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After completing the leg from Carter Notch to Rt. 2 in Gorham and taking a couple of days of zero, we started to plan for hiking in Mahoosuc Notch area between Grafton Notch (Rt. 26) to Mahoosuc Notch Trail (side trail).  It was going to be 8.2 miles in length rather than hiking from Grafton Notch to Rt. 2 in Gorham – 31 miles in length.  It is done on purpose to keep our backpack light as possible to get through infamous “toughest one mile of entire AT” Mahoosuc Notch.  You can google it up to watch some videos to check out these size of unbelievable boulders – VW cars!  The hikers go through this particular area are required to scramble.  With easy trail to hike on for 1 mile, it may take around 1/2 hour, but it is not the case with Mahoosuc Notch.  For the most of hikers, it may take them around 2 hours to scramble through merely 1 mile of the notch!  The blind man named Bulldog went through this area and it took him 9.5 hours.  We stopped by Bethel Outdoor Adventure on our zero day to inquire where we can buy Cane’s frayed bicycle helmet and shin guards to replace them.  Pattie was thrilled to see us again and to our surprise, she offered Cane a choice of used bicycle helmet from shelf which was used for rental bicycle ride.  Cane found perfectly fitted bicycle helmet.  Yay!  We were going to hunt on shin guards and Pattie was helpful by giving us a place to check out – Bethel Bicycle Center.  They didn’t have the certain shin guards Cane wanted, so we asked Alyssa G. to buy one for him from Portland before she made her trip to Bethel.  Jeff, Pattie’s husband (which I finally learned his name on that day which we didn’t catch his name when he first dropped us off to begin our hiking from Grafton Notch toward Stratton this past June), showed up and was delighted to see us again.  We ended up making a plan for hiking between Grafton Notch and Mahoosuc Notch Trail for a couple of hours via paper and pen.  Jeff has an invaluable and wealth of knowledge and experience from his Outward Bound days.  We left with the solid plans, good feeling, and motivated/determined to get that “under our belt” for once and all!

Alyssa G. came up on Monday night – 7-July, to join with Cane and me to hike through Mahoosuc Notch as an additional support team member.  However, with the terrible weather we had for a couple of days – rain, foggy, and wet – we weren’t sure if it was a wise decision to make an attempt.  After chatting with Kevin and Polly – owner of lovely Mahoosuc Mountain Lodge – and Jeff and Pattie – owner of Bethel Outdoor Adventure -, we decided that it was best to postpone our attempt to later date with better weather forecast as it was critical factor for us to hike safely for all of us especially for Cane.  In addition, Alyssa was available until Friday morning.  We made a decision on Tuesday morning.  We were crushed and disappointed, but felt comfortable with our decision.  We decided to make a phone call to Bethel Outdoor Adventure to see if we can talk with Jeff and Pattie about revising our plans and was told that we are more than welcome to show up at 4 pm for a tea time.  We went ahead and bought Irish shortbread that ought “blend well” with English Tea Time.  We showed up and found ourselves on the “round table” with Jeff, Pattie, Daren R., Priscilla R. and Molly along with Alyssa G. interpreting and Pattie making English tea for all of us.  With Alyssa’s presence, it helped to make our communication smoothly and at ease.  We were thankful for her willing to bridge our communication.  We came up with the plans from Mahoosuc Notch Trail to Rt. 2 – around 23 miles in total with 5 days – breaking up around 5 miles each for shelter/campsite knowing that Cane requiring more time to hike through trail filled with exposed tree roots, wet rocks/slabs, bogs, and etc.  His average of hiking remained at 5 miles a day for around 10 hours to 12 hours.  Daren and Molly volunteered to be our re-supply team at Carlo Col shelter, so we can carry 2 days worth of food to start with then carry 3 days worth of food for rest of the trail to help Cane managing his weight on his backpack.  The weight on his backpack is challenging for him because when he slips or falls, the weight may easily pull down or throw him off the trail due to his challenging balance condition.  We felt better knowing that we didn’t have to deal with carrying 5 days worth of food.  At end of the meeting, Jeff told us that he would be disappointed if we didn’t show up at Bethel Outdoor Adventure after completing our leg between Mahoosuc Notch Trail and Rt.2.  At that time, we began to realize how supportive  from Bethel Outdoor Adventure community/staff toward Cane’s attempt to complete his AT dream/journey.  What is even more is that not only it comes with Jeff’s knowledge and experience, but his and Pattie’s resources are open to us to help us out.

