter to shelter. The distances are short, but IMO this is the toughest and one of the most scenic sections of the trail, so enjoy.
    There are so many miles and so many mountains between here and there that it is hardly worth thinking about

  13. #13
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    Thanks for all the great comments and suggestions! This helps me a lot, sounds like 4 days is the way to go, to really enjoy this section, rather than just how many miles per day I can do. I'm really looking forward to this section, can't wait!

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