Friday, September 12, 2014

Day 157- Mahoosic Notch; The Most Fun, Or Difficult Mile

I didn't end up sleeping very well, a very light sleep sharing a small space with another person. Every now and then we would wake up and talk a little and fall back asleep, almost like catnaps. The morning was gorgeous, one of my most memorable and favorite mornings on the trail. I opened the rainfly to find a gorgeous blue sky and low under clouds with the mountains. We laid back down and listened to Jack Johnson on my iPod, specifically Banana Pancakes; and that's what we did, slept in. Yeti even talked about a zero and even though it would have been an amazing time, I told him we weren't zeroing. I got a text from Lynn saying she was on her way up so we started to pack while waiting for her arrival. Once she got there she told us she hadn't seen Breaktime so we still had no idea where he was. We decided to wait an hour or so since we would be crossing the NH/ME border in less than 2 miles. We all laid up on a rock and enjoyed the day, we watched some standup on Lynn's phone, and just enjoyed not having to rush out of camp. 10:30 rolled around and no sight of Breaktime, Lynn left and soon after I followed. There were a few tricky spots but mostly the excitement of reaching Maine kept my mind on one thing. I ended up passing Lynn and was the first one to see the Maine sign. I stood at the sign waiting for Yeti and Lynn, "Welcome to Maine!" It was unreal, I can't believe we have crossed into our final state. I still remember the day I crossed I to North Carolina and the day I hit 100 miles like it was yesterday. We took a few photos and off they went; we have been hiking for 5 months to get to this point and they were already off and running. I felt like this moment should be sacred and noteworthy. I stayed only a moment and then followed behind them. Tomorrow it is supposed to rain and today was the possibility of Mahoosic Notch. Mahoosic Notch is the most difficult or fun mile of the Appalachian Trail states AWOL. It is a mile long boulder scramble, rocks as big as cars and small houses to walk over and under. It has been said to take anywhere from one hour to three. I knew I didn't want to do it in the rain, but Lynn was leaning towards camping and doing it in the morning. We were out of water leaving camp this morning so Yeti and I went to the first source which was .3 off the trail, that sucked. From there we hiked a couple mountains to get a view for lunch. We told Yeti to stop at the first view and when I got to it he was nowhere in sight. I got to the second one, and nothing. I looked up to see a tiny stick figure on the mountain, great. I climbed toward him until I heard him yell down it was .1 off the trail to where he was-I told him to go back to the sign and I would meet him there to eat. I climbed some ladders, some rebar, and finally the sign was in sight. I joked with him about wanting a bagel...but wait, he had ate them all the night before. I made a wrap with the cheese and dried cherries and it was delicious. After I boiled water so we could each have a ramen, I was so hungry and it was so good. We turned to see Breaktime! He sat and joined us and then so did Lynn. Seems she has been exhausted the last few days and it has really been kicking her ass. She told us to go on that she would do the Notch tomorrow. I told her I think we should do it together so we're not alone. We hiked on and the terrain reminded me of down South; the way down was great. It was filled with footbridges and ladders and views to where we would hike next. I saw Yeti and Breaktime down below hiking while I was still up high. When I got down there, I imagine Lynn saw something similar. When I got to the shelter and knew there was 2.3 miles until the campsite after the Notch I knew I was going to go for it. The guys were there waiting so I wrote Lynn a note stating I was going to push on and I hoped she would do the same. However, if she didn't I would wait and we would catch up in the morning. I left before the guys so I allowed myself 3 hours to get through by 7:00 if I needed it. I was feeling great and making great time. Yeti came up and passed me right before the notch and I still remember his tone when he said "well, here it is. This is it." I turned the corner and saw two giant walls of rock with rock blocks inbetween...oh and a white blaze on one in the distance. This should be interesting. The guys went and I took my time, but didn't stop. Breaktime grabbed my poles at one point early on so I could shimmy between two rocks, that was the last I saw of them. I tried to stay on top as much as possible but the blazes were not as abundant as in the woods. I climbed and hopped and hoped for the best. At one point I remember having to go down a large steep rock, my short legs didn't allow me to just walk down. I knew I had to turn around and somehow get down. I threw my poles down and in the process of scaling down realized I didn't have a good grip. Not to sound modest but thank god for mythigh  muscles these days, I squeezed the boulder inbetween my two thighs with all of my strength. I knew if my legs didn't hold I would be in a bad position. An angel was on my side. I saw the trail go under a boulder and I tried to go up and over through the trees, that way didn't work out as planned but I was able to squeeze through the rocks. I got creative and was having fun, yes it was hard, yes it was insane, but I had a positive experience. I did knick my knee on a tree and it bled a little, nothing but a scratch. I got to a point where I didn't see any blazes so I climbed up a rock on the right, didn't see right so I climbed back down and was relieved to see a blaze to the right. I got through the Notch to find a lovely dirt path, it was like a painting seeing such a boulder field and then instant flat dirt. There after were a few rocks here and there but nothing like what I had been through. I saw the campsite by the stream and saw Deleware and some others, I asked if Yeti and Breaktime were there and they said no they had pushed on. I had hoped they didn't go too far since Yeti had my dinner! I walked a few minutes longer and found Yeti in the woods getting dead branches for the fire, thank god! I went down to camp and got there at 6:00 meaning I made it through the Notch in an hour! I was happy with that. I set up my tent, walked downhill to get water, and sat by the fire and ate dinner. The guys planned to do 17 miles into Andover tomorrow to try and catch up with Tumbles and figure things out, I wouldn't be doing that. I was really bummed by this news and wished we could all just stay together. The remainder of the night we just sat around the fire until Breaktime went to bed to read and Dingo showed up. We called it a somewhat early night and the vibes were a little depressing. I was really worried about Lynn hoping she wasn't stuck in the Notch somewhere in the dark or hurt, and I was sad about the guys pushing forward. Just when I was continuously enjoying my days on the trail with the people I was with.

No comments:

Post a Comment