The Mahoosuc Notch in southern Maine is the most notorious mile on the entire Appalachian Trail. Northbounders and Southbounders alike talk about it for tens of miles before they get there; scoping the weather and gathering stories from those who have just gone through.
Guidebooks describe it as either the most difficult mile or the most fun mile. After days of stories and apprehension, we thought it resembled a giant boulder-filled jungle gym!
One mile, which usually averages at 30 mins on regular terrain, took about an hour and a half as we were forced to take off our packs and slide them through cracks and caves before shimmying through ourselves.
Weather is also an important factor to consider when hiking in “The Notch”. The day before, we had been hiking up Old Speck Mountain in a light rain. When we reached the southern side of the mountain, the trail was all exposed rock and rain water. Suddenly, on July 1st, we were forced into a shelter to hide from freezing rains and tumultuous winds that nearly knocked me off the mountain. I actually fell down at one point and slid for nearly six feet before stopping myself at the edge of a cliff. Talk about living on the edge. No thanks.
On the upshot, the shelter was next to a beautiful pond.
We had decided it would behoove us to wait until better (warmer) weather to go into the Notch. Well, on July 2nd, we ended up walking through this:
We loved beautiful, unique, practically uninhabited Maine. We even talked about buying property up there. But after 280 miles, it was time to hit our first big milestone…