Mailbox Peak

Sunday, October 6, 2002: On a cloudy morning, the dogs and I headed to the Mailbox Peak trailhead -- just east of North Bend and Mt. Si.  Dan wimped out (as usual). 

Pretish had warned me that Mailbox Peak was a tough hike...so I decided to see for myself.   Yeah; it was pretty difficult.  The elevation gain was 4100 FT...but the average grade of the trail was steep!  I would say at least twice as steep as most other hikes...perhaps more.  I found some websites claiming Mailbox Peak to be 12 miles RT.  I must say; I think that is an exaggeration.  Considering the steepness of the hike, I would guestimate the trail to be more like 6-7 miles RT.

The trailhead starts in the low valley; about 700 FASL (Feet Above Sea Level).  The peak is at 4800 FASL.  Considering its location, we saw relatively few other people on the trail.  At one point, it became difficult to follow the trail and we almost lost it.  The dogs found the trail for me 'tho (way to go Buddy).

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PICT0001: At 11AM, looking up from the trailhead.  A bit cloudy, but the weather forecast is for a sunny afternoon.

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PICT0002: The first part 0.3 miles of the trail are on a gated road.

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PICT0003: 2 hours up, we came to a scary looking rock field.

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PICT0004: Objective in site.

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PICT0005: Mailbox peak up ahead.  Nice colors.

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PICT0006: Great colors.

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PICT0007: Buddy and mailbox peak above him.

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PICT0008: At the summit!  4800 FASL!  We made it in just 2.5 hours!  This was a speed record for me.  That's an average of 27 vertical feet/minute!

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PICT0009: There's the mailbox.  Somebody carried a fire hydrant up here too.

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PICT0010: Buddy; looking SouthWest.

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PICT0011: Harley and the mailbox; looking North.

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PICT0012: Another marker.

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PICT0013: Mt. Washington

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PICT0014: Closeup of Mt. Washington

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PICT0016: Takin' a rest at the top.

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PICT0017: Nice red things and a view of North Bend.

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PICT0018: Mount Si to the West; trying to brea kfree of clouds.

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PICT0019: Another picture of Si.

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PICT0020: South of Si, North Bend.

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PICT0021: Rainier...almost free of clouds.

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PICT0022: Rainier in the clouds again...but don't despair; just wait a few minutes...

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PICT0023: Buddy and North Bend.

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PICT0024: Closeup of North Bend.

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PICT0025: Rainier -- chasin' away the clouds.

I was very surprised at our speed on this trip.  I usually climb at 15-18 feet/minute but somehow averaged 27 feet/minute on this hike.  I'll chalk it up to lower elevations, cooler temperatures, and a late season hike (thereby being in better shape).  The ascent took 2.5 hours.  Despite that, the descent took a full 2 hours -- it is rather difficult descending such a steep trail.  The views were quite good and the fall colors were great.  I recommend this trail to Seattlites who want a good 1/2 day workout, do not want to drive very far, and don't mind a steep trail.