Fabled Mahoosuc Notch

August 30, 2007

No photo for this one - we were too busy doing it (besides I forgot my camera).

Phoebe Bressack and I made a quick trip to Maine. We started with an overnight at Louisa & Li Zhuang's new apartment in Cambridge, with a stop at Whole Foods for some "respectable lunch food," to quote Barbara Kingsolver, which we took along for hiking picnics.

For those of you who know the Mahoosucs from your camp days, we did two day hikes, Old Speck from Grafton Notch (the north end of the range), and then we did the infamous "hardest mile" of Mahoosuc Notch in a mini-marathon loop. We approached the Notch (by a lovely side trail from Success Pond Road) with trepidation. It took us over 2 hours to go the mile through the Notch with much scouting of routes, but it was not beyond our abilities, so we felt a great sense of accomplishment as we emerged at the north end. There was a dead moose among the boulders, as several hikers that I met earlier had noted. It was mostly decomposed, lots of bones, but the head was still recognizable and it was very stinky. Someone had thoughtfully put up Tibetan prayer flags over it.

Then after that we had a very steep up to Speck Pond and then about 5 miles more around the pond and down a side trail to get back to the car, all of which took us many hours. Also there was a thunder storm, and we had to walk the last hour in the dark with headlamps. At the end we got to the dirt logging road about a mile from the car and amazingly there was a truck driver who had seen our lights in the woods and thought we might be lost. He offered us a ride to the car - our Trail Magic for the day!

Phoebe is an incredible trooper - she actually claims that it was a rewarding accomplishment to be dragged on a 13-hour hiking trip including getting soaked by rain and walking in the dark. At the end we were happy to get back to our comfy B & B for the night.

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