July 29, 1998

7/29/98 Baldpate Lean-to

12.1 miles (1897.3 total)

Guess what? Yes, woke up to rain. Just my luck for the "toughest mile" on the AT. Rained hard till about 9am. We set off with overcast skies and a light drizzle.

The Mahoosuc Notch is a mile-long stretch of large boulders that the trail snakes through. Not hard physically, but more a mental puzzle to figure out how to go; up, over, around, or under. The wet rocks just made it a little harder. We took our time, about 2 hours and had a good time. I only got stuck once out on a ledge with a seemingly impossible jump to make. Kind of scary but I made it.

The Mahoosuc Arm was a very long steep climb out of the notch. Glad I put the poles away because I used my hands a lot. By the time we reached the top, we had sunny skies - go figure.

Reached Speck Pond Campsite by 3pm. Took a long break to talk with the caretaker. Some weekenders heading south didn’t believe us when we told them it had taken us 5 hours to do 5 miles. Still had 7 miles to go so we headed out again.

At one point, I started to pull away from the girls. They take a lot of snack breaks because Tortoise is diabetic. They said the trip has been pretty easy because of snacks and the exercise.

Crossed paths with Adriene, of Lake of the Clouds Hut, and Ned, the AMC trail maintainer who’d told us about the campsite above Liberty. They had a few days off and were hiking up to Speck Pond. Also saw a trail maintenance crew. They were completely covered in dirt from moving large rocks for water breaks.

Practically ran from Grafton Notch to the Baldpate Lean-to, almost a 2mph pace. Something we haven’t been able to do for a while. Seems Tortoise, Hare and I have the shelter all to ourselves. After dinner, the girls made cheesecake while it rained some more. Need my sleep tonight because I’m hoping to do a 14 mile day, and get groceries in Andover. Just depends on the hitch.