Mile 1918.7 Grafton Notch, ME – Toils, Dangers, and Snares.

“If my mother saw me right now she’d probably have a heart attack”, I thought while hanging on to a tree root with one hand and jumping with both feet to the next position up the rock cliff.
This trail is no longer a hike. It is mostly climbing. Our poles are put away in our bags and we’re crawling up rock faces on our hands and knees. On downhills it’s mostly “buttslides” getting my only shorts wet and muddy.
A few days ago I was in Gorham NH with my group of hikers. We were struggling to figure out how to hike in the bad weather. We decided to take a zero day considering the dangerous weather on Mt. Washington. Just then I met up with Johnny Walker, Misery, Puffy, and Gator at McDonalds and decided to join their group and keep moving. So I missed a few miles in the White Mountains. My other options were to risk my life through them or wait for the weather to clear which might take a week.
So we pushed a 17 miler the first day and crossed over the Maine border. The second day we made 10 miles including the most difficult 1 mile on the AT – Mahoosuc Notch. This is a series of boulders that took over an hour to move though. While there the rain starting falling -soaking us and making the rocks slick. But really, the Notch wasn’t too bad compared to the silk rock faces on many of the climbs in the last few days. I fell twice. The first time I cut my hand like a stigmata would. The second I fell on my side and cut my knee. Probably I was hiking too fast trying to keep up with the young fast crowd around me.
The first night I stayed in a shelter and kept fairly warm. I was there with Pancake, Cricket, J Walker, Misery, Puffy, and Running Shoe. The second night I was soaked and the shelter was full. I stayed in my tent but never really got warm in the 45 deg low common in Maine. I woke up early and walked the remaining 4.5 miles to Grafton Notch where I got a very fortunate hitch to town after about wearing out my thumb.
Beat up, cold, and exhausted I’ve made it to Bethel (Hebrew for “the House of God) Maine for a pizza and a stay at a B&B. This looks like a great place and I’m very glad to sit here a while.