Hiking 7:20:00  7.2 mi (1:01:07 / mi) +800m 45:26 / mi
Big hike today. Mahoosuc Notch and Speck Pond, round trip from Success Pond Road. The adventure started when it turned out there was no access to the Success Pond Road from the north. We drove further north to another dirt road (called the North Road, appropriately). The map indicated that the North Road came close to the Success Pond Road, but didn't connect. Looking at the state of the road, it seemed like a good chance, and it did connect. So another 10 miles of dirt road, and we left a car at the trailhead for the descent (Speck Pond Trail), more on that later. Another 2 miles to the Notch Trail with everyone crammed into one van.
The Notch trail was easy up to the notch, where it joined the A.T. I had been through Mahoosuc Notch once before, and knew what to expect. It was a lot of fun with day packs (we passed a number of hikers with full packs, which were a major burden in the caves and chasms). Very physical, even going in the downhill direction. Then it ended, as abruptly as it started, back on normal trails. After a snack we started up to Speck Pond. I totally underestimated this part of the hike. It was a steep and strenuous climb up a long series of disconnected granite slabs, seemingly neverending. Finally topping out at a panoramic view of the Mahoosuc Range just down from the summit of Mahoosuc Arm, where we had a late lunch.
We continued down to Speck Pond, then backtracked to the Speck Pond trail for the descent. About 3 miles later, we got down to the Success Pond Road, no car in sight. Oops. We had parked it about a mile and 300 feet up on a dirt road we thought was the trailhead. It wasn't. Addie, Mei-An, and I jogged the 2 miles back down to the Notch Road parking, picked up the other car, and drove back to the endpoint to meet Rob, Veronica, Colin, and Florence, then drove everyone up to the false trailhead to get the car.
Boneheaded blunders aside, this was a fine hike. It was more strenuous than I had anticipated, and took longer, but some of the most interesting hiking in New England.