Mailbox Mountain on March 4, 2012

An Amazing Winter Hike

On Highway 18 we were noticing how low the clouds were.

Approaching North Bend the cliffs of Mount Si cut through the cloud cover.

The summit of Mount Si is obscured, but Little Si has a little sunshine lighting it up.

Mailbox Mountain is above the blue sign where the tree tops are.

Exit 43 is mostly a truck stop. Ahead is the road to the Middle Fork of the Snoqualmie River.

A short drive through some furry maple trees.

We park around the corner. When we walk up to where those clouds are, we can fool ourselves that we're a quarter of the way.

The first half mile is old logging road.

When the trail climbs up the creek valley it's very lush with green even in winter. Big stump!

A break in the trees shows that we're quickly climbing out of the river valley.

Looking up a lightning charred stump.

One of the first little patches of snow. By the end of the day we had slipped and slided on miles of the stuff.

George and Therese hiking up through the forest.

Some parts of the trail are easy to see.

Other sections are not as obvious so the reflective diamonds help.

It's three miles from the parking lot to the summit.

The couple that just passed us (do you see 'em?) would see us at the top.

Walking through a little cloud layer made for some fine forest lighting.

These ray pictures turned out so good I had to show off two of 'em.

Because Mailbox Mtn is a good training hike for climbing Mt Rainier some folks hike with all their gear on.

The forest is thinning out and the snow is piling up.

Super awesome fun trail! What's going to be around the next corner?

A gap in the trees.

Genuine smiles. Proof that hiking on a nice day is way fun and worth the effort.

Lots of hikers run out of gas and pull off the trail here where the views are pretty good.

You gotta climb up and across this hill just to see where the top is!

Onward and upward.

Looking west, past Mt Si on the right, back towards Seattle. See the hiker sliding down the chute on the right?

A look at the Mount Si ridge with the snowy beak of Mount Teneriffe next in line. (To be featured on its own page later this year.)

In the summer this route is a steep pile of boulders. But in the winter it makes a great shortcut to the top.

Looking across I-90 at McClellan Butte. You can see the railroad trestle at the lower right in the next picture.

Looking further to the right (southwest). Mt Washington has its summit in a cloud on the right.
On the far right is Rattlesnake Lake which you can see four pictures ago if you want to visualize the panoramic view.

Now we can see the top!

Glad to hear the news!

Just put one foot in front of the other.

A look over at Mount Teneriffe, now it's in the clouds too.

It's almost dizzying.

The wind got stronger as we got closer to the top.

Looking over at the true summit of Mailbox Mtn. The views aren't as good there though, so the mailbox is on the false summit.

The couple sitting at the top is waiting for us to take their picture for them.

A close up view of McClellan Butte.

You can really tell which direction the storms blow in from (the south).

Finally at the top! George, Theresa and me.

Looking over at the true summit and McClellan Butte.

Further east beyond the Mailbox summit is Mount Defiance.

A close up of Mount D.

A raven flying by. That's the Snoqualmie Middle Fork in the valley on the left.

George brought a little flask of his Krupnikus. (Homemade Lithuanian honey liquer - look up the recipe!) Fantastic!

The long walk (or slide) down.

Clouds are rolling in. We're walking down to find a lunch spot out of the wind.

This guy (we met him) has a stormy personality. I believe he's bringing the clouds up with him!

Walk, slide or roll down the hill. Hey I shoulda brought a snowboard!

The snow was extra slippery in some places.

These guys had a good lunch spot. We found a better one (with flat rocks to sit on) further down the hill.

With lunch we watched clouds swirl around.

Soon we were back into the trees and it was too dark to take anymore pictures.
This hike is always special. Even more so with friends! Thanks G and T!

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© 2012, by Robert Baker. All rights reserved.
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