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Hideout Hollow
December 28, 2003

Hideout Hollow has been near the top of my list of places to see. No doubt I read about it in one of Tim Ernst's guidebooks. It sounded like an easy hike with a lot of cool scenery, and sure enough that's how it panned out.
When Charles parked his SUV and he, Morgan, Cliff and I stepped out, it seemed awfully strange to be starting a hike in late December. We all wore coats, hats and gloves, but were shedding some outer layers the first place we stopped for a rest.
Most of the hike in was down a gentle slope through ordinary woods. Just before we came to the hollow there was a maze of lichen covered boulders - some of them 10 feet tall. Even though the sky was overcast the views from the top of the hollow were great. Across the hollow we could see the apartment-sized rock with the pine trees growing on it mentioned in Ernst's Buffalo River Hiking Trails.
At the head of the hollow was a 40-foot waterfall. It wasn't running all that much but it was still nice. Near there Cliff tried to pick up some ice that had frozen on the rocks. I was worried he might slip on some ice and go over the edge so I had to play the bad guy and tell him to quit.
Somebody had placed a ladder made of rebar at a place where the terrain below came up to about five feet below the ledge. It was wedged into the rocks at the top but the bottom wasn't attached to anything. I didn't like the looks of it, but I don't think we could have made it down without it. I had Cliff hold on to the ladder while I stepped down, then I insisted on holding it for Charles and Morgan when they came down.
Down in the hollow there were the remains of a rock dwelling under the ledge. I'd love to know the story behind it.
On the hike back out we had a "tortoise and the hare" situation going on. Cliff and Morgan kept running up the trail ahead of us, while Charles and I kept an even pace. We would catch up to the kids, who were sitting their huffing and puffing, and continue past them. Then they would get up and run past us again. We all made it back to the car at about the same time, but I think the kids were a lot more tired.
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