June 24

Start: near Upper Cherrytown Road, Catskill State Park
End: Bouton Memorial Lean-To
Mileage: 15.5

Today just wasn't a great day. Walking was really uncomfortable because I developed some new blisters on my feet yesterday. There isn't much I can do about them.

In the morning I passed Vernooy Falls, a small set of waterfalls that were decent. A little after that the trail left the woods roads it had been following and was very poorly maintained. I didn't get lost because I could see the blazes, but it was very overgrown and littered with dead trees.

Then I climbed Peekamoose Mountain. From here on, the trail condition was good. There was a nice overlook before the summit, but it started to rain when I got there. There were too many trees at the summit to see any views. I soon descended Peekamoose and climbed Table Mountain, which also had no views from the summit. Both mountains were over 3800 feet, my highest climbs yet.

I made it to the lean-to around 8, but because of the rain it was already getting dark. There's a couple here at the lean-to with me. I'm in the lean-to; they're tenting. When I first got here I thought I was alone, because I didn't see any signs of other people. Then I heard a rustling in the bushes and shouted "Hey, bear!" - it turned out to be the other people. I went over and said hi, then went back to the lean-to to make dinner. They just introduced themselves and we haven't had any other intraction. I guess they want their privacy.

Previous visitors left some great wood for a campfire, and I tried to get it to light, but it was all too wet.

I'm glad there are other people at the lean-to with me, even though they aren't friendly. On the Appalachian Trail, it was nice to have a big group of fellow hikers when I arrived at the shelter. By the way, the lean-tos in the Catskills are very similar to the shelters on the AT - three walls, a wooden floor, and a roof. They can sleep 6-8 people.

In the register at the shelter (a notebook for people to sign in and write their thoughts and messages), I read that a group of 3 people thru-hiking the Long Path came through here about two weeks ago. They should've finished by now. I hope they made it.

It's 9:30 and I'm goingoto sleep after a nice dinner. The rain stopped, but I'd still rather stay in the shelter than tent. It's a nice change. Big day tomorrow - three mountains and a road walk, and hoping to get to Phoenicia before the post office closes so I can get my packages of food and clean clothes to change into. I haven't made a reservation at the motel in town, but hopfully they'll have a room on a Thursday night.

Today marks two weeks on the trail.

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