End: Mink Hollow Lean-To
I didn't sleep well at all last night. I was all alone at the lean-to, and then I got some visitors (of the rodent variety) overnight. I had seen lots of scat in the shelter, but I didn't want my tent to get wet, so I set up my tent in the shelter. I could hear mice scurrying all night, keeping me awake. Then a porcupine came by and wouldn't leave. I would yell at it and shine a light on it, and it would slowly mosey away, but then it would come back ten minutes later.
So, I was happy to leave the shelter this morning. The morning was on a pretty poorly maintained trail. I had to take a detour (actually followed an older version of the Long Path before it was rerouted a few years ago) so I could fill up on clean water at a state campground.
In the afternoon I started on the Devil's Path. It is very steep (both up and down). I saw about half a dozen day-hikers.
I got to Mink Hollow Lean-To around 4:30. There is a small group of tenth-grade boy scouts here along with three father troop leaders. I spoke to the troop leaders for a little while, and I mentioned that my water filter had broken (to explain why I was carrying four litres of water). Then they offered me some chlorine drops that they had as backup - trail magic from trail angels! It was so nice of them, and it takes away some big headaches with me having to worry about getting clean water.
I had originally planned to camp here last night. It's six more miles to the next lean-to, and I could probably have gotten there just as it was getting dark. But it's a steep hike ahead, and the troop leaders convinced me to stay. It's also nice to have company at the lean-to. I haven't said much to the scouts, but I've enjoyed having some conversations with the leaders. The kids are being loud, but I think I'll be able to sleep (I hope).
I'm a full day behind what I had planned, but I had a relaxing evening.
The last time I was at this lean-to was two years ago, on my freshman pre-orientation backpacking trip (shoutout to Outdoor Action group C21!). Some nice memories of that trip came back when I was hiking the Devil's Path and at the lean-to.