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The Last Long Road-Walk

My last long road-walk started from the Seneca Casino at the end of NY 417 in Salamanca, NY. I met up with Chase and his girlfriend Zoe. The air was cool, but we warmed up quickly as we walked. Our hike took us through Salamanca and out through a sleepy residential neighborhood in the quiet morning hours.

We continued on up Sawmill Run Road past a few scattered houses. A horse watched us from a lavish stable as we continued winding on up the road. Finally we arrived at the trailhead leaving the road. We walked up through a driveway and continued on up the hill. Ahead of us a logging operation was in progress. A large claw crane loaded large logs onto a flatbed truck.

After passing the truck we continued on until we reached a detour and re-route for another logging operation. The trail wound down a small single lane dirt track until we reached W. Branch Bucktooth Hollow Road. Another mile brought us the next trailhead where we left the road to hike a short distance to the lean-to.

At the lean-to we relaxed and enjoyed a nice lunch. After a short break we started back to our cars at the casino. We climbed up the dirt-track road and back to the start of the detour. The claw crane was still loading logs as we passed by once again. We descended back down to Sawmill Run Road and then back into Salamanca. Our feet sore and hurting we “cut the corner” on our way back to the casino.

The Last Overnight (Day 2)

I woke in the middle of the night on day two of an overnight hike to the sound of wind hissing through the trees, soon followed by light rain. After falling back to sleep I woke again in the morning to gray skies and damp air. I climbed back up over the hill and down to West Branch Bucktooth Hollow Road. After turning right on the road I arrived at 4th Street and a long climb up to the next trailhead.

After completing the climb I counted my remaining water knowing I needed to ration. I made my way down a rough and rugged section of trail as fog drifted through the tree to arrive at the Pat McGee Rail Trail. Although flat and straight the rail trail was torturous. Sweating and hot I paused at an old railroad bridge for a break before continuing on.

The trail took me past the Elkdale Golf Club and up a road with fresh stone. I felt every stone under my feet as if it were a hot coal. After leaving the road I climbed up an old logging skid and finally up to the brand new lean-to near Little Rock City. I continued on through the massive boulders, too tired to take more pictures. Once past the area I descended down through the tornado ravaged area and out onto Hungry Hollow Road.

After a break to drench myself with water from a stream running next to the road I started the last leg of the trail back to my car. Moments later thunder rumbled and rain began to pour. I completed the last 1.5 miles in a soaking rain. As I drove off the storm became fierce; rain came down in buckets and lightning flashed. My drive home took me in and out of tremendous storms.

The Last Overnight (Day 1)

Day one of an overnight hike began early with a long drive. After parking off McCarthy Hill Road I made my way down past the old CCC Camp Seneca. The trail took me back up a climb through an area devastated by a tornado in 2010. Once I had finished the climb the trail wound through the woods and large boulders began to appear. My boot caught on a root and the toe pulled back causing the sole to flop loosely.

A short time later I came to the awesome spectacle of Little Rock City and forgot all about my broken boot. Massive boulders soared high above me as roots grew down moss the moss covered sides. I wound my way through the giant rocks and left them behind too soon. Along the way I stopped at a brand new lean-to before continuing on. My path took me past the Elkdale Golf club and onto the Pat McGee Rail Trail where I crossed an old railroad bridge.

After a very long walk on the rail trail I turned off and climbed up through a rough and rugged section to finally arrive at 4th Street. A steep descent down the road took me to the next trailhead and I climbed up through tall weeds and grass. I passed a non-existent tent site and finally descended to the Bucktooth State Forest Lean-to — my “home” for the night.

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