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Notch Story –

Combined Op. MNOB (Mahoosuc Notch Or Busted) and RamSham’s Journals –

05:00 – Op. MNOB left Bethel Outdoor Adventure, Bethel ME heading for Mahoosuc Notch Trailhead – around 55 miles away

06:30 – Op. MNOB began hiking from Mahoosuc Notch Trail (2.5 miles one way)

07:15 – Op. MNOB arrived at Appalachian Trail junction and began to scramble through the Mahoosuc Notch (1.1 miles one way)

08:00 – RamSham and Cane arrived at the East side of the Mahoosuc Notch and filtered the water from the brook

08:15 – Op. MNOB, Cane, and RamSham rendezvoused on East side of the Mahoosuc Notch

08:30 – Op. MNOB began hiking together going North on AT through the Mahoosuc Notch

Cane and Op. MNOB - Cane, Molly, Sam, & Paul

Cane and Op. MNOB – Cane, Molly, Sam, & Paul

10:30 – Break time in the Notch – half-way of the Notch

13:00 – Arrived at the West side of the Mahoosuc Notch!  High-fived each other and had a quick-lunch together.

13:20 – Began hiking going down on the side trail – Mahoosuc Notch Trail

14:30 – Arrived at the trail head!  Began to drive back to Bethel Outdoor Adventure.

15:45 – Arrived at Bethel Outdoor Adventure!  Everyone was filled with joy to see us back in one piece!

Molly's Journal - Op. MNOB

Molly’s Journal – Op. MNOB

After scrambling through the notch, we arrived at trail around noon.  I asked Op. MNOB if we are done with scrambling through the notch and they said yeah.  Yay….we high-fived each other and hiked on.  Opps, in 5 minutes later, we encountered another part of the notch forcing us to scramble again…..just like “false summit” – we got a “false notch-end”.  LOL  No worries, It was nice to cheer on each other for our progress!  Ha!

Oh gosh…..after halfway and break, I encountered a pesky bee kept on hovering and pestering on me from time to time.  I became enraged, cussed, and swapped at it, but no luck for next 15 minutes.  The pesky bee somehow decided to bother Cane and landed on Cane’s left knee.  To my amazement, Cane swapped at it and it fell down on the dirt wiggling!  I was exalted and screamed with excitement to get my opportunity – crucified it with my pole!!!!!!  Op. MNOB laughed at that!

My poor shoulder – after halfway – Cane fell through the opening part of the boulders while holding my hand to support him…he nearly ripped off my shoulder and I refused to let him go.  Naturally, I screamed in pain and grunted loudly that Op. MNOB scrambled to help us out.  After that, I asked Molly to support with holdings and Paul with pulling-ups over difficult boulder to climb over.  I am grateful for them to come through and support all the way with us.

To our amazement and delightful, we encountered some ice and snow in deep opening part of the boulders where the sun doesn’t shine at all.  You can see “frosty” air rising out of the opening parts……wow!  Natural A.C.!

We squiggled and wiggled through the “cave” part of boulders 4 times.  We had to remove our pack to get through 2 out of 4 times.  It was fun!

It was terrific plans that Op. MNOB got to scramble going south before meeting us, so they got to have some fun scrambling and scouting at same time.  It helped all of us tremendously to navigate our way through the notch going north.

It took Bulldog, the blind hiker, 9.5 hours to scramble from west end to east end of the Notch (1.1 miles one way).  With Op. MNOB and myself, it took Cane 4.5 hours to scramble from end to end!  If it wasn’t for Op. MNOB, it would take more than 4.5 hours to get through and I do not even want to think about how many more hours it might take us to do it on our own!  We are in everlasting debt to Op. MNOB, Jeff & Pattie, and Bethel Outdoor Adventure for backing us and their steadfast support.

Now, we can say that we got the Mahoosuc Notch – “the toughest one mile of the entire AT” – under our belt!  😉

Milestones

We are proud to say that we logged in over 2,000 miles, so we are 4,000 milers together!  YAY!!!!!

2000 Miles!!!!

2000 Miles!!!!

2000 Miles - RamSham

2000 Miles – RamSham

2000 Miles - Cane

2000 Miles – Cane

Since June 2013, we finally passed 100 miles of hiking in NH and ME.

Less than 155 miles left to complete our AT journey.

We conquered the Mahoosuc Notch with help of Op. MNOB!

Tidbits

We should be able to remember the date of hiking through the infamous Mahoosuc Notch by using Prince George Alexander Louis’s birth date – 22-July-13!  😎

After 4 years of thinking, talking about, researching, reading about, making countless plans, asking around, dreaming about, watching videos, checking out some pictures, and watching the weather forecast, it came down to ONE plan consisting of Op. MNOB and weather forecast which was decided on 2 days before we began our hiking.  It is so unbelievable that the time allocation of hiking planning took around 80% of our time (around 6 days) and rest of time allocation went to hiking for next 3 days.  We must thank Jeff for getting up at unholy hour and dropping us off at Grafton Notch to beat the heavy down pouring of rain in mid-afternoon.

