29 , 1983 Monday (289.3 mtg) From
Gonzo!s Appalachian Trail journal
up early and departed before any of the others were ready to go.
Today I would enter Maine! The first two miles took me up to the
summit of Mt. Success. I do not know why this mountain is named
"Success," unless it has something to do with its proximity
to the border of the last state the Appalachian Trail goes through.
Within two miles, anyone having hiked from Georgia would soon be
successful at having hiked from Georgia to Maine. I reached the
New Hampshire/Maine border at 8:47 am this morning and set up the
self timer on my camera to record the event. This was the last
stretch of the trail, I had been through thirteen states, and this
would be the last. It had been a long, grueling trip, and the reality
of having come this far was hard to comprehend. My goal was not
completed however, and many things could happen before I finished
the remaining 279 miles.
I encountered some hikers on Goose Eye Mountain after some climbs
up vertical rock faces. The trail in Maine did not get any less
strenuous than in New Hampshire it seemed. Coming off of Goose Eye
North peak, I stopped at Full Goose Shelter only to find two slumbering
hikers curled up tightly in their sleeping bags. I could not make
out who they were, but while I sat and ate my lunch, one of them
awoke and I immediately recognized her as Sally, a girl I had met
in the Great Smoky Mountains. It is amazing how people I met long
ago keep showing up now and then. She was traveling with Marty,
"the Mad Pollock," who I had also met earlier in the season.
Apparently they had skipped up to the Maine section and enjoyed
it so much they were traveling back and forth, over and over again.
Then I met the guy who let me in to the Post Office at Mt Washington
the other day. Then I met others I had not met yet, the caretaker
of the campsite at Speck Pond, and a former thru-hiker.
I left the shelter with an immediate climb up the side of Fulling
Mill Mountain. The trail did not go to the summit, but around the
west side and down to the entrance of Mahoosuc Notch, the most famous
Notch along the trail. The trail travels through the notch for about
a mile. Not far, but considered the toughest mile on the Appalachian
Trail. Boulders from the side of Fulling Mill Mountain and Mahoosuc
Mountain had broken off and collected in the notch between them.
The boulders ranged in size from as large as Volkswagens to the
size of houses! For one mile the trail goes over, under and between
the rocks in this rubblefield. It is said that snow accumulations
from the previous winter have remained deep within the crevices
well into July as the notch is so deep the sun never gets in to
melt the buildup. Arrows painted on the rocks are utilized in this
section to help navigate through the rough terrain, and at times
you must take off your pack and either push it through ahead of
you, or pull it through afterwards as you go through the cracks
between touching boulders. It is the home of the legendary "Notch
Monster," the monster that can emerge and break your legs as
you make your way through.
I felt confident as I hopped from rock to rock, going as fast as
I could through the notch as if I had some record to set. I stopped
for a drink from the icy cold waters running beneath the rocks in
the small stream that is heard more than seen. I blasted right through
with only one encounter with the Notch Monster that almost broke
my leg when my foot placement resulted in a cave-in. Instead of
camping at the far end of the notch as I had thought about earlier,
I decided to go up Mahoosuc Arm and down to Speck Pond Shelter "because
I knew that it was going to rain." The climb up the arm was
a killer. The monster would not let anyone go without a fight as
the trail led practically straight up for a couple of miles before
dipping down to the shore of Speck Pond. Upon arriving, I spotted
"Lan A.T. Hiker", put down my pack, immediately went to
get some water, and afterwards stepped into the shelter just as
the rain began to fall by the bucketful! Lan had been at the shelter
all day. Not feeling well, she decided not to hike today. Two other
hikers were there too, Rob
Hoeper and Butch Fries. The view of the Pond toward the outlet
and into infinity was particularly beautiful, and calming.
Appalachian Trail Journals ©1983