The Haunted Railroad
Immediately my naturally curious mind set to pondering upon the possibilities of just what might be out there to be found along this missing 100-mile stretch of unseen railway. The prospect seemed all at once juicy, enticing, laden thick with the potential for adventure, and at the very least demanding further inquiry.
It didn’t take long to come to the conclusion that the only way to really satisfactorily solve this mystery would be to get out there and trek it through on my own two feet, seeing as how the better part of this hidden stretch of abandoned railroad traversed a canyon which paralleled an officially-designated “wild and scenic river”, read: no frontage or bisecting roads- just the river and the land, exactly as nature etched it out (except for the, uh, railroad).
Considering the exceedingly remote nature of the region, coupled with the fact that the stretch of land in question was virtually in its entirety held by private entities, any attempt at retrieving information about the area promised to be a task which would almost surely offer little if any return on whatever effort was invested to this end. And so it proved. Soon enough it became clear that to properly sate my quest for knowledge and discovery, I would have to take to the land and stomp my way through it- no lesser method was going to carry the day, as it were.
Ghost Train Departing
And so it was that I and a group of my fellow idiot friends set out northward from San Francisco on the fourth of May, 2012, in a two-car caravan. Dropping one of the cars off in Dos Rios, where our through-hike would end (hopefully), we piled into my friend Shane’s truck and made our way northward to the remote community of Fort Seward, where our journey would begin.
We camped for the night on the wide dry rock-bed of the Eel River, of which the current flow occupied only a narrow portion. We gathered what little bit of twigs and sticks as was available on the rocky riverbed, which very likely had been covered to near its full width by flowing river water during spring’s peak flow, just a month or two earlier. We sat around our tiny campfire and drank a few beers, turning in early beneath a nearly full moon.
In the morning we broke camp under a quickly warming sun, shouldered our loaded packs, and said our goodbyes to Shane and Ian, who drove off in the truck, leaving me, Jake, and Chalk to either complete our trek on foot back to Jake’s car in Dos Rios, some 55 miles south via the derelict rail-bed, or find some other way back to civilization.
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