It was time for a calorie burn after Thanksgiving, so my wife Linna, niece Chloe Wei and my good friend Matt Kerby hiked up Mailbox Peak via the old trail two days after stuffing our face with roasted duck, lamb and cold Chinese sliced beef.
Rick Freeman, Chloe Wei & Linna Freeman enjoying the peak of Mailbox Peak.
The famous Mailbox Peak
We ascended and descended the old trail (red)…4,000 feet up in 2.5 miles. I have descended the new trail (blue) a couple of times, but the 5 miles one way down seems to take forever. My knees are tender and some of the larger step-downs send agonizing jolts of pain on the 2.5 miles old trail, but I will bear the pain to forsake the extended 5 miles.
Linna wanted to complete another fall color hike before the season was over and from the WTA trip reports, Granite Mountain was reaching full peak. We met up with Mike Curry at the trail-head at sunrise and got an early start on the hike knowing that it was going to be a busy day on the mountain…especially on a beautiful fall sunny day.
The reports were accurate, vibrant fall colors decorated the mountain. Near the pond area and the back side were abundant with thick flamboyant fall leaves. We had lunch near the look-out tower huddle by some of rocks to protect us from the chilly wind.
On the decent we ran into hordes of hikers seeking the same pictures we took. Chloe Wei, Rick Freeman and Mike Curry enjoying another hiking day.
Rick Freeman & Mike Curry
The colors we were seeking…..near the pond.
Mike Curry, Linna Freeman and Rick Freeman loving Granite Mountain
My good friend Jim Darmiento ask me to join him and two other friends on a four day/three night backpacking trip that actually turned into a three day/two night backpacking trip.
We started that the Dosewallips trail-head via the River Road…also known as the gateway to the eastern Olympic Mountains. The River Road is wide gravel road good for bikes and horses and it was a great way to warm the legs up with 38 lb. pack before picking up elevation gain. After walking pass the Elkhorn campground we finally started to ascend upon the river valley.
After about 9 miles or so the first day we made camp at the Dose Forks camp. The camp was pretty full, but a couple who was only having lunch gave up a nice spot so we sit-up our single man tents. AJ brought along some whisky, but it didn’t take long for the four of us to finish it off. We all slept pretty well the first night.Our before picture at Dosewallips River Road, only 40 miles to go. Paul Shinners, AJ Soule, Jim Darmiento and Rick Freeman
We set up our single man tents at the Dose Forks camp. When our group first got here, there was no tent spots open. Luckily, an young couple were sitting on the log (in background) having lunch and asked if we were looking for a spot to pitch our tent and it was like “oh hell yes”.
Jim and I in the hut at Camp Siberia. It down poured through-out the night….we stayed dry under the shelter.
Third day at Anderson Pass.
We finished our third day and last day with 19 miles with wet backpacks at Graves Creek Campground. Total trip was 40 miles! I want to thank Paul for carrying my .45 caliber Kimber gun on the last long leg.
My first time in Scotland was 3 years ago when I completed the 3 Peak Challenge with friends and we started near Fort Williams hiking Ben Nevus for our first peak. It was my wife Linna that wanted to make her first trip to Scotland with a focus on the Skye area.
Mailbox Peak Date: January 1, 2018 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, Tao Song and my Wonder Dog Macho
New Years Day Gang
Sunny Mailbox Day
Another Wander Junkie Sticker
Linna Wei On Summit
Freeman Almost There
Another new year and another Mailbox Peak on New Year’s Day.
Little Saint Helens Date: November 5, 2017 Difficulty: 5 out of 10 Distance: 7 miles roundtrip Elevation Gain: 1,200 feet Time: 4 to 5 hours Location: Exit 47, I-90 Users Group: Hikers & Dogs Only Permits: Discovery Pass Required Trail Conditions: Packed Snow Hiking With: Linna Freeman, Matt Kerby and my Wonderdog Macho
Rick & Linna Freeman
Matt Kerby’s Trail Blazer
Kerby & Freeman
Freeman Making Tracks
This was a wonderful way to spend a Friday in the mountains.
Date: July 22, 2013 Difficulty: 7 out of 10 Distance: 8.6 miles roundtrip Elevation Gain: 3,875 Feet Time: 4 to 5 hours Location: Near Verlot, Washington (Mountain Loop Highway) Users Group: Hikers & Dogs Only Permits: Northwest Forest Pass Trail Conditions: Dry To One Patch Of Snow Hiking with: Linna Freeman, Matt Kerby, Craig Schilling & Macho the Wonderdog
My Heart Rate
Freeman On Top
Can You Find Me?
