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Mesahchie Mark
Really Useful Engine



Joined: 10 May 2005
Posts: 685 | TRs
Location: Island of Sodor
Mesahchie Mark
Really Useful Engine
PostFri May 11, 2007 4:38 pm 
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(Contributed by TNAB'er Chris, the Alpha and the Omega, edited by Yours Truly)

PEOPLE: Mark (Mesahchie), Yet (Yet), Dave (Tread Well), Daniel, Andrew (ADrewzki), Chris,Steve & Diana, Nikolai (twodogdad), Greg (EastKing), Larry, Don, Damon, Harry, Steve (yukon222), Joseph

Time to top 5:54 to 8:01 pm : 127 min ( 2hrs+ )
Time to bottom  8:24 to 10 pm : 96 min
Approx 3 miles, 4000 feet

Kind of a fiasco, this hike.  I am supposed to meet everyone at Eastgate and rally the troops as Mark and Yet are going to start the hike early.  I get caught in awful traffic and don't meet with ANYBODY... they were all gone by the time I got to  Eastgate.  The troops manage to get themselves to the trailhead anyway.  I arrive there just as people ware about to start up....  Mark, Yet, Larry and Don have arrived early and are long gone.

Everyone gets to the top - except Greg who falls behind.  Also Steve and Diana, who arrived late, catch up with practically everyone and pass us all,  apparently turn around just 2 minutes from the top ?!.  I meet them on the way down thinking they had summited but they don't say anything...

Yet makes it to the top (Yah!) and we dine on her as usual great brownies.  several brought beer which is passed around. The view is awesome, mountains in all directions, downtown was visible, colorful sunset, Mt Rainier in all it's glory.  Several of our group had never been up Mailbox ("why do they call this peak 'Mailbox'?").  We discovered a flask of Rum (albeit Monarch brand) in one of the TWO mailboxes.  Dave bravely samples the (suspicious) yellow (!?) liquid and pronounces it good!

(As often) the adventure begins with the hike down....  as we book, we pass greg nearing the top.  He is fully prepared to continue but I tell him to turn around now or he'll be descending alone in the dark and we'll all be waiting for him at the bottom.  He turns back but is pretty unhappy about getting so close, yet so far.

I fall in with a front group (Damon, Dave, Harry and another).  We make good time to the bottom but never se sign of ANYONE else on the way down.  We wait quite a while and then called Mark via cell.  He and Yet were doing ok, he said Nikolai and Greg were somewhere behind him and that Andrew and Daniel were... MIA.  He contacts them via radio and they are talking about being off trail (???) and not sure where they are....

Eventually Mark and Yet arrive at the bottom. we radio Andrew and Daniel again and they tell stories of swamp land and no trail???  They say they can hear the freeway so we're thinking they are approaching either the nearby fire training center or the gravel pit...  I offer to take a radio and go look for them. I find a back road behind the Shell station at the truck stop and explore, looking for the gravel pit. I find a gated home? in the dark with arabic (?) looking words scrawled on rough wood signs. Kind of spooky - a sign of the times 8(. My paranoia imagines backwoods, al Qaeda training centers...  I sound my horn which Daniel and Andrew can't hear... Radio reception is really bad so I figure they're not here and take the opportunity to turn around. A separate road leads to the gravel pit which is gated and inaccessible and I can't raise them on the radio here at all.  No cell phone contact either.

So on to the fire training center, which I've never been to.  On the way, Mark calls and tell me that Nikolai and Greg have arrived, so that's good.  At exit 38 I explore the short road to the north.  It ends at a bunch of fences with no trespassing signs.  Radio reception is back but not good.  I sound my car horn but they can't hear it.  Daniel and Andrew have entered the training center and are exploring buildings and trying to find a live human but the place seems deserted. At least we know where they are now ! I decide to drive the 5 mile loop to exit 40? and see if I can find the fire training center that way. The gate near exit 40 is thankfully open so I drive the the approx 3 miles to a closed gate that guards the hugely expansive training center.  In the distance are a few buildings and lights.  I sound the horn and raise them on the radio and they come a runnin' thankful for an end to their adventure.

I got home at 1 AM.

Piecing together the story - they were descending the talus field near the top of Mailbox and not having done the mountain before, they missed where the trail exits the talus.  They continued down into forest and basically bushwacked the entire way down the southwest side of the mountain ! Eventually they reached the flatlands at the bottom only to be greeted by swamp lands and briars. You gotta admire their stamina. Eventually they found the trail to the Fire Training center.
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Mesahchie Mark
Really Useful Engine



Joined: 10 May 2005
Posts: 685 | TRs
Location: Island of Sodor
Mesahchie Mark
Really Useful Engine
PostFri May 11, 2007 5:11 pm 
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Iwant to add that I'm very relieved we were able to find our wayward TNAB'ers so readily.  Even though coverage was spotty, the two-way radios really came in handy.  Without them, I wouldn't have known there was a problem until after we exited the trail.

