This was the toughest five day stretch of the AT hiking so far! Not only due to the terrain but also the weather! It rained every single day and had some very hard downpours during the night. I’m thankful that my tent kept me dry at night, but during the day I was wet even though wearing rain gear. The trail became streams of water and at the low points you walked through mud and water ankle to knee deep. My hiking boots were never dry for the five day period. Each morning you would put on the same wet hiking clothes you wore the day before. There was no way for them to dry. I would put a line out to hang them on and then just ring them out in the morning and put them back on. At least some of the grime and sweat would get washed out. My boots took a beating due to being wet all the time and with the rocky up and down terrain. Plus it felt like my boots were 10 lbs heavier being so wet. It was physically and mentally tough. With it being so wet and raining it was not easy to cook a warm meal. Shelters were full and everyone was hoping for better weather and conditions.
On the third day through this section is the Mahoosuc Arm and Notch area of the trail. This is known as one of the hardest sections of the trail. The arm is a quarter mile boulder scramble up that leads to the Notch area. You scramble on all fours working your way up and praying you do not fall. This leads to Notch area which can best be described as a 250 foot wide and mile long section where a path was blown through the mountain leaving all the boulders jumbled together. You now climb up, around, through, under, through this jumbled mess for one hard mile! It is supposed to be fun, but in the rain it made it treacherous! Your prayers are what got me through. There is still ice in areas and it felt like climbing through an outdoor refrigerator. It took me almost three hours to complete. Normally they say it’s an hour to an hour and a half. I’m just glad I got through. The next shelter area was full so I set up the tent in the rain, ate some Knorr Mac and Cheese and went to sleep. Yes- it was my birthday!
The next day hiking continued to be more climbs and descents and it only rained for a short time in the morning and afternoon. The trail was still a mess with water and mud. It was also special because I crossed the Maine New Hampshire border. Just prior to passing the border line I met a Northbound hiker who said the sign was just around the corner and a great place to take a selfie. Since I didn’t have my camera that wasn’t going to happen but at least it was going to be very positive and rewarding to know that I had completed one of the toughest states on the A/T trail. As I moved around the corner there was a fallen tree across the path which is normal on the trail and I had to kind of go around this tree to get back on the trail. In my haste I tripped and fell over tree roots and did a full face plant on the ground, snapping one of my hiking poles underneath me plus, aggravating my already inflamed elbows and tendons in my arms from all the boulder scrambling that I had done. Maine was giving me one last goodbye. I got up, started hiking with one good pole, got to the border sign and said “Thank you Jesus!!!”
The last day prior to reaching Gorham was a little easier with mostly a down hill descent . It rained again in the morning and then cleared up. I had a twelve mile hike and I was going to do this as quickly as possible. I needed rest, food, donuts, and get my elbows on ice! Looking forward to two zero days- No hiking after hiking for 16 straight days. Due to my phone being broken and no camera I was not able to take any pictures for the last twelve days. I had sent my phone back to be repaired when I was at a hikers hostel in Rangley Maine. Brenda got my phone on a Wednesday brought it to the Verizon store where they repaired the charging port and then shipped it back to the post office in Gorham New Hampshire where I finally was able to pick it up on Monday July 30.
I give thanks to all of you again for your prayers and support. I could not do this without you praying!