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Mailbox Peak

Posted by joeabbott on September 23, 2008

I have a few notes from hikes and climbs I’ve done this year that I’ll be posting. Not sure how far back I’ll go, but I have a reasonable backlog from this year so I’ll post those. Here’s one I hiked on 6/11/2008.


Just a quick trail report for Mailbox Peak.


Yesterday I got off work around 4 PM and knowing that my weekend will be spent on a road trip, decided to put in a little tougher “after work hike”. Mailbox Peak is pretty good for that.


I took off from the parked car at 4:47 PM, met a group of four young kids coming off the mountain (who no doubt looked and my shorts, short sleeved shirt, and no gaiters and wondered if I had any right to be on the hike), and started up. Rumor from one of them was that weekend snow dumped a bit on the higher part of the hill but nothing the posed any danger.


The trail is a morass on the lower parts and relents to a mire along the way. I nostalgically thought back on summer-time hikes (wait, isn’t it coming on mid-June?!?!) when my feet would slip out from under me while negotiating the sandy sections. Regardless, with a bit of care you can pick out a fairly clean route and my lack of gaiters didn’t cause any problems. Staying “clean” did slow me up a bit as I was being “dainty” … which is a sight as I’m a 220# guy.


About mid-way up I passed a couple under heavy load who were training for something or other. I was winded so didn’t get many more details and all they got was a “thanks” as they let me pass. The snow was all but gone from any part of the trail and any dusting from a weekend snow was relegated to small piles here and there in shrubs off to the side. At the base of the large rock slide\pile below the summit mound you will still need to move over snow unless you opt to boulder hop the field. I chose the snow as the rocks were wet and slick-looking.


Above this you hit the narrow, steep run to the mailbox at the top. The trail is clear, easy to follow, and the steps are solid. I hit the top around 6:30, enjoyed some smashed up PopTarts that have been in my food bag for too long, and then started down. The wind was brisk and I had to stop for a real hat and gloves (I’d just pulled a fleece jacket over my head and upper body during my break) but the temps weren’t really cold. Just my hands and head (the penalty for being bald)!


At the base of the rock slide\pile I bumped into the couple heading up and they confirmed they were training. I stole into the woods from there and had to work hard to keep to the trail. Since I’ve last been there, someone’s posted a bunch of reflectors on the trees marking the route … very nice! Considering if was still early enough, it was odd as light was dim in the trees. I didn’t realize it was such a thick canopy.


The trip back was uneventful although I did lose my footing once … a step down, a mud-covered root, and me on my butt. As I had done a bit of sweating, my soaked bandana helped to clean things up but anytime I lose my feet, I always throttle back, wonder if I should really be where I’m at, and redouble my efforts to move safely through the terrain. Happily, I got back to the car without another mishap.


I got to the car precisely at 7:47 … and was tickled that I made it in three hours exactly from the time I took off. While it’s a good hike and no real challenges, I wasn’t a fan of the mud. While I wasn’t too bad back at the car, it’ll take a putty knife and sandblasting equipment to clean up my boots. But that will have to wait until I get back from my Canadian weekend. J


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