September 27: mile 2113: stealth camp on mountain 

I woke up early again only to find a third day of 90 plus temps.  I immediately attacked Columbus Mountain at 2200 feet and got up and down it by 10 o’clock in the morning.  Chairback Mountain, the last of the Chairback Range, came next at 2300 feet.  The heat was awful and caused me to completely sweat through my cloths again.  It was as if you took a fire hose to me.  Consequently I started developing chaffing raspberry’s on my iner thighs.  I treated it with Glide Stick and Gold Bond and soldiered on.

I knocked out the last Chairback by 2:00 and was “treated” to a fairly long and gradual descent that lasted four or five miles.  It was a much needed reprieve in the extreme heat.  At the bottom of the descent, I had to ford another river that was roughly knee high in most places. The rocks are the most slimy and slippery that I have ever seen.  Luckily, there was a rope across that you can hang on to.  Interestingly, the cold mountain water has an unbelievable curative affect on sore feet.  Many hikers over the months had told me to soak them in these streams.  I never did and concluded from fording these rivers that I should have.  My feet never felt better than right after these fords.

I got to the base of the Whitecaps late in the day. At five o’clock I hit the last shelter and was faced with the decision of stopping or try to tackle the first Whitecap.  Since I was told that they were substantially easier that the Chairbacks, and since I was way behind schedule, I set off to knock out the first one.

I had already climbed a gradual 1200 feet to get to the shelter so the final climb to Gulf Hagus Mountain was only 1.5 miles and 800 feet.  It was considerably easier than the Chairbacks and I had time to descend 600 feet from the 2800 foot peak and camp at an abandoned camp.  I pitched my tent just as the sun went down and some ominous storm clouds started rolling in.  I eat in my tent as the thunderstorms stared in earnest.  Happy Trails.

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