Mailbox Peak Hike, October 2016

Mailbox Peak
Date: October 30, 2016
Difficulty: 9 out of 10
Distance: 5 miles roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 4,000 feet
Time: 4 to 5 hours
Location: Near North Bend, Washington
Users Group: Hikers & Dogs Only
Permits: Discovery Pass
Trail Conditions: Dry
Hiking With: My Wife Linna Wei & our Wonder Dog Macho

Linna and I decided to get Macho out for some fall weather hiking.

Rim To Rim Hike, September 2016

Epic North Rim to South Rim hike all in one day with my wife Linna and 7 other good friends.

Enchantment Thru Hike, July 2016

Enchantments
Date: July 16, 2016
Difficulty: 9.5 out of 10
Distance: 19 miles / 30.6 Kilometers roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 4,500 feet / 1,371 meters
Time: 10 to 13 hours
Location: Near Leavenworth, Washington
Users Group: Hikers & Dogs Only
Permits: Northwest Forest Pass
Trail Conditions: Dry to Packed Snow
Hiking With: Linna Freeman & Yun Ling

This year my wife and I hiked Colchuck Lake and two weeks later hiked Snow Lakes…both of these hikes will lead you into the magical place called the Enchantments near Leavenworth, Washington. A bunch of our friends applied for a summer camping permit to the Enchantment Basin back in February but all of us were denied.

So my wife and I did the next best thing…a very long day hike through the Enchantments. You have three choices to experience the Enchantment basin in one day, hike there from Colchuck Lake which is probably the easiest, but you will have to ascend and descend the very steep Aasgard Pass. Or the ever long grueling Snow Lakes trail with 6,500 feet gain and over 15 miles of hiking. Since Linna and I already completed both hikes, we decided to start from Colchuck Lake trailhead and end our day at the Snow Lakes trailhead…a grueling 19 miles thru hike in one day.

We were joined by Yun Ling, he was looking for something bold for his 48th birthday (he found it). We dropped my Audi at the Snow Lakes trailhead and Yun Ling’s wife dropped us off at the Stuart Lake trailhead. We started around 7:00 a.m., a much later start time than I wanted and totally recommend starting at day break or earlier.

Hiking to Colchuck Lake was a breeze, we made it to the lake in 1 hour 45 minutes. When we were taking a photo break and chatting with fellow hikers we heard some thunderstorm type noise and when we looked up we witnessed our first avalanche experience. A river of snow aggressively running down from the top of the Colchuck peak wiping away huge boulders and finally stopping before it reached the lake.

The easy part was over and the toughest part of our journey was just beginning. Hiking up Aasgard peak is a steep lung busting scramble with loose rocks. This short ascent is less than a mile but you gain over 2,200 feet topping at the summit at 7,800 feet. We ended up stopping so many times for photo ops that we ended up coming down in the dark, it was 9:30 p.m. by the time we got back to our car.

Mount Teneriffe Hike, June 2016

Mount Teneriffe
Date: June 8, 2016
Difficulty: 8 out of 10
Distance: 11 miles / 17.7 Kilometers roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 3,840 feet / 1170 meters
Time: 5 to 6 hours
Location: Exit 32, I-90 Near North Bend, Washington
Users Group: Hikers & Dogs Only
Permits: Discovery Pass
Trail Conditions: Dry
Hiking With: Matt Kerby and my wonderdog Macho

I wasted a day of vacation so I could wake up at 3:45 a.m. on a Wednesday and purposely trash my legs and pound my heart into submission while hiking Mount Teneriffe. This hike will kick your ass every time and maybe it’s the reason I only do it once a year. But if you are looking for a colossal work-out 30 minutes from Seattle with 360 views…then Mount Teneriffe is it.

My friend Matt Kerby joined me on this thigh burner hike, this was his first time and Mr. Teneriffe showed him what trails are made of. We took the short route up via the Kamikaze Falls then followed the ridgeline to the summit. To save on the knees we descended the long “old” logging road down. I guess I will have to quit calling it a logging road as of last year Department of Natural Resources actually created a trail by bringing the edges in with an excavator. They have done an exceptional job of creating a real trail from the 7 mile logging road.