Despite the hardships at the end, it was still a great night for a hike.

Thanks, Chris, for the trip report and the "rescue" effort!   up.gif  up.gif

--------------
Cheers,

Mesahchie Mark
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Tread Well
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Joined: 07 May 2007
Posts: 11 | TRs
Location: Bellevue
Tread Well
Member
PostFri May 11, 2007 5:14 pm 
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Mail Box was a hoot. The final distance verdict from the GPS and the topo map software was 4 or 5.2 or 5.8 miles from car to peak to car - depending upon which calculation you want to believe. If there are any GPS/Topo software experts out there, give me a yell to discuss. The elevation car to peak looks like 4200 feet according to the devices. Here are some of the pics I got:
Nice View:
Rainier on a clear day
Rainier on a clear day

I like the cut of this man's jib:
Mailbox peakwith tnab 0507 009
Mailbox peakwith tnab 0507 009

Hanging around the beer:
Mailbox peakwith tnab 0507 011
Mailbox peakwith tnab 0507 011

Ya gotta love free liquor:
If its in a rum bottle, it must be rum, right?
If its in a rum bottle, it must be rum, right?

Tread Well
Dave Schultz

--------------
Let's go for a walk.
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Yet
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Joined: 23 Apr 2005
Posts: 2634 | TRs
Location: Happily Ever After
Yet
Member
PostFri May 11, 2007 5:21 pm 
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Overheard in the woods on the way down...
Why does it have to be so @#%$# steep?!  crybaby.gif Ahem...

But once off the trail, and on the road, we turn off the headlamps and watch the velvety sky explode in a glorious show of glittery diamonds. The pain forgotten, and the gift before me takes my breath away. This is why we do it, isn't it?

The beauty.

The good times.
Says it all, doesn't it?
4 labels
Says it all, doesn't it?
Made it to the top with everyone looking on. Ahhh! Thanks guys, thanks for watching me take those last thousand excruciating steps.
4 labels
Made it to the top with everyone looking on. Ahhh! Thanks guys, thanks for watching me take those last thousand excruciating steps.
Drink up, you don't know what I put in those brownies tonight. (Insert evil laughter here.)
4 labels
Drink up, you don't know what I put in those brownies tonight. (Insert evil laughter here.)

The quenching of the thirst.
Pour it, baby!
Pour it, baby!
What a man!
What a man!

The yellow samples.
Dave in Action (Part Un)
Dave in Action (Part Un)
Dave in Action (Part Deux)
Dave in Action (Part Deux)
Dave in Action (Part Trois)
Dave in Action (Part Trois)

The silly.
don't_ask
don't_ask
He only thinks he is getting away with something.
He only thinks he is getting away with something.
"misadventure" dude
1 label
"misadventure" dude

The adventure.
Have you seen them?
2 labels
Have you seen them?
Follow the Big Dipper
Follow the Big Dipper
Rescue Operations
Rescue Operations

Bonus this week!
A preview of the next social.
Sans the uphill.
Beer & Brownies (or what's left of them lot)
Beer & Brownies (or what's left of them lot)

Another week. Another great TNABup.gif

Signed, sealed, delivered --
with love from Ailbox Peak
with love from Ailbox Peak
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ADrewzki
Snow angels are hot



Joined: 27 Apr 2007
Posts: 188 | TRs
Location: Denver
ADrewzki
Snow angels are hot
PostFri May 11, 2007 7:48 pm 
Fiasco with a capital F
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Wow, what a night that was! First off, I'd like to apologize to everyone who was there that night. It's never a good thing when hikers get lost, especially after darkfall. I'm grateful Mark, Yet, and Chris decided to stick around. Thanks again.

So basically, here's an account of the F-iasco that happened. Damon, Harry, Daniel and I had been at the top for a bit. It was getting cold so we decided to start heading down. This was at about 8:15. We got to the talus field and Daniel and I decended the talus while Damon and Harry headed toward the trail saying they'd meet up with us. I remembered that the trail came out of the trees to the talus field so we headed towards the trees. Daniel and I came to the trees and decided to head in, knowing that if we went in and to the "right", we'd eventually intersect the trail and we could start descending.

