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112 — Table Mountain

112 — Table Mountain

Strider Aug 26th, 2022
Strider's 2021 PCT Thru-Hike

Mile 2155.2–2170.5 (15.3 miles)

Rose: finding a campsite at night Thorn: the humidity, passing up another swimming hole Bud: we pass several large roads tomorrow + Friday = trail magic opportunities 🤞

Pretty boring hiking today. In the trees all day. The first few hours were a slog. Steep uphill in humid heat. We were sweating only 15 minutes in, already soaking through our shirts. Beans switched out of her long sleeved and hooded sun shirt into a T shirt. I was jealous. I can feel the condensation on the inside of my sleeves. My shirt is more wet than dry. It’s like the desert again with the amount of sweat, but it’s not arid enough to dry my clothes in any satisfactory timeline. I wish I had packed a t shirt.

Once we made the arduous climb up to Table Mountain, we were on a ridge and sidehilling. Mostly our view was of forested ridgelines in various stages of logging and regrowth. Same with our hiking, although it was mostly regen or old. Occasionally we would get hazy blue views of Mt St Helens to our left and Mt Adams to our right.

We stopped for lunch and had a longer nap, which delayed our day (the humidity really takes it out of us). We also stopped for water numerous times. With 5 days of food on our back, we don’t want to carry too much water weight. There was a 9.5 mile water carry up and over the ridge though. Our section to last water of the day had the potential for swimming, but someone had claimed the campsite next to the swimming hole that was the size of a small swimming pool. We didn’t want to skinny dip in front of them, and we knew our clothes would take too long to dry if we swam in them. We were also pressed for time with dark not far off and a climb ahead of us, so we pressed on after gathering water.

Everything is covered in moss again. Just stepping over the Columbia changed the forest immediately. The ground cover is ash, maple, and sword ferns. The trees are large leaf maple and various tall firs, mostly Douglas fir. All the fire are covered in moss. It’s very much a Washington forest. Vibrant green in all directions. It almost feels like a sin to see it dry; it should be dripping with water.

With the thick forest comes humidity and dark. Even though the sun is bright and hot (as we found hiking through recent clear cut), the air isn’t necessarily hot inside the forest—It’s a good 10* cooler—but the humidity makes up the difference.

The dark affects things too. We struggled with the mileage with lots of elevation change and the humidity. We crawled into camp around 8:10, pitching our tents in the deepening twilight. We were nervous about finding a spot. The undergrowth is too thick to reasonably clear a spot. Our “spot” was only a comment under another feature on Far Out. We passed by two other parties trying to make the forest work. We rushed on with fading light. I was so relieved to find soft, clear ground for 2–3 tents, even if it was slanted. We ate dinner in the dark. As much as I try to stay awake to journal, we inevitably are asleep by 9:30pm.

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