We made good time to the summit and we didn’t have to share it either. In fact I was telling Matt that I never had to share this summit with anyone in the 10 years of hiking this mountain. You might see 1 or 2 people on Mt. Tenerife on a weekday, but one mile away you will see 20 to 30 on Mt. Si.

Snow Lakes Hike, May 2016

Snow Lakes
Date: May 29, 2016
Difficulty: 8 out of 10
Distance: 14 miles roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 4,400 feet
Time: 5 to 6 hours
Location: Near Leavenworth, Washington
Users Group: Hikers Only
Permits: Northwest Forest Pass
Trail Conditions: Dry To Some Snowy Spots
Hiking With: Linna Freeman

My wife Linna convinced me to wake up 4:00 a.m. and drive back to the Leavenworth, Washington area for our third straight weekend to hike the Snow Lakes goo.gl/JfnpaA. This hike was actually discourage from a few of my wife’s friends, but the Seattle area was forecasting rain and the Leavenworth area was looking sunny and we were looking for a long hike to test our legs for an upcoming Rim to Rim hike in September at the Grand Canyon.

We had a beautiful sunny day to hike the long valley to the lakes. On the descent, it seemed the trail would never end….our legs were like noodles.

Mailbox Peak Hike, April 2016

Mailbox Peak
Date: April 1, 2016
Difficulty: 9 out of 10
Distance: 7.5 Miles / 12 Kilometers Roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 4,000 feet / 1,219 Meters
Time: 5 to 6 hours
Location: Near North Bend, Washington
Users Group: Hikers & Dogs Only
Permits: Discovery Pass
Trail Conditions: Dry to Snow Packed On Top
Hiking With: My wonder dog Macho

I am not sure what draws me back to the Mailbox goo.gl/g3sZMt …is it the pain and torture that this hike brings upon me or is it the feeling of complete accomplishment when I finally reach the summit. This is my second time this year that I had my picture taken with the famous Mailbox and I am sure I will see this peak a few more times before the year is up.

My wonderdog Macho accompanied on this ruthless march to the top via the old route and then took advantage of the longer trail down…a little easier on my old knees. I made it to the Mailbox in 1 hour and 41 minutes, but took my time descending the long route in 2 hours and 41 minutes.

I am always dumbfounded how many new people attempt to reach the mailbox now because of the new easier (longer) route. On my descent the only people I met was first-timers to Mailbox Peak, I bet most of these people have no clue about the old route. The new route is mind-numbing and tiresome, no way would I utilize this new trail hiking up.

Mailbox Peak Hike, January 2016

Mailbox Peak
Date: January 16, 2016
Difficulty: 9 out of 10
Distance: 7.5 Miles / 12 Kilometers Roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 4,000 feet / 1,219 Meters
Time: 5 to 6 hours
Location: Near North Bend, Washington
Users Group: Hikers & Dogs Only
Permits: Discovery Pass
Trail Conditions: Wet to Snow Packed
Hiking With: My wonder dog Macho.

I chose a nasty winter day to hike Mailbox Peak for the first time in 2016, but I was needing an ass kicking hike without avalanche endangerment. After reading a trip report the day before I was a bit hesitant when I reach the open field of boulders and it was spitting snow and ice. I met a couple of guys coming down the summit and they gave me thumbs up on avalanche conditions. So I continued my ascent in blizzard like conditions with my wonder dog Macho.

Macho and I were the second group to summit and I took my first mailbox picture for the year. There were two other groups coming up when I was descending down, they too came up the old steep route.

I took the new long route down crossing paths of many ill equipped hikers coming up, including a guy wearing a pair of running shoes and shorts. He had no traction devices, poles or even a backpack on his back for dry clothes. I would say the 10 or so people coming up the new long route didn’t make the summit. Most all bonafide hikers or hikers that have summited Mailbox Peak before will always ascend the short steep route.

Mailbox Peak Hike, August 2015

Mailbox Peak
Date: August 7, 2015
Difficulty: 9 out of 10
Distance: 7.5 Miles / 12 Kilometers Roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 4,000 feet / 1,219 Meters
Time: 4 to 5 hours
Location: Near North Bend, Washington
Users Group: Hikers & Dogs Only
Permits: Discovery Pass
Trail Conditions: Dry
Hiking With: Maxime Tissier and my wonder dog Macho.

