Mailbox Peak Sunrise Hike, July 2017

Mailbox Peak
Date: July 30, 2017
Difficulty: 9 out of 10
Distance: 5.3 miles / 8.4 Kilometers round-trip
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: Linna Freeman, Matt Kerby, Craig Schilling and my Wonderdog Macho

My third trip to the famous Mailbox Peak and my fourth sunrise hike this year. Linna and I woke up at 1:15 a.m. this morning to meet Matt Kerby and Craig Schilling at the Mailbox Peak lower parking lot at 2:45 a.m. and started hiking the old trail at 3:04 a.m.

If you think it’s tough staying on the trail during the day, it’s worse in middle of night. Craig got a little behind in the group and found himself off-trail so he started hiking straight up to our lights that was illuminating from our headlamps. The white diamonds sporadically located in the trees came in useful…they would shine like stars once your headlamp hit them.

We made it up in 2 1/2 hours and even had to wait for the sun to show it’s face. We had the summit, sunrise and the mailbox to ourselves until we had our fill. We headed back the same way as we came up…old trail baby. I have descended the new longer trail and it just feels forever and I rather get the pain over with on the shorter steep old trail.

Mailbox Peak Hike, April 2017

Mailbox Peak
Date: April 22, 2017
Difficulty: 9 out of 10
Distance: 5 miles round-trip
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: Mike Curry, Matt Kerby, Craig Schilling and my dog Macho

This will be the second time this year I conquered the Mailbox.

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.

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, 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.

Mailbox Peak Hike, August 2013

Mailbox Peak
Date: August 9, 2013
Difficulty: 9 out of 10
Distance: 5 Miles / 8 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: Rick Massie and Macho my wonder dog

This is my second time this year I knocked of the famous thigh pounding Mailbox Peak. If you are looking for a personal challenge or conditioning training, the Mailbox Peak goo.gl/y3ANNn is the hike for you.

The new paved parking lot is open now, which is nice to be able to put on or take off your gear and not stand in gravel, dirt or mud. I don’t think most people know that the parking lot is open or even exist; people are still parking in the old dirt lot. The new 5 mile trail hasn’t opened yet, but when it does…I want to be one of the first to utilize it.

Rick and I made it up less than two hours, which is pretty good for a very hot day. Macho my dog wonder was struggling with the heat and we found him hiding in bushes at times to hide from the intense sun. I had no water left for the last hour of the hike and I was pretty dehydrated; I must have drank two quarts of water from the creek at the bottom. We decided to hydrate ourselves at our normal watering hole…North Bend Bar & Grille.

Mailbox Peak Hike, May 2013

Mailbox Peak
Date: May 24, 2013
Difficulty: 9 out of 10
Distance: 5 Miles / 8 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: Damp to Muddy
Hiking With: Me and my wonder dog Macho

The last time I hiked up Mailbox Peak was in November so I was overdue for some thigh pounding punishing pain. There were only 5 cars in the old parking lot when I arrived, the new parking lot is not open yet. They (DNR) have installed new gates and added new asphalt to the new parking lot since my last visit in November. They also added a sign at the new trailhead stating that the new trail will be 5 miles up to the mailbox and will be open in the fall. My first thought was “oh hell yes”, what great news for my knees and legs because I will continue to hike the old steep trail up and descend on the new 5 mile trail.

By the time I reached the Mailbox, I had it to myself. Of course, like all my hikes this year…..it was so damn cloudy I had no view. I changed shirts, choked down a energy bar and headed back down. I managed to make my 2:00 p.m. acupuncture appointment with Dr. Wang in Bellevue.

Mailbox Peak Hike, November 2012

Mailbox Peak
Date: November 9, 2012
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: Me and my dog Macho

It’s hard to find friends on a Friday to hike the steep Mailbox Peak, so I was solo today with my wonder dog Macho. The last time I was up at the Mailbox was five months ago and between hikes the State of Washington started on a new easier trail. Due to numerous people getting lost or beyond their skill set, there have been numerous rescues. There is also a new large asphalt parking lot with trailhead toilets.

When I first started this hike back in 2002, there was only a toothbrush that was hanging from a tree that marked the trail. The small gravel parking lot would only have two to three cars at the most. You could always count on Mailbox Peak to be free of the casual hikers that congest the neighboring Mt. Si peak. I am worried that this new easier trail will attract those casual hikers and the Mailbox becomes the next Mt. Si.

Macho and I made it up in good time, 1 ½ hours up…it might be my best time yet. The trail was dry to damp to a little frozen on top.

Mailbox Peak Hike, May 2012

Mailbox Peak
Date: May 18, 2012
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 (new for this hike)
Trail Conditions: Dry
Hiking With: Rick Massie and my dog Macho

With the warm weather we have been having lately, I figured some of the I-90 trails are starting to open up with all the snow melt. I read one report on Mailbox Peak from the Washington Trails Association (WTA) last week stating that it was pretty much snowless to the mailbox….so I decided on this hike.

