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Table Rock Wilderness
In mid-September I drove to the Table Rock Trailhead about 42 crow-flying miles southeast of home. The trail follows an old road for 1.3 miles before entering the Table Rock Wilderness. Similar to other wilderness areas around Portland, it encompasses a relatively small, pocket area. In the case of Table Rock, it covers nine square miles in the Molalla River drainage.
After entering the old growth forest, mainly mountain hemlocks and Douglas firs, the trail gained elevation until reaching a large rockslide below the basalt columns of the north face of Table Rock. The Trail crossed the rockslide and gently ascended to a saddle, passing many rhododendrons and plentiful amounts of beargrass along the way. After that the 4,900-foot summit of Table Rock was reached in less than one-half mile. The panoramic views from the summit were magnificent with nine snow-covered volcanoes visible.
I often take a side hike from the saddle to Rooster Rock which adds about three miles and 900 feet of elevation gain. Since the brush was still very wet from the previous day’s rain, I decided to save it for another day.
As I hiked back to the trailhead, multiple pikas (rock rabbits) kept me company along the way with their distinctive “meeps”.