This was the third time this year I conquered the famous mailbox peak, but this time I invited a newbie on this heart pounding steep hike. My new recruit was Maxime Tissier, a young French man visiting here on a college exchange student program.

Currently the road to Mailbox is undergoing major road work so the trail doesn’t open up until noon on Fridays. We started up the old steep trail around 12:30 and made good time passing all the people that started before us. We were the first ones to the top so we had the Mailbox to ourselves. After a few pictures and some lunch we headed down the long dreaded 5 mile “easy” route down.

Since traffic back to Seattle was horrendous, we made a pit stop at the North Bend Bar & Grille for a couple of Mac-n-Jacks. Once we made it through traffic and back home, a quick shower was in order. My wife Linna, Maxine and I drove to our favorite Korean restaurant Miraks in Federal Way, Washington for some delicious Korean BBQ.

Mailbox Peak Hike, April 2015

Mailbox Peak
Date: April 24, 2015
Difficulty: 9 out of 10
Distance: 7.5 Miles / 12 Kilometers Roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 4,000 feet / 1,219 Meters
Time: 4 to 5 hours
Location: Near North Bend, Washington
Users Group: Hikers & Dogs Only
Permits: Discovery Pass
Trail Conditions: Wet to Snow-packed
Hiking With: Sam Elder, Rick Massie & my dog Macho

The last time I hiked up Mailbox Peak goo.gl/y3ANNn was pretty much the same conditions, wet with blowing sleet on top. Today’s hike actually turned out better than the forecast which was calling for rain all day. We started around 8:00 a.m. on the old steep trail with cloudy skies, but no rain until we hit the top and it started sleeting some.

I invited my friend Sam Elder to join Rick Massie and myself on this brutalizing journey to the famous Mailbox Peak 34 miles East of Seattle. Sam hasn’t hiked in a couple of years and he had no idea what he was getting himself into, but he made it to the summit with only a few hesitations along the way.

Right before we started up the last steep part out in the open we changed out into dry shirts and left our backpacks behind for a quicker scramble to the mailbox. After a few pictures we descended down the new long 5 mile route. I have now descended twice on the new trail and again it just feels forever, but it still trumps the knee pounding old steep trail.

Mailbox Peak Hike, December 2014

Mailbox Peak
Date: December 27, 2014
Difficulty: 9 out of 10
Distance: 7.5 Miles / 12 Kilometers Roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 4,000 feet / 1,219 Meters
Time: 4 to 5 hours
Location: Near North Bend, Washington
Users Group: Hikers & Dogs Only
Permits: Discovery Pass
Trail Conditions: Wet to Snow-packed
Hiking With: Paul Bates, Carl Brandt, Gustav Brandt, Mike Curry, Emelie Espling and Rick Massie

My friend Emelie Espling had two friends from Sweden visiting and I thought I would introduce them to the thigh pounding Mailbox Peak. The last time I hiked the Mailbox goo.gl/y3ANNn was a year ago August with Rick Massie so I was past due for some grueling physical exertion. Our group consisted of Paul Bates, Mike Curry, Emelie Espling, Rick Massie, Carl and Gustav Brandt from Sweden.

The new trail wasn’t open the last time I was here so I was looking forward to the new 5 mile trail on the descent to save on the knees. The young men from Sweden was quick to take off and we eventually saw them again about 100 yards from the Mailbox on their descent. The last 1000 feet of elevation was snow packed with blizzard like conditions on the final push to the summit.

Kudos to the many WTA volunteers that constructed the new 5 mile route to the top, but after seeing the many ill equipped “tourist” hikers in their running shoes I think Mailbox Peak will see more rescues. The majority people that came up the new easy route didn’t have the proper gear to summit this intimidating peak and only putting themselves and others at risk. I first started hiking Mailbox Peak 13 years ago when there was only a toothbrush marking the trailhead; you only came across bonafide hikers and many climbers training for Mount Rainier, sadly WTA has created another Mt. Si.

Our group took the new longer route down which was nice on the legs but it seemed to go on forever! We ended our hike in a heavy downpour and eventually found ourselves at the North Bend Bar & Grill for cold beers and warm grub.