Linna, Rick & Craig
The Man – The Pose
This was supposed to be our third sunrise hike, but the low clouds made it impossible to see the sunrise. The last time I was on top of Mt. Dickerman was early June 4 years ago with a lot of snow, today’s hike was snow free. We made the summit in 2 1/2 hours with a couple of tents perched on top….our group woke them.
We hung on top for 45 minutes to take all of those non-sunrise pictures, but even without the sunrise you have a 360 view of sheer beauty. On the way down we started to run into those Saturday morning hikers and the lot was full by the time we got back to our car at 8:30 a.m.
Camp Muir Date: July 12, 2017 Difficulty: 9 out of 10 Distance: 9 Miles / 14.5 Kilometers Round-trip Elevation Gain: 4,700 Feet / 1,433 Meters Time: 6 to 7 hours Location: Near Ashford, Washington Users Group: Hikers / Climbers Only Permits: National Park Pass Trail Conditions: Dry to Snowpack Hiking With: Matt Kerby
Approaching Camp Muir
Just Getting Started
Helicopter Hauling Trash
Marmots In Heat
Marmots Getting It On
Kerby & Freeman
Camp Muir In The Background
6:30 A.M. In The Parking Lot
The last time I hiked up to Camp Muir was 4 years ago so it was time to knock it off again. Plus…I was looking for something big to do locally for my 57th birthday. I asked my good friend Matt Kerby to join me on my birthday hike. I picked up Matt in Bellevue at 4:00 a.m. and we made it to the Paradise Parking lot by 6:15 a.m. There was only maybe 12 to 15 vehicles in the upper parking lot…good timing on our part.
We started at 6:50 on Skyline Trail and finally hit constant snow near Glacier Vista where we ended up putting on our hiking spikes. I have been using these mini-crampons for most of my winter hiking, but I will probably bring my full size crampons next time for extra grip on the Camp Muir snowfield.
This was maybe my 10th time on Muir and it’s always the same…tough and real tough. I always pick sunny days for the photos and safety factor, but with sun brings heat and sunburns. I was wearing full length pants and a long sleeve shirt to reduce the need to lather up on sunscreen all over except for my face.
Matt and I are both strong hikers but it still took us 3 hours and 45 minutes to reach Camp Muir, we wasn’t in a hurry and we took many water/snack breaks along the way. We took our time on top…lunching, bullshitting and taking random photos. The climbing teams must have hired a helicopter to haul trash/empty fuel canisters…it was cool to see a copter up a 10,000 foot mountain.
We got back to the car in 2 ½ hours and left the parking lot around 2:30 p.m. We skipped the Paradise Inn beer because I told Matt that Linna wouldn’t be happy if I didn’t get back home by 5:30 p.m. She was having my birthday dinner at the house with 2 other couples. Well…I had no idea that she was throwing me a surprise birthday party and Matt was in on it. Matt made sure he was keeping me on track for time…there was a bunch of people at the house waiting for us.
Scorpion Mountain Date: July 4, 2017 Difficulty: 6 out of 10 Distance: 8 miles / 12.9 Kilometers round-trip Elevation Gain: 2,650 feet / 808 meters Time: 5 to 6 hours Location: Near Skykomish, Washington Users Group: Hikers & Dogs Only Permits: Northwest Forest Pass Required Trail Conditions: Dry to a few snow patches on summit Hiking With: Linna Freeman, Rick Freeman, Matt Kerby, Craig Schilling, Tao Song & Macho
Valley Of Lillies
Beautiful Mt. Stuart
Last Bit Of Snow
Scorpion Mountain Location
Vast Amounts Of Wild Bells
For our July 4th celebration we started our day hiking a new trail off of highway 2 near Skykomish, Washington. I usually hike the I-90 hikes out of Seattle, but when I invite my wife I know it’s a pre-requisite to come up with a new hike to entice her to come out. Scorpion Mountain was a new hike for us and we were blessed with a sunny warm July 4th without the crowd. We invited our good friends Matt Kerby, Craig Schilling and Tao Song to share this quiet beautiful hike.
This is not your typical off the exit I-90 hike, it takes some driving time and effort. After getting off of highway 2, you have 7 miles of a narrow paved road onto a narrower overgrown dirt-road for another 6 miles up the mountain. We only had two groups ahead of us when we started, but managed to pass them to have full access to the summit to ourselves. This hike has a gain of 2,500 feet, but after reaching the Sunrise Mountain you descend over 200 feet to only ascend again to summit Scorpion…making this trek a bit more difficult.
Before reaching the summit of glacier lilies and a couple of large mounds of snow you get to hike through a mature forest and alpine meadows. You have a 360 view on top with Glacier Peak, Spire, El Capitan and the top of Rainier showing.
Linna and I ended our hike with some delicious Korean BBQ at Blue Ginger in Bellevue, Washington.