Holy smokes it’s time. We’ve reached the climax of our training. The crux of our hikes. The hardest one of them all. At least until we get to Rainier. Mailbox Peak is practically legend in these parts. Hikers mention it with awe and fear. People speak of it in hushed tones. Ok, maybe not that extreme. But at 4000ft of elevation gain over only 2.5 miles, this hike is no joke.
There’s a warning at the trailhead informing everyone that the trail is steep and not well maintained. Respect your own abilities.
This isn’t a bad idea, right? We’ll be fine!
The trail doesn’t start too steep, but soon we’re in the thick of it, scrambling over tree roots and hoping to not lose the path. There are white markers up in the trees every so often to let you know you’re going the right way.
Due to the strenuous nature of this hike, (and the fact that it’s all in the trees and there’s not much to see) I don’t take many pictures on the way up.
The trail is in pretty good shape with only a few muddy spots. Finally we break out of the trees. It’s HOT! The last 900ft is a scramble up the hill in the full sun. We’re so close!
At last, we’ve arrived!
People leave all sorts of trinkets in the mailbox and can take whatever strikes their fancy. There’s also a log book somewhere in there you can sign upon summiting.
It’s busy up here today!
Someone even brought a drone. It sounds like a beehive swarming down on us.
We don’t stay very long at the top. The last two weeks have been cold and rainy, today it’s too hot and exposed. I guess we’re just never satisfied! The trip down is even more tricky than going up. My knees aren’t great, so I stop to take lots of photos to rest them. So sneaky.
A couple years ago, a new trail opened that is twice as long as the old trail, allowing for a much more gradual ascent/descent. Since we wanted a good workout, we took the old trail up, but to save our knees we take the new trail down. While I know this is the better choice, it seems like the route is never ending. We’re both in quite a bit of pain by the time we finally reach the car that I’m not even sure how I’ll drive home. I remember this feeling from the last time I did this hike, too. Mailbox, I’m glad to say I’ve hiked you, but I hope to never see you again (but I’ve said that before).