We were supposed to have rain from midnight until 8 a.m., but we woke up at sunrise to completely dry conditions, albeit overcast. We were elated at the fact that it didn't rain! We packed up and headed out early since we knew today if we pushed it we could go home! We began some easy uphill walking to the top of the first hill, which at the top was just a mud pit. We have deemed this mountaintop squishiness "mountain mush". We slopped our way through the mud, attempting to stay dry but failing when the rocks under our feet would either completely sink or slide away and wash downstream. The trails, however, were maintained as well as they could be. On the other side at the bottom, we walked through a wet field where the water was so deep I sank in mud up past my calves. The grass was nearly as high as my chest!
We began yet another uphill. This hill made me lose my cool. There was an old logging road switching back the whole way up, yet whoever built the trail decided to build it straight up the hill, meaning the entire trail pretty much had washed away due to all the rain. You could see where people had slipped and slid, and even animal prints sliding and slipping, all the way up. WHY NOT JUST USE THE OLD ROAD?! Ugh. Covered in mud at the top of the hill, the trail now WAS following the old logging road next to some private land and barbed wire fences. This guy really doesn't want people on his land! After some more mud, we came down into the Cheningo Day Use area - which doesn't look like it has been used yet this year.
From here, we chose to road walk up Cortland Two Road due to Cheningo Creek being so high and it recommending to do this for eastbound hikers if the creek is high. We walked pretty steeply uphill before coming to the pond where the trail went back into the muddy woods. We climbed another hill before finally coming down to Telephone Road. From here, we could either climb a mountain described as "brambles get thicker", or we could get a ride into McGraw and go home. Since the trail from here would have been a road walk nearly all the way to Hoxie Gorge, we chose to hitch. I threw up my thumb and we surprisingly got a ride pretty quickly from a guy from Delaware. He grew up in the area and said he used to hitch around here all the time. We were incredibly grateful for the ride since the sun had come out and it was noon.
We stopped into Malarkey's Pub and Grub in McGraw and made a few phone calls to arrange our ride home to Syracuse. Daryle and Jenny came and picked us up and brought us back home. They really helped us out yet again and we are SO THANKFUL for them! We really needed some time away from the trail and I'm ready to enjoy a weekend with (hopefully) dry feet.