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Mailbox Peak, North Bend Washington

Wow, what a hike this was. I had been thinking about going up Mailbox Peak since last summer, but, reading how hard it was I never quite got around to it. But, this spring I wanted to go some place new and Mailbox Peak came to mind. I picked Mailbox Peak as an after work hike which may not have been the best idea.

Mailbox Peak is a very intense hike. This trail is about 3 miles long and gains 3926 feet. The trail starts on a gravel road with little elevation gain. In one of my hiking books it says that this hike gains, on average, 1600 feet per mile.

Once you get into the woods the trail gets very steep. There are no level spots on this trail, it is uphill the entire way. As you can see in the pictures the skies were not clear on this day. At about 3300 feet it began to hail, but, it didn't last long, But then at about 4000 feet it begin to rain and then hail again and then snow. I think about 1/2 inch of snow fell as I was scrambling up to the summit.

Because this trail is so steep going down is no cake walk. You are constantly holding all of your body weight up with your keens bent trying not to slide down the trail. Since I got a late start I was also slowed down on my way back to the car by darkness. It was interesting to hike back in the dark and the fog with a head lamp. I felt like I should have fog lights on my boots.

The Suunto Vector wristop computer (watch with compass, altimeter, barometer, etc) I was given for my birthday last year really came in handy on this hike. Since it is all up hill it was nice to keep track of my elevation gain using my watch.

(April 15, 2004; up-2:35, down-1:55)

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4:20 PM, the adventure begins. I'm about 1000 feet from the top. Notice there is no fresh snow on the rocks. That is about to change. I was expecting to find a mailbox at the top, but, I wasn't expecting a memorial to September 11, 2001. All of the snow in this picture fell as I was hiking up the last 1000 feet. The right side of my pack got covered in snow during the hike up.
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All of this stuff had to be carried up by someone. Someone who could not only get them self up the 3926 feet elevation gain but also these bulky and heavy items. That is a real fire hydrant! The tripod I brought up and the self timer on the camera really came in handy for this picture. Let's see was is in the mail box.
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No 2003 US tax returns in the mailbox, but, there was several Dr. Sues books and a few journals. I didn't really have time to look through the contents because my hands were freezing from all of the snow and the wind. This was amazing. This looks to be a real metal fire hydrant. A message was welded on to the hydrant in memory of those who lost theirs lives in the September 11th attacks. I got back to my car at 9:02 PM. It was pretty dark and the moon was hidden by the thick clouds.

Click on a thumbnail above to see a larger version of the picture.

The pictures in this gallery were taken with a Nikon D70 Digital SLR camera. Any use of these pictures without permission from the photographer is strictly prohibited. Email me to request permission to use any of these pictures or if you would like a higher resolution version.