We are humble and honored that Cane received a precious gift from Jeff & Pattie – bag of Ta-Ka-Radi – the game they introduced to the world here in USA.  I didn’t know that they were the one who created and sell them as I have seen them in L.L. Beans and Lands’ End until Jeff asked me to look up the website on Ta-Ka-Radi.  Wow!  I asked them to consider to make a bigger version of Ta-Ka-Radi for people with visual loss, so it can be easier for them to play while tactic-ling and they will think about it.

We got to chat with two nice hikers, Ninja and Treesgram, at Speck Pond shelter.  Ninja knew some ASL due to her taking some ASL courses at university in San Diego, CA.  She is from CA and Treesgram is from Ohio.  Both of them are SOBOs.  We wish them well for their journey to GA.

Cane bought a new rain pants prior to hiking from Mahoosuc Notch Trail to Rt. 2 Gorham, but unfortunately, on first day of hiking, his rain pants was ripped in back with a large hole resulting from him doing a split legs trying to get over the muddy area of the trail.  I decided to up-cycle his new torn rain pants by cutting some fabric and sewing them onto his old tattered rain pants with Pattie’s awesome sewing machine at Bethel Outdoor Adventure.  We plan to show the pictures next time when the time permits.  Now, his new $160.00 rain pants will not be a total LOSS and Cane shall not be total WET without his rain pants!  😎

It leaves us with 3 major legs to concentrate on –

Saddleback – around 24 miles in length

Bigelows – around 16 miles in length

Monson – Katahdin (100-mile Wilderness) – around 114 miles in length

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I have a little spare time for myself, so I am grabbing that time to provide some highlights from our AT expedition.

1) I received “gift” massage from Neville at Wood’s Hole Hostel in Pearisburg, VA. She did a magic work on transforming my tattered hiker’s body to renewed ones.
2) My birthday was celebrated at 2 location – in Bland, VA at Dairy Queen with Cane and Golden Ray and in Eddington, VA (near Pearisburg) at fabulous restaurant named The Paradise. I got flourless chocolate cake with candle on it and my fellow hikers including Cane, Golden Ray, Fields, Sculler, Idgie, Jessica, Neville, Michael…..sang Happy Birthday to me. It was beautiful moment!
3) Magic, Cane and I got to interact with around 13 wild ponies after Wise Shelter in VA. We saw 3 baby ponies. Aww!
4) The gopher jumped onto the trail before me around 2 miles prior to Partnership shelter in Marion, VA. I smiled and said, “Aww, what a cutie thing you are!” As soon as I completed said that, the gopher snarled at me!!!!! I was surprised and confused! I hesitated. The gopher ran on her left side into the bush. I shrugged my shoulders and hiked, but kept my eyes on where the gopher has gone to. All of sudden, the gopher roared back and tried to attack me! I used my mighty trekking poles to ward it off from me. The gopher kept trying for a few seconds then backed off and ran in opposite directions. I didn’t dare to wait, so I took off and never look back!
5) The bee stung my upper left part of my rib on side after I left Jenny Knob shelter. I first thought that my backpack was poking me on my side. As my hand reached the area, I saw the bee flying across my face and the tingling and pain set in so fast. I screamed bloody and took off fast as lightning! Poor Cane – he didn’t hear nor see me, so he had no warning. The bee attacked him in turn and stung him 3 times. Ugh! Good thing that Cane and I are not allergic to bee stings.
6) Cane and I got to soak themselves at Falls of Dismal (the name didn’t certainly live up to its name – gorgeous place!) before Watipi Shelter on beautiful day.
7) Cane and I slack packed twice with Wood’s Hole Hostel in Pearisburg and once with the Huffman B & B in Newport, VA.  We loved it and hope to do more of that up along the trail.
8) At Pickle Branch Shelter, I was about to get ready to hit the trail. All of sudden, I felt something in my pocket. I checked by placing my hand into my pocket and felt something moving! The pain flashed before I knew what it hit me…..I screamed and zipped my shorts down, then dropped my shorts down to my ankles. The fat bumblebee flew off upwardly from my shorts! Ahhhhh! What was happened is that the bee decided to fly upward through the opening of my shorts on my left leg. The bee explored and got angry when my hand touched her. It just stung me on my upper part of my thigh as it wanted to get away from me. Geee! Cane and Boston Bones saw my shorts around my ankle but I had black spandex shorts on. Whew! Cane thought it was hilarious of the bee to do that to me. Ugh! I was glad that Carol B. gave Cane the bee stung homeopathic medicine before we hit the trail. It helped to soothe the pain and itch!
9) Dragon’s Tooth was one of most difficult terrain for Cane to deal with. For 7 miles on that day, it took Cane 8 hours to get past the ledges, cliffs, boulders, and rocks. He worked so hard and it wiped out his energy at end of the day. Cane butt-slided on the Dragon’s Tooth, but didn’t let it bit him! 🙂
10) On 7-July, Cane was experiencing heat exhaustion for past 2 days and continued to feel awful on that day too. We had to hike around 15 miles from Campbell Shelter in Catawba to Daleville in heat wave (in 90’s F!). The water sources were drying up on the trail, so we had to ration the water carefully. Cane didn’t move well. He hiked sluggishly. We left Campbell Shelter @ 7:00 and arrived @ Lamberts Meadow Shelter by 12:30. Between both shelters, it was 6 miles and it should take us 3 hours to hike. We were lucky to get some water from stale water on the drying-up creek @ Lamberts Meadow Shelter. We had to hike 9 miles left to Daleville. @ 15:15 (3:15 pm), Cane hiked sluggishly. I had to hike ahead as the prolonging time of hiking, dwindling of water with them, and Cane’s struggle became a big concern for me. I arrived @ end of Tinker Ridge by 17:15 (5:15 pm). I waited for Cane until 19:30 (7:30 pm). I left the note advising him to take gravel road instead of AT because by road, it will help Cane get to Daleville faster. I hiked to Daleville and got a room at HoJo by 20:15 (8:15 pm). I got dinner for myself. I waited until 22:00 (10:00 pm) for Cane to show up @ Hojo, but he didn’t. I called the emergency number. The sheriff came to get some info from me. The search & rescue teams have been assembled to search for Cane. I told them to check for gravel road’s end as I left note for Cane to go that way. It turned out that Cane sat at end of gravel road waiting for anyone to get him. He was found @ around 23:15. Thanks goodness! He ran out of water around 3/4 way after leaving Lamberts Meadow Shelter. He was dehydrated, but appeared to be ok. Whew! We took a couple of zero days in Daleville.

