#WEOUTSIDE #3 – Hiking on the Appalachian Trail with Mardi Fuller

The iconic A.T. sign in Grafton Notch.
Mardi Fuller imparting some trail knowledge.
Table Rock. Made it!
Step Falls swimming.

#WEOUTSIDE – Trip #3. For this trip to the Maine Appalachian Trail region, we wanted to start challenging the participants. They are all eleven to thirteen years old and we wanted to see what they can do! Weather and time were a bit of an issue, so we decided to head up to Table Rock in Grafton Notch, on the side of West Baldpate Mountain. The hike is approximately 2.5 miles and is pretty steep in places – complete with a section of iron rungs to climb to reach the flat viewpoint on the rock at the top. The kids had all their own gear, including lunches, so would be hiking for that reward!

The weather was hot but we were grateful that the rain has been falling on days when #WENOTOUTSIDE. The kids started out slowly, getting their legs under them, but gradually picked up steam with help from Mardi. She is a hiking expert and as a Black woman out on the trail, imparting her experience to a new group of hikers who look like her is immensely important. There’s even a documentary about her! We were so grateful to her for leading this group.

We had lunch up on Table Rock, enjoyed the views and took many photographs. The trip down was pretty quick, especially when the kids were told we could go SWIMMING in one of the nearby waterfall areas. After coordinating with a camp group, we headed over to Mahoosuc Land Trust’s Step Falls Preserve to cool off. Strategically, we didn’t tell the kids they would have to hike a half a mile to get to the pools. But just when their spirits were flagging, we made it! The falls have a series of “water slides” that are great to slide down, into pools of water at the base. Some local swimmers were very helpful in guiding us on reaching the best areas. We all know sweaty hiking is way more fun, but we were able to force the kids to swim for a little while…

Onto the next expedition!