End: South Lake Lean-To
Well, I'm back on the trail. Not too much to report for the day. Trail was in pretty good condition, except for some very muddy sections. Didn't see anyone else until I got to the lean-to tonight.
It started raining around 3:00, just when I arrived at a lean-to to have lunch. Soon after I got there, the rain came down really hard, so I decided to wait out the rain at the lean-to. I will say, I do seem to have good luck with getting to lean-tos just in time to wait out the rain. So after two hours of eating, reading, and harmonica playing, I started hiking again.
When I got to the lean-to where I intended to camp, I found it full with people's stuff. But nobody was around. I started making dinner, and after about ten minutes two guys came over. They had been fishing farther up the lake (but didn't catch anything). They said they had walked to the next lean-to, a half mile up the trail, and said it was empty. I said I was tired and didn't mind camping here. In reality, I also wanted the company. If I had gotten here and this lean-to was empty, I would've gone on another half mile to the next one.
Proper etiquette is to make room in a lean-to for other hikers. They spread all their stuff out, and the two of them easily took up a lean-to that can sleep eight people. I didn't mind (I prefer tenting because it keeps out the mosquitos and black flies), but I thought it was rude that they treated the lean-to as theirs and didn't make an effort to make room for me.
They got a fire going, and we had a little small talk as we sat by the fire in the dark. I think they were childhood friends, and they had gone on a number of camping trips together. They were from Ohio. They said they were out here for a week to celebrate one of their 50th birthdays. Two other friends were supposed to join them, but one broke his leg and the other lost his job recently. So it was just the two of them.
Mentally, I'm feeling a little better. I realize I'll be in Lake Placid soon enough. At the pace I'm taking, I may not have enough time to complete all 46 high peaks. But I decided I'm okay with that. I don't want to push myself to the point where I'm unhappy, just so I can get a 46er patch. I'm doing this trip for myself and my own personal reasons, and I don't need to prove anything by making myself unhappy and exhausted. In all likelihood, I'll come back for one or two trips to finish the remaining high peaks. For now, it's onward to Lake Placid.