Woke up to a frog staring at me from a puddle outside our lean-to. yup, it's raining. The trail followed the Cold River here and we got a bunch of nice views along the way. Stood at Rondeau's hermitage for a moment and thought how much Marty Pickands would enjoy this.
The terrian got more challenging as we got deeper into the western high peaks. Lots of rolling hills, swollen creeks and a few views of the Seward Range.
Got to Duck Hole and both lean-tos were occupied. Made the decision to backtrack to the last cold river lean-to instead of tenting out in order to dry out sufficiently for our hike out the next day. kind of bummer of a day, especially hiking back a mile...
So that is almost verbatim what my journal entry was comprised of from 8/22/10. Lets just say that 'bummer of a day' was a bit of an understatement. My legs were hurting me real bad that day and the further along we got, the further I fell behind, stewing about my hip (I know, what an old man) and stomping in puddles.
I can't remember jeanette's overall state for the day but we were both pretty done by the time we hit Duck Hole. After 14 or so miles, we arrive at the quite beautiful and quite packed pond-side base camp. There were not one but two adventure groups from Colgate (who werent aware of each other's presence in the high peaks that day until they met up. Can you believe it?), with numbers in the high teens. I saw them all milling about the lean-to and decided, f*&k it, I'll ask if they are leaving. No harm right? They most certainly were not leave but were, in fact, taking the lean-to and packing out the campsite as well.
My f*&k it attitude came from my chat with the group (all 2 of them) at the other lean-to. A dude and his son were in there for a few day and had settled in and completely filled this lean-to to the brim. While we were talking, the kid was playing his nintendo DS THE WHOLE TIME. This guys basically made it clear that this was their lean-to and he was not interested in sharing. If my mood had been any better I would have said too bad, showed him the lean-to rules in my guidebook and made him shove over. Jeanette was allready crying a bit so we just walked away sadly. I hate this jerk.
With all of our options looking pretty dismal we started backtracking a mile to the vacant Cold River Lean-to. I got right back to my angry puddle-stomping routine as jeanette ran wailing down the trail. Through the rose-colored filter of time I get to chuckle (as you should too) at this image. At the time, it was all pretty horrible. We got to the lean-to, where we stripped down and put dry stuff on for the night and made the usual backpacker's Pantry dinner. Jeanette was able to scream away her megrims and so began the admirable work of trying to cheer me up.
We enjoyed the usual assortment of lean-to graffiti and counted ourselves lucky for how dry we were. Not only did we keep our spare stuff dry but our bags were dry too. After reading a number of accounts of back country emergenies, we realized what bad news it is if you can't get/ keep your sleeping bag dry. We brought two books with us on our trip Changing Planes By Ursula LeGuin and Nemesis By Isaac Asimov. Just about halfway through, we finished and switched. Super fun to read psy-fi by the light of the campfire and dream of other worlds.
On this our last night in the woods, our books were done. To be fair about the events of the day, this was our one and only time we got shut out for a lean-to on the entire hike. It was the first time we even camped anywhere near another person on the trip so we consider ourselves pretty lucky.
day 9: 15 and change miles. 15 to go.