Mailbox Peak!

Finally put some pictures up. Check out our awesome hike up to Mailbox Peak May 26th, 2012! 100 times harder than my hike to Rattlesnake Ridge earlier this year. From the Washington Trails Association:

Wimpy hikers, turn the page. This trail offers nothing for you but pain and heartbreak. If you think you’ve got the goods to scramble up more than 1000 feet per mile, read on. Mailbox Peak brings a serious burn to the thighs of even the best-conditioned athletes, but the rewards make it all worthwhile. From the top of this jutting lump of rock, you’ll enjoy spectacular views of the lower Snoqualmie River valleys. The entire Issaquah Alps range sprawls at your feet, with the rocky-topped Mount Si directly across the Middle Fork Valley and the sheer wall of Rattlesnake Ledge just across the South Fork Valley. After soaking in the views, pull the summit register out and leave your signature–you’ll find the tattered pages of a notebook in an old metal mailbox wedged above the summit rocks.

The trail leaves the road and turns near vertical, climbing ever-more steeply over the next 2.5 miles–the first 0.5 mile of road walking gains only a few hundred feet of elevation, leaving about 3800 feet for the last 2.5 miles. That means you’ll be climbing about 1500 feet per mile, and most hikers consider anything over 1000 feet per mile to be steep!

The first mile of climbing makes use of a few switchbacks–though a few more would moderate the pitch more reasonably. From there on, turns and twists become fewer and farther between. The trail climbs with ruthless focus–to get to the top in as direct a line as possible. As you move above 4000 feet, the forest falls away, the views open, and all pretense of switchbacks disappears. You’ll now be scrambling up steep, open hillsides. An old forest fire scoured the slope here, removing the tree cover but making space for a wonderful mix of heather, beargrass, and dense huckleberry thickets.

Finally, after one last scramble through the rocky crown around the summit, you’re there, standing beside the battered mailbox on the top of Mailbox Peak. After you catch your breath, pat yourself on the back–because if you’re on the summit, you’ve conquered perhaps the most difficult hike in [Seattle]!

Yu Live, Yu Hike

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