End: Hidden Cove Lean-To
Another enjoyable day. When I woke up this morning the boy scouts were already gone. But after hiking for an hour i caught up to them. Today was the hardest section of the Northville-Placid Trail, as it climbed over a ridge. Normally the trail is very flat, and even today's climb wasn't that bad compared to what I routinely faced on the Long Path (and what I will have to face next week when I begin doing the high peaks).
I got to a road around noon and decided to head into the town of Long Lake, 1.5 miles down the road. I tried to hitch a ride at the trailhead and was picked up right away by a guy who was heading to the post office.
When I got to town, I got some ice cream and lunch, which I enjoyed by the beach along the lake. Long Lake looked like a great town to take a rest day in. There were lots of places to stay. And the lake itself was very pretty. Long Lake is a very large lake. The town Long Lake is at the southern end of the lake, and the NPT follows the lake north for about 8 miles. I'll be in Lake Placid in two days, so there was no point in spending a night in Long Lake (though it would've been nice).
As I was leaving town, I tried to hitch a ride back to the trailhead. It wasn't that far, but I wasn't really in the mood to walk on the hot road. Well, pretty soon a state trooper drove up behind me. He asked why I didn't drive (I had been hiking for six weeks). Then he asked if I was a missing person or if I had any outstanding warrants (no and no). He ran my driver's license in the system anyway (I was all clear). Then he asked me a bunch of questions about my trip, like if I had any food and water with me (yes, three days worth of food, two water bottles, and a water filter). He warned me that hitch hiking was illegal, and then let me be on my way. I can't say I really learned my lesson not to hitchhike, except that I should check behind me before sticking my thumb out to make sure there's not a cop coming.
It wasn't that far back to the trailhead anyway. There are a number of lean-tos along the trail when it goes along Long Lake, which are used by both hikers and boters. I got to one around 6 and was greeted by a woman named Suzanne. The lean-to was full with her and her family's stuff. She was watching over the place while her brother went to get their kids in his boat. The next lean-to is another two miles along the trail, so I decided I would stay here. I always prefer to have company at night; if this lean-to were empty when I got here, I would've kept hiking to the next one.
Soon her brother Marc came in their motorboat, with his wife Judy and their son Jacob. (The link stopped there; their daughter is named Anya.) They also brougt Suzanne's daughter. The three kids were all in elementary school. They have a summer vacation home on the lake, and they decided it would be nice to drive the boat out to a lean-to and camp for a night. Marc and Suzanne had done some camping and backpacking when they were growing up.
I really enjoyed their company tonight. They weren't life-altering people, but it was just nice to talk with them for a while. At first I wasn't sure if they wanted their privacy, but after I set up my tent and was gathering my belongings, they sent the kids to ask me if I wanted to join them for dinner. Of course I said yes - for the company, not the food. They offered me hot dogs (I just ate my rice and salmon). They were just nice, friendly people.
During dinner, the boy scouts from the past two days came in. They were hoping to stay at an earlier lean-to, but it was full, so they walked another mile to this one. I just can't get away from them! (Not that I mind; they're very nice.) Well, there aren't any more towns for me to visit until Lake Placid, so tomorrow I'm back to my normal hiking routine of over 20 miles, and I definitely won't see the scouts anymore.