Ok, there you go, my dear followers! Hope to share more stories later on. Hugs to y’all!

26-June

Hello folks!  I am totally much better now….completed the round of antibiotics for my giardiasis.  I am renewed hiker here at Wood’s Hole Hostel in Pearisburg.  Let me back up a bit with the story.  Last Friday (18-June) I rented the car to drive from Louisville, Kentucky to Tri-Cities, Bloutville, Tennessee.  Then, Skip from AT Shuttle in Atkins, VA picked me up and drove me to Marion, Virginia to get back to Cane.  It was well-worth it without having to ride on Greyhound bus ever again.  Next day, Cane and I hiked from Mount Rogers HQ in Marion, VA to Atkins, VA.  However, I felt terrible and knew that it was not just regular IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) because I continued to suffer awful symptoms for two weeks.  Despite my “Rip Van Winkle” sleeping marathon in Louisville, KY, I still felt the same way as I was feeling on the first day two weeks ago while hiking.  Something was not right with me, so I decided to check in at the hospital.  As you knew, I found out that I had giardiasis.  Just pray that you will never catch it ever.  Trust me.  We decided to stay one more day in Marion, VA on Sunday 20-June to allow me to get some prescription and more sleep/rest.  Next day, we had a late start to hike from  Atkins, VA.  We hiked to Bland, VA which we arrived on Wednesday night, just in time before the special day.  I got my favorite dessert, peanut buster parfait, from Dairy Queen which was close to the motel and ate it in the bathtub on that night.  😎  Next day was my birthday (24-June).  It was zero day for us.  It was nice to have Golden Ray (Kevin B.) to hang out with us.  On 25-June, we hit the trail hiking toward Pearisburg.  Upon arriving, the Jenny Knob shelter, we found out that both water sources are all dried up.  Not good for us since we were out of water.  There was Dad with two kids – son (Blaze) and daughter (Pyro) at the shelter.  They had some water left, but barely!  Cane and I debated….Cane brought up an idea of calling Wood’s Hole Hostel and asking them to pick us up from the road which was only 1.2 miles down from the shelter.  I agreed.  We got the ride, so we hiked left at around 18:45 (6:45 pm) to meet our driver.  After only 0.3 miles down from the shelter into the rocky area of trail, I got a huge surprise of my lifetime….  got stung by a bee – right straight on my left rib area on my side.  OUCHHHHH!!!!  As I was going to step down from the rock ledge with my poles, the bee somehow went straight to my left rib to sting me.  At first, I thought something was wrong with my backpack stabbing me on my left side…as I was reaching to touch my left side with my right hand, all of the sudden, I saw the bee flew across my face.  I screamed bloody and ran like lightning!  I couldn’t warn Cane as he cannot hear and see me.  I stood and watched helplessly as Cane came to where bee attacked me.  The bee did stung him 3 times.  We continued hike to the road and waited for our ride.  We are ok….no allergic reaction to bee stung.  Thanks goodness.  We had a wonderful dinner at Wood’s Hole Hostel – rice pizza and salad for me and wheat pizza and salad for Cane.  We ended up staying at Wood’s Hole Hostel for 4 nights….so serene and tranquil place to be.  We both had a fantastic massage from Neville, one of owners of Wood’s Hole Hostel.  It was hard to leave the place, but our journey on AT must go on.

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Appalachian Trail

Map of entire Appalachian Trail - 2,179 miles/3,507 km - through 14 states - Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine

Map of entire Appalachian Trail - 2,179 miles/3,507 km

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