Well, my trip is over now. It ended sooner than I had planned, but I feel satisfied with my trip nonetheless. I'll use this post to sum up what happened in the past week.
On Saturday, I did a day-hike to climb Giant Mt. and Rocky Ridge Peak. There were excellent views from both peaks. Giant is the more popular summit (they are only a mile apart), but I thought the summit of Rocky was nicer and had better views. I met a lot of people while I was climbing up Giant, but I was alone on both summits.
I checked my phone messages on the summit of Rocky (there was no cell phone service in the town of Keene Valley), and I got the calls I had been dreading for most of the summer. And no, they weren't messages alerting me that there was a teenager with a water gun on Princeton's campus. My grandmother was very sick, and (as I found out the next morning) she passed away later that night. I made plans to meet my family in Milwaukee the next day.
The hostel was full Saturday night. It was my last night there, and it was nice to be with a lot of people. There was a guy from New York City who had hiked parts of the Long Path along the Palisades (near the George Washington Bridge), and he took the bus to Keene Valley so he could spend a few days hiking in the Adirondacks. There was also a group of middle-aged guys from Connecticut who had just finished a few days in the woods. They were all very friendly and nice to talk to. One guy had a guitar and spent an hour playing and singing. Another guy said he would write to Backpacker Magazine about my trip, but he had a lot of beers that night and I didn't take him too seriously.
The next day, instead of going back into the woods, I was traveling to Milwaukee. I flew out of Saranac Lake Airport to Boston (in a 9-passenger propeller plane), and was in Milwaukee by 3 p.m.
And so, I'm home now. Even though my trip had a sudden and anti-climactic ending, I still fill satisfied with it. I didn't finish by climbing Mount Marcy (highest point in New York) or finishing the 46 High Peaks, but I accomplished a lot and feel that the trip has closure.
I plan to post some final reflections in a few days, as well as some long-overdue pictures. Thanks to everyone who's followed my journey this summer. It was an extraordinary experience.