The Mahousic Notch
We knew we what was coming today, we’ve been thinking about it for ages, and it finally arrived. The Mahousic Notch is infamous, and called by thru-hikers “The Toughest Mile on the Trail”. On our elevation profile it looked pretty simply, a gently rolling downhill before a steep climb. We know by now to take other people’s opinions about trail difficulty and conditions with a grain of salt. Everyone’s experience and background are so different that unless you’ve been hiking with them a while it is hard to know if you can trust their opinion. This is a requirement the SOBO’s (Southbound AT hikers) we have been meeting do not fit. We’ve spent plenty of time talking with them, but it is just hard to know how much to trust their opinions. That being said, today was the hardest 10 mile day we have done.
Luckily we were prepared for the short day, and took the time we needed to go through The Notch. It was hard, but not in the way you might think. It wasn’t a strenuous climb or a dangerous descent. It was huge boulders as far as you can see, and we climbed up and over, down and under, through crevices, and into tiny caves. It was one of the most interesting places on the trail. Even at the end of July there was ice in the crevices, and the temperature in the Notch was noticeably colder than the surrounding area.
All I can say is if we had been in a hurry today probably would have been one of the worst on the trail, but we’ve finally learned to let go and let things come as they do. So instead we had a blast figuring out how to navigate the boulders safely. I got stuck a few times, but Forge kindly got me out. It was a good day, though I’m glad we don’t have to do that everyday!