Kevin gave us a lift going to Mahoosuc Notch Trail (2 hours of traveling one way – dropping off our re-supply food at Bethel Outdoor Adventure, dropping off my car at Rt. 2, then driving on dirt road for around 11 miles to trail head).  We began our hiking on Mahoosuch Notch Trail with exciting anticipation of trying to beat the rain by arriving at the shelter in early afternoon.  Upon our arrival at AT junction, we took a peek at Mahoosuc Notch and began our hiking going south.  It was a bit challenging of climbing which required us to use hand-to-hand climbing from time to time on our ascent.   After getting to the top, we encountered countless bogs with some depreciating, rotten, missing and/or underwater planks to walk over….sometimes we had to walk, perhaps more of “swim”, through.  At one point, I almost lost my boot in one of these deep bogs!!!!!  We arrived at Full Goose Shelter around 2 pm beating the heavy pouring of rain!  We remained at the shelter rest of the day keeping ourselves dry and warm.  A group of female hikers arrived and stayed overnight.  For the first time, Cane was finally a “minority” – surrounded by female hikers!  😉

On 2nd day of our hiking, we hiked toward Carlo Col Shelter which was 4.7 miles, but took us 9 hours.  We arrived finding Daren chilling out around his hammock – yay, one of hammock fiends!  I proceeded to set up mine with excitement having a hammock neighbor at last!  Daren, Cane, and I got to chat via Daren’s notebook – getting each other know a bit more.  Jeff left us a trail magic – sugar cookies.  Cane happily wolfed down his and mine (I am allergic to wheat/gluten which Jeff and Pattie do not know yet.).  Daren told us that he will join us hiking on section of AT to next side trail, Success Trail, to get off next day.  Wow, nice to have a company on the trail for while!  🙂

3rd day of hiking – We left Carlo Col Shelter early in the morning by 7:00 am heading for Gentian Pond Shelter which was around 5.7 miles away.  Immediately, we faced with a huge obstacle to overcome – using our rock climbing skills to climb ledge and large boulders straight up!  Without any doubts in my mind that Daren must have said Holy Mackerel due to his ancestral root – Scottish!    😉  We hiked for around 2 miles along with crossing the state line from Maine into New Hampshire (we are almost done with NH…..hardly WAIT!!!!)  until we arrived the side trail where we said our farewell to Daren going down that way.  The trail continued to be challenging – bogs, hand climbing, exposed tree roots, and wet slabs on top of hot and humidity weather.  We arrived at the shelter 10 hours and 30 minutes later – around 5:30 pm.  Whew!  The shelter gave us a nice view of the valley.  Awesome!

At 4th day of hiking, I began to notice how much the ongoing challenges of trail began to toll on Cane’s physical and well-being.  He began to suffer terrible heat rashes on his both hips and shoulders from his heavy backpack and aching knee from previous injury he sustained.  After lengthy discussion between Cane and myself, we agreed that I was to text Jeff, Pattie, John W., and Daren asking if they were available to assist us either on that day or next day.  That was something that we wanted to make sure if we absolutely needed the support system on the trail knowing that it was around 12 miles ahead – 12 LONG miles for Cane to finish out.  We came to the last side trail and I asked Cane if he felt the necessary to bail out and he said no and wanted to continue to finish out rest of the AT toward Rt. 2.  I did a quick evaluation of his health and well-being state and agreed with him that he was “hike-able”.  Originally, he wanted to hike out to Rt. 2, but he realized that he couldn’t do it and accepted that we will camp out at Trident Campsite – around 7 miles from Rt. 2.  We arrived at Trident Campsite by 3 pm and had time for Cane to get some rest and tended after his injuries.

