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Calf Bustin Fun: Table Mountain

Posted on August 02, 2012 | 0 comments
Table Mountain is probably the most difficult hike I have done in my life. It is one of the most distinct landmarks on the Washington side of the Columbia Gorge. This is an 8 mile loop hike, with a rapid 3350 ft elevation gain. Calves will protest, and the "Heartbreak Trail" rings true to it's name with seemingly never-ending switchbacks.
 This is a view of Table Mountain's impressive rock face, which pictures, of course, do not do justice. I snapped this photo after we had already been hiking for hours. This was about where we ran into a young gentleman who had practically collapsed and was sweating buckets. The Table Mountain hike connects with the PCT, and apparently two of this guy's friends convinced him to do the Pacific Crest Trail with no real training and a 60 pound pack. He was hating his friends, and I don't blame him. Although, I have to say... It's a bad idea to leave a person by himself in that condition, and an even worse idea to let them "catch up". This guy could have easily, in his exhausted condition, lost footing and gone over one of the cliff edges. Just sayin'.
 
Super epic lookout point!
Crawling up the long rockslide is fun, so long as you remember not to look too closely into the crevices! I'm sure hikers have become alarmed by creepy-crawly creatures and this is not the place to lose your footing. Yes, that is a person about half way down the slide.
 There is a spectacular 360 degree view from the top. On a clear day you can see Mt. Rainier, Mt. Adams, and Mt. St. Helens on one side, and from the cliff face you can see Mt. Hood.
The overcast and cool weather worked in our favor, keeping us cooler on this difficult hike, but the views would be even more amazing if the sky was clear.
Some views from around the summit.
 
 An enormous anthill!
 Lovely carpenter ants hard at work.
Depressing clearcuts ruining the view.
It is far too difficult to go back the way you come up, so there is a different trail leading back down but it is far from easy. We lost our footing several times, and it is now clear to me how useful hiking poles can be. I think I'll invest some in the near future! At this spot we could see the rock slide we had climbed up. It's hard to tell from the size from these pictures.
On the drive out, we realized neither of us had taken a picture of the entirety of Table Mountain. I tried to snap a quick shot from the car. I extend my thanks again to the Columbia Gorge, for sharing her magnificence with me.  
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