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Toughest Mile of the AT

A little more than a week ago a few of the guides were hiking in Mahoosuc Notch just east of the Maine-New Hampshire border. That one of us would be guiding this section of the Appalachian Trail soon was purely coincidental — the fellahs were simply helping owner Mike Cherim “work” on his personal “redlining” mission.

Assigned to lead today’s for-hire companion hike was Redline Guide Ken Hodges. We were all envious of his assignment. The Notch is billed as the toughest mile on the AT, but we know it’s really the most fun mile on the AT in reality. Moreover, it was a great day… right?

Well, while the much of the Northeast enjoyed fine weather, Ken noting was forecast for them was the same, the Mahoosuc Range and its notorious Notch had its own ideas. Apprently rain and clouds ruled the day. It’s okay, they had a great time all the same and their mission was a success. Or as Ken put it:

On Sunday, August 13th, Phil and I section-hiked a piece of the AT. Phil is a transplanted New Englander living in California who has been section-hiking the AT for several years now. He wanted company along on the stretch thru Mahoosuc Notch. We met up at dawn to get an esrly start on what was forecast to be a beautiful sunny day in the 70s [and it was everywhere else]. We set out northbound at the Notch Trail and halfway thru Mahoosuc Notch a light rain was falling under very foggy skies. We continued on unperturbed through the Notch and then up the Arm [Mahoosuc Arm]. Luckily for us that the rock gripped very well even though it was wet. After getting beyond Speck Pond around mid-afternoon the rain let up and by 2:00 pm the sun was out and we had views all the way to our exit at Grafton Notch. Congratulations Phil on finishing another section of the AT. —Ken Hodges

Ken also shared these photos:

Our guest, Phil, eager to get started on his quest.

Negotiating the Notch is not without its challenges.

Note the smile. The Notch is not without its fun, either.

A natural place for a trail, right?

The rains came and made for a wet ascent of Mahoosuc Arm.

Dangerous rock or a pretty water feature? You decide.

The clouds vacated the Mahoosucs at the same time as our team.

As usual, a fine lead Ken and a hearty congratulations to both of you on a job well done!

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