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    Burning the Thighs at Table Mountain

    Poison Oak on this trail.

    Step away from the poison oak

    I noticed all this Poison Oak because it got me the week before when I thoughtlessly zipped off my clever little hiking pants’ legs and romped about looking for morels. I must have brushed a plant or two. Lesson learned: Don’t go-go gadget short pants unless I’m paying attention to what lurks on the floors of the forest.

    We started at the Aldridge Butte trailhead and, through a little trial and error, made our way up to the top of this exhilarating hike. Such Great Hikes recounts exactly how hard this hike is, and gives great stats, to boot.

    This hike is like sticking an Elk Mountain hike in the middle of a shorter Dog Mountain. But I liked it. I liked how the cool, moist creekside forest opened up to the steep, dry stands of rocks. Being exposed and hot made the forest that much more of a treat as you weaved through it one last time before your final climb up The Rocks…. But before you get to that point, you hit the tough climb, which is the Elk Mountain part.

    From this point, I felt like my lungs were getting more than their fair share of work, but when we hit the rock slide, my thighs were shaking. I felt the burn. I crawled up the rock, spider-like on all fours because a) I’m clumsy, and b) my legs were rubber banding.

    Nettles and minor’s lettuce at the lower elevations, and trillium blooming higher up. I fell down from standing up before I did any of the strenuous work, and got a great bruise on my arm that lasted almost a week. It was “s” shaped.

    Lunch, views, and the first reward: changing into my flip flops.

    Second reward was grabbing a beer at the Tippy Canoe on the way back.

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