September 11: Bethel Maine Hostel 

Exhausted by the last two days we set out for our third day in the Mahoosucs range, including the infamous Mahoosuc Notch hardest mile.  This was a day that was not hiking but straight up rock climbing.

Dancing Bear, Dove, and I hit the Notch after a modest 500 foot ascent and descent.  At the bottom we could see the infamous Notch laid out before us.  House sized boulders all jumbled together in a track that looks absolutely impassable.  But then you look at a small part and think to yourself “I guess you could climb down there, and then climb over that” and so forth.  Poles are put away and many descent sections are navigated on ones rear end.  Some sections you have to throw your pack down first.  Other sections require squeezing through tunnel like openings and pulling your pack after you.  

The one mile took us two and a half hours of non stop bouldering.  After knowing in advance what we were expecting, it was kind of fun.  Much of it is a series of puzzles as to how to get through or over the enormous boulders.  When we finally came through it was gratifying that we had finally conquered “the hardest mile”.  

And then we had to climb out of the Notch scaling Mahoosucs ARM — the steepest climb on the AT.  It is also steeper than any climb on the Pacific Crest Trail or the Continental Divide Trail.  It was over 1500 feet in ascent over only one mile.  Any climb with a 1 to 1 ratio is considered very steep.  The ARM didn’t disappoint.  It was absolutely brutal.  We enjoyed the views at the top descended the much more gradual north face.

My sister was visiting her friend Laura in Portland Maine and the two of them met us at the trailhead near the bottom of the ARM.  They drove us into Bethel Maine and we checked into a hostel.  Mo and Laura wined and dined us with beer and much delicious home made food.  We were also treated to our first Maine lobster rolls– delish!  Many thanks to Laura and Mo for our feast.  Happy trails.

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