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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

We left Duncannon this morning and survived our thunderstorm hiking on top of the ridge. Sheesh! Anyhow, tomorrow, we will hit 300 miles mark since we left Rockfish Gap in Shenandoah National Park a month ago (18-April). We logged in around 1,400 miles already! Cane continues to amaze me with his determination and perservance! Almost 2 weeks left of hiking – we plan to stop hiking on 3- or 4-June for a couple of months. We shall return hiking in August for a couple of month. We are heading for Port Clinton – around 60 miles of hiking from Duncannon. Until next time, folks!

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We passed the midpoint of AT last Friday (yeah, Friday the 13th!). On Saturday, we as teamwork completed half-gallon ice cream challenge in 45 minutes at Pine Grove Furnace General Store. We visited AT museum and met one of volunteers who knew some ASL. Cool! We met Bill Irwin, the first AT blind hiker, at the museum. It was such an honor! We are now hiking toward Duncannon. More details to come once we arrive in Duncannon.

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After taking a zero day in Damascus, VA yesterday, we are going to go back on the trail today to hike up to Troutdale and beyond in Virginia.  We will be in VA for a long time….around 500 miles to hike in the state of VA.  Wowow!  We reached a milestone of hiking over 450 miles already!  Hot damn!  We still do not have any luck with getting an Internet access on our zero day yesterday.  I am in much better shape after taking a long bubble bath and total body massage here in Damascus.  We stayed at Hikers Inn.  It was a blissful place to veg out!  The owner, Suzanne, and her devoted dog, Libby, were sweet to us!  She even made an arrangement for me to get my massage session.  Highly recommendation to stay at her place if you are in Damascus.  There is Virginia Creeper Trail to hike or bike – really great place to explore and meander through the nature.  Time to get a good use of my hiker’s legs and lungs once again!    Until next time, folks!

Whee! We passed 150 milestone! We are now at the shelter in Fontana Dam. We stayed at Hike Inn in Fontana Dam last nite. Gosh…..their services were impeccable! Jeff & Nancy Hoch, owners of Hike Inn, went out of their way to make sure we are well-fed, cleaned-up, and well-rested. They did laundry of our clothing including folding ’em! They also took care of our boxes by shipping them out. Gee! Andrea, their hand-helper/driver, was a such sweet angel who drove us to Mexican restaurant to have a delicious dinner then to ATM to replenish our cash, and at last, at food store to re-supply our food for hiking through Great Smokies. Andrea’s son, Bill, knew ASL, so he joined along to review his signs with us. It was so nice to stay at Hike Inn….especially 2 cats – Shasta and Catzilla – who love to be spoiled by hikers. Lol

So right now, the storm is brewing on my left….and the sun is setting on my right……I am facing south with the fire pit going on with people mingling. Like a ying yang….balance of storm and calm and I am center of that fire pit – warm and safe on line. Mmmm……for next few days, the forecast called for either isolated or scattered thunderstorms or rainstorms….it is tough call to leave shelter and hike out to next ones….we will decide at short notice to make a go either tomorrow, Monday or Tuesday…. Wait and see. My feet are gradually improving….not in excruciating pain anymore. Nantahla River blessed my feet with its cold and refreshing water and took away some of its pain with it. Before Nantahala River, I thought my hiking days may be numbered….but, now it is no longer a factor, but I have to keep close watch on my feet along with my foot doctor’s advice in mind. Descent is still hard on my feet….take one thing at a time. Anyhow, I better get going to preserve the battery on my pager. It may be long time before I get online as we are to hike 72 miles from end to end of Great Smoky Mountain National Park – perhaps 8 days of hiking plus some side trail visitation especially Shuckstack Tower and Clingman’s Dome. Catch ya next time. RamSham signing out.

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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