The Mailbox Peak trail is one of the hardest dog friendly Northwest trails. We returned a mere three weeks after our first, failed attempt – a terrible, I’m-never-doing-that-again experience.
I totally wasn’t planning on hiking it again – maybe never but at least not until the end of the summer – but I got caught up in the hype. After I
complained about how horrible the hike was shared my adventure story in my Facebook hiking group, Mailbox Peak became a hot topic.
People started talking about how hard it was and that grabbed the attention of one particular hiking animal who spends part of his time in Seattle. He was flying in for business so a group of people wanted to take him up Mailbox Peak. They put it out there for others to join and I couldn’t pass up the challenge.
I did prepare better this time. I only took Gretel and took trail crampons so I wouldn’t fall on my ass again (review coming later). It took us 3.5 hours to get about a half mile from the summit on our first attempt.
I was hoping to make it to the top in the same amount of time.
There is nothing like fear to motivate you. Our group got a later start to our hike than we planned and I was afraid that Gretel and I would have to hike out in the dark. Although not preferred, I am usually not averse to hiking a few miles of trail with a headlamp. However, this was NOT a trail I would be comfortable with.
Basically, I took less breaks this time and I think I even hiked a little faster. It was like a turtle race to the top. Gretel and I arrived at the famed mailbox in a mere 3 hours.
I was to exhausted and delirious to get many good photos. I did take a second to take in the beautiful view of Mt. Rainier, check the mail, and scarf down a sandwich before hurrying back to the car.
We made it to the mailbox so I can officially check Mailbox Peak off of my bucket list. I MAY go back in the face of a good challenge again but, honestly, this hike is pretty miserable. The UP is steeper than most people feel is humanly possible to hike and the down consists of 3 hours of tiny, slippery root stairs.
I don’t feel like as much of a wimp though because even seasoned hikers thought it was hard. One guy and his dog made it up in 2 hours – a whole hour faster than I – but even this in-shape hiker fell and said he doesn’t plan to go back. A post on PocketRanger blog describes the trail as “sketchy” and “brutal”.
You earn quite the bragging rights for making it to the top but don’t say you weren’t warned.