We all woke up at 4:00, which was way too early to do anything. We eventually fell back to sleep and woke up again with my alarm at 7. Then, we quickly got ready and headed to the Long Lake Diner for breakfast.
It was still a little chilly out when Joan dropped Corrie and I off back at Lake Durant at 9:30 so we started in our shells. Normally I can’t hike with mine for more than ten minutes but I kept it on for several miles as we warmed up.
It was a beautiful day with some beautiful trail. Since we’d had a big breakfast, we didn’t stop for a snack until almost noon. There was a lovely campsite with a bench in the sun at the Salmon River where I had a big snack in preparation for the biggest climb of the trail – about 1000′ in 3 miles, which is laughable as a big climb. Still, I always get hungry going uphill.
We were saving lunch for the scenic viewpoint at the top but we ran into some southbound hikers shortly after our break who informed us that there was no view. There really wasn’t much of a climb either. It barely felt like we were climbing at all except for the very top, where it got slightly steep.
After a few miles downhill, we stopped for late lunch at another campsite with a bench at Sandy Creek. The trail then joined a nice ski trail for a bit before crossing Route 28N.
We got to Caitlin Bay Lean-to #1 just before 6:00 but decided to go a little farther to Hidden Cove Lean-to. The side trail wasn’t marked and might have been easy to miss if we weren’t looking. The lean-to faces the shore of Long Lake and is really pretty.
We cooked dinner and set up in the lean-to, getting ready for the low temperature supposedly going down to freezing. I hung my tent across the lean-to opening on a line to block any wind on the side we were in and hoped for the best.
16.6 miles today. We were in the Blue Mountain Wild Forest for most of the day, alternating with some private easements, and we entered the Western High Peaks Wilderness after the road, which we will be in for the rest of the trail.