Horizontal is nice. I like horizontal. Perhaps I will stay horizontal for the rest of my life.
I hiked for 10 hours and covered 5.1 miles. Since even for me that is exceptionally slow, you can easily deduce it was a very tough day. But you can carve a Mahoosuc-sized Notch into my tally sheet; I did it!
And it was everything it was advertised to be. Extremely difficult and extremely fun! Up, down, where is the best path, oh, look, another cave! Five times it was necessary to go under the angled boulders, into the shadowy depths… Twice we had to take the packs off and push them ahead of us. And when I say we, I mean we… I fell in with a fun group of college students from the University of New Hampshire in Hanover, and we hiked most of the Notch together, helping each other out. It made it easier.Eventually though, I pulled ahead, near the end. It was some serious fun!
The Mahoosuc Arm was as much effort, with none of the fun. Just one steep rock scramble after another, and I was becoming convinced I was dealing with a topless mountain. Finally, it ended, just before it ended *me*.
I was desperately tired, but the Speck Pond Shelter was only about a mile away. I had hoped to get a lot farther today, but it was 5:30, and my legs were sore, and unusually, so were my arms, from constantly pulling myself upwards. So I stopped. This is a huge shelter, like last night’s, but so far, I am the only one in it. There are two huge groups here, and some other hikers, but everyone else is tenting. Me, I am just lazy. It’s easier to pack up when sheltering.
Now I have to figure out where to stay tomorrow and all, so I can retrieve my maildrop in Andover when the post office is open. Fortunately, there are options for that, the trail crosses two separate roads to Andover, about 10 miles apart.
Someone asked for a picture of a typical rock scramble – the image at the top is a very typical one. The kind where you let the poles dangle, and grab onto trees, roots, rocks, and throw in a couple prayers, to get yourself up. (If it looks blurry when it uploads, I can send it via email. The original looks fine.)
Back into the fleece leg warmer jacket tonight! And if I snore, I won’t bother anyone, that is good.
I hike on!