On 5th day of hiking, Daren volunteered to assist us, so we got an early start to begin our hiking at 7:30 am for last 7 miles.  It was very hot and humid day.  I gave one of my mantras to Cane – “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger!” and “Keep going and it will make you strong as a bull!”  I texted Daren saying that we may have a long day of hiking and Daren replied that we hoped that we will make it in time for 6 pm dinner to celebrate.  At that time, I wasn’t sure if he was being serious or joking.  Cane sluggishly climbed the Cascade Mountain both ways before coming to the brook around 3 hours and half later.  We were re-filling water and Daren showed up hiking around 4 miles from Rt. 2.  I was overwhelmed with joy and a bit tears in my eyes knowing that we have the support system helping to seeing Cane hiking out.  Daren brought another trail magic – at this time from Molly – banana walnut brownie along with the message on the brown paper, “I believe in you!  YOU CAN DO IT!”.  Wow, what a wonderful treat with inspiring message.  We took some weight off from Cane’s backpack by transferring most of Cane’s gears to Daren’s backpack.  We began our hiking and saw how much Cane was struggling with his hiking – he was pretty exhausted with 5th day of hiking on challenging trail without a long period of rest.  He climbed to top of Mt. Hayes in late afternoon and had hard time coming down a long descent – most of trail consisted many rocks and exposed tree roots for him to hike over.  He fell down many times along the way on top of being exhausted and frustrated.  For around last 2.5 miles, Daren encountered 3 hikers that he met in the 100-Mile Wilderness.  What an amazing coincidence!  After the hikers leaving us, Cane’s ability to hike deteriorated rapidly to the point where he fell down on frequent basis.  At point of Cane’s nasty fall, Daren and I decided that Daren should hike out to drop off his backpack and hike back to assist Cane hiking out.  Daren left us and I made a decision which I accepted with full responsibility of my own – commenced my “insulting machine” with Cane.  I told him like oh, do you want Daren to carry you out?, If you say you are weak, then you are weak!, You have to finish AT or just sit down and not finish AT!, and etc. etc.  It got him standing up and hiking (more like chasing after me!!!) for some time before he fell down.  His eyes were “brightened up” just like “blue-eyed demon on the run”!!!!!  I can clearly see his raging and strong desire to continue before his body defeated him a few minutes later.  Wow……I had to give him some space to get some rest and started up hiking again despite the attack of bugs on me from time to time.  It has been going on for who knows – perhaps 45 minutes.  I began to realize how close we were to the trail head and saw Daren beginning to hike to meet us.  His face was priceless – shocked and surprised to see us hiking out under our power especially CANE!!!!!  I sheepishly said….well, it was one of my doings and will tell you about it later on.  (On the same night, Cane and I had the discussion if he wished me not to employ my “insulting machine” on him ever again.  He said it helped him tremendously for being so raging angry with me – not taken personal or being offended by that – and able to continue hiking with whatever left what he has in him.)   We didn’t finish out last 0.5 mile, but we quickly decided that we can do that next day, anyway.  We got a ride in Daren’s and Priscilla’s car to get my car.  We finally realized that we do have 6 pm dinner to join.  We went to Bethel Outdoor Adventure – around 30 minutes of driving from Gorham.  We got showered and dressed up for dinner.  When we arrived and saw many people gathering, Jeff wrote to Cane, “This is for YOU!!!!!”  We were flabbergasted and shocked that these people from RV and Bethel Outdoor Adventure taking time to make potluck dinner and celebrating our completion of Mahoosuc Range section between Mahoosuc Notch Trail and Rt. 2 in Gorham.  We wolfed down the delicious food – cleaning out the full plate TWICE and gulping down the bottle of Raspberry Iced Tea, Pina Colada Polar, and Water!!!!!!!!  We were deeply touched by presence of these people even though we missed out what Jeff has to say about us, but knew in our heart that Jeff said how much we meant and inspired to him and others through our perseverance and determination and not allowing our disability stand in our way.  We enjoyed the company with these folks and headed over to the inn across the road to get a well-deserved good night’s sleep in air-conditioned and bug-free room with a HUGE smile on our face knowing we accomplished a big time, not only for ourselves, but with Bethel Outdoor Adventure community behind us!

The next day, Monday 15-July, John W. decided it was time for him to go home.  We met up in Gorham to chat for a while.  Cane asked him if it was ok for him to give us a ride to the trail head where we left off with remaining 0.5 miles toward Rt. 2 in Gorham to conclude our Mahoosuc Range section in honest and “purist” (Jeff calls us that) way.  John was happy to do that for us.  We thanked him for being part of our AT journey/experience for past two weeks and would love to see him at the base of Mt. Katahdin before we start to climb.  After walking the way of 0.5 mile,  YEAH , WE NOW CAN SAY THAT WE ARE OFFICIALLY DONE/CONQUERED WITH NH which has been eluded us since last year!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Maine is the last and 14th state for us to conclude our AT journey!!!!!  YAY!  Katahdin is getting closer and closer……we calculated and found out that we have 163.3 miles left to GOOOOOOOOO!  Woo hoo!  😎

We got off the trail on East B Hill Rd with help of Larry P. and Pine Ellis Hiking Lodge staff (Ilene T. & David R.) last night.  The reason is Cane experienced a severe case of heartburn that came on strong at first night at Frye Notch Lean-to – around 5.8 miles of strenuous and grueling hiking (steeps to descent and ascend along with a couple of short ladder on ledge).  We started hiking at 10:30 am on Sunday and didn’t arrived at Frye Notch Lean-to until 10:22 pm.  Pretty much abt 10 hrs of hiking with 1 hr lunch break and some breaks (total of 2 hrs).   By the way, Cane made a silly rookie hiker’s mistake on that morning….forgot to fill up his water pouch, but luckily for him….the brook in Grafton Notch saved his day.  🙂

Cane didn’t sleep well on that night due to horrible heartburn that kept him awake all night long.  When we got up at 7 am, we didn’t feel well.  Cane was green in face…..threw up.  We ate our breakfast and decided to take a nap in the shelter.  We felt a bit better and talked about whether if Cane can continue to hike with recurring severe heartburn.  We agreed to decide after our climbing on Surplus Mtn. from Frye Notch. 

