Students embarked on week-long wilderness trips last week, venturing out to hike, canoe, whitewater kayak, sea kayak, and sail. Sasha shares her account of the journey across the Mahoosuc Notch, “the hardest mile of the AT.” Highlights from other wilderness trips are soon to come!
“I made another Notch in my belt and then got shot in the Arm.”
– Lazarus, AT through-hiker, upon completing the Mahoosuc Notch on the AT.
Our five-day escapade through the Appalachian Trail gave the word “accomplishment” a new, elevated meaning. Prior to our departure, fellow students (myself included) had underestimated the difficulty of what appeared to be a pretty benign trail. The nonchalant echoes of students saying, “it’s only five miles per day,” no longer hold validity for me or my fellow hikers.
Our first three days presented us with challenges that we met with grace, aside from the occasional fall, slip, or cry of hunger. The events of day four, however, still seem surreal. We tackled the hardest mile of the AT (note my use of newly acquired hiker lingo), the Mahoosuc Notch, under a constant downpour of rain.
How can I possibly describe The Notch?” Imagine innumerable amounts of rocks piled on top of each other in a perplexing and inconvenient way. The Notch is nature’s “obstacle course,” a convenient euphemism for this notoriously difficult mile. Nevertheless, we tackled it with enthusiasm.
We maintained a consistent line order throughout, taking a hand in front to hoist ourselves over boulders, and, in turn, offering a hand to support the person behind. We conquered the Notch mile in just under four hours, but it wasn’t over yet! The Mahoosuc Notch is followed by the Mahoosuc Arm, a steep rock face. The rain sent shallow rivers of water over the rock face. Our steps were slow and cautious, but we persevered!
Why I am sharing the most difficult part of the trip with you? Is it an effort to show off the hard work of my nine fellow hikers? Do I just like saying we successfully completed the hardest mile? Not quite. I believe that day was a testament to our strength as Chewonki semester students. Even a shot in the arm won’t hurt us.
– Sasha Stahl, New York NY