End: South Mountain
Today was a very long day. It rained last night. I stayed dry in my tent, but the rain convinced me to sleep in an extra hour, since I didn't want to go outside. I didn't have any trouble sleeping last night. Apparently (the troop leaders told me this morning) the scouts were up talking and laughing and singing into the wee hours of the morning. But I fell asleep before the troop leaders left the boys at the lean-to and went to sleep in their tent.
In the morning, I had to tackle more of the Devil's Path. I climbed Sugarloaf, Twin, and Indian Head Mountains. Like yesterday, the descents and climbs between peaks were very steep, and it took me a long time to maneuver the rock ledges. But there were some nice views. I also saw about 15 people doing day-hikes. They used some side trails allow loops on the Devil's Path.
I stopped for lunch at Devil's Kitchen Lean-To, at the eastern end of the Devil's Path. There was an assistant forest ranger there, and we spoke for a while. He was out on his patrols. He was also in college, and he had been doing this as a summer job for two years.
Just when he left, a group of four guys came (they looked college-aged as well). They were just there for the night, but their packs probably weighed more than mine. They had a new stove that they were trying to figure out how to light. Finally, after fifteen minutes, they lit it. But they had spilled so much fuel that the entire stove went up in flames. They almost burned the lean-to down! It was amusing to watch, and I left soon after.
Around 6:30, I got to Palenville. It seems like a very small town, but I didn't walk to the main part of it. I stopped at a gas station that had a grocery and deli. I've been so hungry lately that I've eaten more than I planned for. I got a deli sandwich for dinner, which I ate there. I also bought some Clif bars and peanut butter. They only had Jif creamy in small containers, but I'll deal with it (I'm a Skippy superchunk guy).
I still had a few more miles of hiking from Palenville, and I wasn't sure of an exact place to camp tonight, since there's no lean-to nearby (the closest one is another ten miles from here). I had to hike with my headlamp for a little while until I found a spot to camp.
The area where I'm camped is the former site of the Hotel Kaaterskill. In the nineteenth century, the Catskills were the major vacation spot for the rich and famous from New York. The Hotel Kaaterskill, and the nearby Catskill Mountain House, were two of the most prestigous. Now they're both destroyed. Nearby, there's a large state campground now (North/South Lake).
Apparently the Hotel Kaaterskill was built by a guy who got in a fight with the Montain House because they didn't accommodate the dietary needs of his daughter. So he bought some land a mile away and built a rival luxury hotel.
I'm really tired now. In one week I'll finish the Long Path, and be sleeping at the Altamont Inn (the only lodging option in Altamont).