I’d gone to sleep with my puffy on despite my quilt being rated to 10° so I was more than toasty all night. I’m not sure if it ever did get down to freezing. After waking up, I ran out to pee and collect our food, then got back in my sleeping bag and got breakfast cooking. Corrie wanted a couple of cups of coffee so it was a slow morning and we didn’t get started hiking until 9:30 again.

The trail looked like it followed the shore of Long Lake, but really we were up the hill in the woods and could almost never see the water. We stopped at Rodney Point for a quick morning snack, which soon turned into lunch too. Then we walked through a small private parcel before getting back into the High Peaks Wilderness.

Time was moving slowly as we walked around beaver ponds and former beaver ponds. It wasn’t supposed to rain today but it did rain lightly for about an hour in the early afternoon. We were happy to finally get to the suspension bridges at Moose Creek and Cold River.

We stopped at Cold River Lean-to #4 for another snack, but it smelled really damp and mousy so we went down to a rock on the river instead which had a much nicer view in addition to the smell.

The trail from there followed the Cold River for quite a while. We stopped to look at Big Eddy but otherwise made fast time to the Seward Lean-to. It smelled like campfire smoke and we soon realized someone had buried some coals in ash in the firepit. I poked around to see how much was still burning and found a ton of broken glass also in there. The state people leave these lean-tos in is just constantly disappointing.

I wanted to get a couple more miles in so Corrie agreed to go to the next lean-to. About halfway there, we crossed paths with a large group of college students heading into Seward Lean-to so I longer felt bad about pushing Corrie to hike further since staying with them would not have been restful. What can I say, we’re old.

The students warned us about a bridge out ahead. We had seen a sign for a bridge out at Duck Hole but we won’t hit that until tomorrow. Turned out the bridge over Seward Brook right before the Ouluska Lean-to was indeed out. Corrie was able to rock hop in her waterproof boots and I found a fallen tree to cross since I didn’t want water creeping in the sides of my trail runners so late in the day.

The Ouluska Lean-to looked freshly built, or at least freshly repaired and reroofed, and we had it all to ourselves. I collected water first thing so I could get in the lean-to and remain there until bed. Nothing’s better than laying down after hiking all day. I slowly cooked dinner, prepped for bed, then put my shoes on one last time to run out to pee, brush teeth, and hang food.

17 miles today.