We began our hiking at 10:30 am.  After 2 hrs of climbing for 0.5 miles and had a lunch on top of Surplus Mtn., we decided that it was best for Cane to get off the trail.  He didn’t have medicine to aid his heartburn problem and we knew that we are going to get ourselves into trouble if we continue to hike for 41 miles from Frye Notch.  We got in touch with Larry P. who in turn got in touch with Pine Ellis Hiking Lodge asking for a shuttle ride from East B Hill Rd in Andover, ME.  It was well 8 miles of driving from lodge to AT point….in remote area with mooses roaming around (we only saw their hoofprints and “remains” they left behind on AT – many of ’em…but, we haven’t seen one real ones yet!). 

We hiked until 8:15 pm – long 4.5 miles of hiking on top of nasty recurring heartburn for poor Cane from Frye Notch to East B Hill Rd.  He moved slowly…getting his foot front of him, getting up after falling down or sitting down to deal with intense heartburn, and getting a brief break. 

We are staying at Pine Ellis Hiking Lodge (thanks goodness since it is raining today and probably tomorrow) – firguring out what we need to do with our current plans.  It seems that his backpack weight makes him worker even more trying to compensate from off-balancing, negotiating with steeps, and falling down/getting up.  We are exploring some options to fit Cane’s needs for lighter weight backpacking….probably slackpacking may work better for him, however it is challenging since it costs some extra money and another person to support us with rides, food, and supplies.  We try to find someone who is available to support us if possible.  As we are told that most of the trail in Maine is challenging, we do our best to deal with them one thing at a time.

Look on the bright side….10.3 miles completed leaving us with 85.7 miles left for section 1 and 245.7 miles left toward Katahdin. Less than 250 miles left!

Please feel free to share any ideas/suggestions you may have for us, otherwise your prayer and messages are welcome.

Cane and I are about to begin our first section of the Appalachian Trail (AT) journey – Grafton Notch going north to East Flagstaff Lake Road for next 2 weeks. We would like to thank from bottom of our heart to Dawna for a ride and a wonderful company. Please wish us well and a Happy Trails! Until next time, folks!

Hello folks!

After getting my car into the shape for long road trip from New Jersey to Maine with help of my dear friend, Ed M. and my dear father, I was able to drive up to Maine this past Wednesday 5-June at last!  Cane and I checked out the weather forecast for next few days and decided to wait out on Tropical Storm Andrea’s drenching rain.  We couldn’t believe that the hurricane season already began last week!  Gosh!  Hope for minor or less-impacted hurricanes/tropical storms this summer in New Hampshire and Maine area.  We decided on 4 sections of hiking we are going to do.  Here is the breakdown of sections:

Section 1: ~95 miles between Rt. 26 in Grafton Notch, Maine and East Flagstaff Road in Stratton Maine

Section 2: ~19 miles between Rt. 16 in Pinkham Notch, New Hampshire and Rt. 2 in Gorham, New Hampshire

Section 3: ~32 miles between Rt 2. in Gorham, New Hampshire and Rt. 26 in Grafton Notch, Maine (notorious and infamous Mahoosuc Notch!)

Section 4: ~114 miles between Rt. 15 in Monson, Maine and Katahdin Mountain (northern terminus of Appalachian Trail)

We are going to do Section 1 as soon as the weather becomes calm for us to begin our hiking season of 2013 with 256 miles left to go!!!!!!  We have logged in over 1,900 miles from Springer Mountain, Georgia (southern terminus of Appalachian Trail).  Unbelievable, isn’t it!?!?!

You might noticed that there is no section between East Flagstaff Road in Stratton, Maine and Rt. 15 in Monson, Maine (~57 miles).  We hiked that section in 2010.

We hope to complete our AT journey this summer without any major delays or injuries.  *crossing fingers*  I am so excited to get away from the civilization once again and hiking among the nature once again.  😉  By the way, for those of you who want to send me a care package, please get in touch with me via email right away to set up an arrangement.

Your steadfast support and cheering on us are much-needed and always welcome here!

Wish us well and happy trails on our first Section 1!  😉

September 2020
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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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