Day 156 9/13/15
Start: Carlo Col Shelter
Finish: Speck Pond Shelter
Miles Hiked: 9.5
To Go: 271.8
Overall Miles Hiked: 1917.4
It rained from 10:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. The rain was not very heavy but constant. When I finally worked up the courage to leave my warm tent, I was greeted by cold temperatures and a thick wall of mist – within 30 minutes of hiking I was soaked. The mist was so thick I could only see about 30 yards in front of me and it would persist all day. The first half of my day took me over four peaks; on each summit I was above treeline. The wind at the tops was around 25 mph and with temperatures in the upper 40’s and because I was wet, it did not make for a comfortable hike. The A.T. in Maine is pretty serious and consists of slippery rocks and steep trail. It took me 3 hours just to walk the first 4.5 miles.
As I pulled into a shelter for lunch I saw several hikers there in their bags. They said they were waiting for better weather before hiking on; they had been there all day. The trail ahead included the dreaded Mahoosuc Notch. This 1 mile section of trail is known as the hardest mile on the A.T. and commonly takes hikers several hours to complete. It consists of piles of boulders stacked on top of each other and hikers have to use their entire body to pull themselves up, lower themselves down, crawl between and under these colossal rocks and on several occasions must drag their packs behind them. I didn’t want to waste the rest of the day and was already soaked so I moved on. The Notch lived up to expectations as I used any means necessary to maneuver through the maze of rock. By the time I was done I was completely exhausted and my legs and arms were shaking from the workout.
After the Mahoosuc Notch is Mahoosuc Arm and I found the Arm to be even more difficult. The trail through the Arm is a steep 1,600 feet and contained some of the rockiest trail I have seen yet. Again, I was forced to pull myself up and over rocks and ledges and by the time I reached Speck Pond Shelter I was done. I had been hiking in the rain for 9 hours and had less than 10 miles covered to show for my efforts. Maine is putting up one hell of a fight.