Hike Down Cliff  Hollow to the Buffalo in the Ponca Wilderness
  3:30 a.m., breakfast at South Park restaurant in Clarksville. It is fairly tasty. 6:00 a.m., into the woods from Centerpoint Trail Head north of Ponca. No trail...straight down the valley. This is the valley to the right of the Centerpoint Trail. It is steep and rocky and brushy. It does not want you there. No one goes down there. I need to know why not. This valley is Cliff Hollow. My way is made down and over and up with many a collapsing boulder...one of which rolls over my leg laughing as it continues on down the slope. "Injury?" I fear...but no...just pain. There is a sense of wonder...wondering of why I am here and should I turn around. It occurs to me that this is manly outdoor adventure and I am a man. Onward then. The pain fades with each stride. At some point the grade moderates and the trees look more like trees. My mood is lifted. Then my bluff line is spotted. This is a bluff line that is on the same level as the bluffs above the Buffalo. My path will follow this to the river. The initial bluff has an orange rock poking up from the trees out a ways from the cliff. Could this be Chimney Rock? I know not.
  The going is not too bad now. The views are excellent. The sun is too bright...can that be? Yes...no clouds...the jets leave no trails. The temp is 40° with some breeze. It was much windier up top. As the river comes close my direction changes and the creek is crossed. After climbing the hill of death the summit is reached. Soon the Buffalo is in view and a bluff top invites me to lunch. My sammich is shared with the rocks beneath me. By noon the time has come to move onward down the bluff line and then up the mountain to meet the Chimney Rock Trail. This trail is followed back to the highway and by 1:15 the filled parking area is before me. The temp is now 56°. Some hikers block my way and they are pushed aside. They say "what tha ?!" and I say "this tha !" as my unused bag of skunks arches on a true trajectory. They scatter like little girls...actually most of them were girls. This hike seemed longer but was only around 6 miles. It was well worth the difficulty getting there.

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