I asked Rick Massie to join me on this death march; I didn’t want to have all the fun by myself! As we were getting our gear on in the mailbox parking lot, a couple of guys were coming down the trail from summiting, it was only 7:45 a.m. and they just completed 5 miles of steepness! One of them showed a picture they took at the top; it was a beautiful sunrise shot. The picture gave me a mental boost knowing that I had a stunning view waiting for me.

Rick and I made good time only briefly stopping for water and to give our lungs a break. We got into the clouds about 2 miles up and broke out of them once we hit the top. It was a beautiful day with clouds and snow covered mountains around us. We spent nearly 45 minutes at the mailbox daydreaming and resting our legs.

We ended our agony down at the North Bend Bar & Grill with a warm bowl of Jambalaya and a cold Mac & Jacks African Amber.

Mailbox Peak Hike, January 2012

Mailbox Peak
Date: January 7, 2012
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 (new for this hike)
Trail Conditions: Damp to Packed Snow (only on top)
Hiking With: Rick Massie and my dog Macho

I was due for a brutal hike and Mailbox Peak was the fix. I asked Rick Massie to join me on this steep but short hike. We met up at Starbucks in North Bend, Washington and got started at 10:00 a.m. at the trailhead. There was only 6 cars in the parking lot, which meant there wasn’t a lot of people on the hike today….as it should be! The trail was good up to the opening, where it became packed snow. I was happy to see an inch or two on top of the ice, if not…it would have been difficult. Right before the opening, we put on our gators and mini-spikes. We made good time to the peak where it was cloudy, but no wind. We spent 15 minutes changing out our wet clothes and munching down some food.

The descent was the usual beating of the legs and knees and we both agreed, it’s almost easier to hike up than coming down. Rick Massie had a date later that day, so we had to make the stop at North Bend Bar & Grill short.

Mailbox Peak Hike, May 2011

Mailbox Peak
Date: May 20, 2011
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: No Permits Required
Trail Conditions: Dry to Packed Snow (only on top)
Hiking With: my dog Macho

I knew it was going to be a sunny warm day and I wanted a big work-out so I chose Mailbox Peak.  It was such a nice day, we hit our first 70 degree day this year…it was a perfect hiking day.  Since I was only hiking with my fearless dog Macho and I had all day to hike, I casually loaded up and got to the trailhead around 9:45 a.m.  There was five cars in the parking lot when I drove up….which meant there were only a few people on the trail. 

The trail was pretty much dry until you came out on the first opening on top, there was packed snow which wasn’t that bad to hike on.  The rock field was free of snow, but most people were taking the thick snow to the north of the rocks.  After the rocks, the trail to the top was free of snow until you reached the top, which had so much snow, there was no signs of the Mailbox.  I found a dry rock and took my boots off and shared a Starbuck’s turkey sandwich with Macho.  It was such a beautiful day, I sat on top for nearly a hour.  On the way down, I was feeling the Mt. Si hike I did two days earlier…my legs were tired and stiff.  At the bottom, I stopped at the creek to wash the mud off of Macho and rinsed the sweat from my face and hair.  On the way home I stopped for a 9 Pound porter at the North Bend Bar & Grill.

Mailbox Peak Hike, March 2011

Mailbox Peak
Date: March 6, 2011
Difficulty: 9 out of 10
Distance: 5 miles roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 4,000
Time: 4 to 5 hours
Location: Near North Bend, Washington
Users Group: Hikers & Dogs Only
Permits: No Permits Required
Trail Conditions: Muddy to Packed Snow
Hiking With: Rick Massie

I wasn’t for sure if was going to hike this morning as I lay in bed, so I didn’t plan where I was going or talked to anyone to go with me.  The weather looked decent, so I decided to rally and send out a text to any friends that might want to hike up the steep Mailbox Peak with me.  Only one friend found time this moring and decided to join me on this death march.  I met Rick Massie at the Starbucks in North Bend and we took one car to the trailhead.  As we pulled up, there were no parking spots available and so we had to park along the road.  When I first started hiking Mailbox about 10 years ago, you would only see one or two cars at the trailhead; the word must have gotten out about the 360 view and the challenging trail it offers.

We started with gators due to the snow and slowly made our way to the top.  I had brought my crampons, but left them in the car….that was stupid, I could have used them the the first mile.  Rick was struggling after the 1/2 mile mark, he did a leg work out in the gym the day before…that was stupid.  After a snack and sun break on top, we headed back in the deep snow.  Instead of staying on the pack snow trail, we leaned back and slowing descended straight down the mountain.  This was a life savor for my knees, I couldn’t tell I even hiked the next day.