Well, about 10 minutes in, still no trail in sight. Hm.......do we turn back or keep trudging? In hindsight, turning back would have been the correct thing to do but we were certain we had to be close. So we kept on going. Mind you, there was no trail so we had started to bushwhack and it was starting to get rough! We were still heading down the mountain and to the "right." It was dark soon and we had to turn our lights on. Luckily, I keep a 1W LED flashlight in my pack for emergencies and that lit up the forest pretty well. We'd descend a couple steps and I'd shine the light around for anything that remotely looked like the trail I wanted. No luck unfortunately. Daniel and I kept on heading down, still bushwhacking our way. I think about halfway down, Daniel got cell phone signal and called Mark, explaining our situation and that we were still heading down. I also had a radio in my pack so we were able to stay in contact for a good portion of the time.

I've gained a great deal of respect for the convenience of a trail. Having had to trek through old growth forest, we had to watch our step the entire way down. Each step we took was generally on old rotten wood that gave way when we put weight on it plus it was covered with dead/decaying deciduous leaves which hid the fact that there could be multiple layers of branches waiting to give way. I was constantly digging out huge amount of leaves, branches and dirt out of my boots. Not only that, it was pretty darn steep in some places and the trees we tried to hang onto for support would give out because they had rotted away. Daniel and I both took quite a beating from limbs sticking out and branches giving way under us. Not to mention the "horrors" of the swamp.

Anyway, back to the harrowing details of the journey. Daniel and I had been bushwhacking for roughly an hour and half or so. We were pretty close to the bottom of the mountain and we could see white and yellow florescent lights in the distance. Lights that we'd later find out were the fire training academy. I decided that it'd be a good direction to head and we struck out in that general direction. As we got to the bottom, we had descended into a low point and it was a little swampy. There were pools of water from 1" to 6" scattered about and lots of mud. Also, there were these freaking plants that were about 2"-4" in diameter that had nothing but sharp spines sticking out of them all over it. There were multiple times Daniel and I reached out a hand to grab a tree for support when all we got was a handful of thorns. Ouch!! We got pretty good at spotting them and avoided them as best as we could. The bad part of being down in this low point was that we could no longer see the lights of the fire training academy. I had a pretty good "gut-feeling" on which way to go but we kept getting disoriented. My compass just ended up NOT working for some reason. We ended up calling Mark and using the big dipper constellation as a guide to head west. Thank God for small miracles. We had spent almost an hour just in the low swampy portion. We kept heading west, using the big dipper as a guide and we just happened to come upon a trail. It was definitely not maintained and the forest had already started to reclaim it but it was definitely there. Finally a break! We started walking and in about 5-10 minutes, the trail started heading up the mountain. Uh-oh. We turned around, and started back the other way. In about 20 minutes, the bright yellow and white florescent lights we had seen on the way down were much brighter and much closer. We were almost there. We emerged from the forest in the back of the training academy, near some pond and a service road.

We called Mark and Chris to inform them that we had come out in the training academy. Atleast we knew where we were now! I think Chris honked his horn to see if we were within hearing distance. We were not. Daniel and I started walking into the training area. There were huge silos, and burned vehicles astrewn everywhere. Obviously training props. We headed towards the buildings that still had lights on. No answer at the first building. No answer at the second building but the door was unlocked! So we headed in and it was nice to get out of the cold for a bit. We looked around, hooped and hollered to see if anyone was home. Alas, no one was around. We left that building as well when Chris radioed over that he was going to whistle and to listen for it. *whistle* There it was! And it was close!!! I started shining my light around when Chris radioed over, "Is that you guys?" Yes, we were saved!!! We headed over to the gate where Chris was waiting. Man, was he a sight for sore eyes. We were tired and both scraped up pretty bad but overall, we weren't lost anymore and heading home. Things were looking up.

We met up with Mark and Yet at the Shell station and they made sure were were ok. Chris was kind enough to give us a ride back to our cars. From there Daniel went home, I dropped off Greg (Eastking) and I headed home as well. I got home around 2am. I definitely have a few deep scratches on my legs and I'm quite sore but this morning, I definitely felt good to be alive!

Things I've done to make sure this doesn't happen again:
-Swore that I'll never leave the main group again or the trail.
-Went and bought a GPS system.
-Went and bought another compass with a lifetime warranty on the magnet.
-Went and bought a topo map of the area that we usually hike. Will buy more maps as needed.

I don't think I missed much. So much happened that night and I tried to put most of it in.

Again, thanks to Chris, Mark, and Yet for staying behind.
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yukon222
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Joined: 12 Mar 2007
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yukon222
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PostFri May 11, 2007 8:24 pm 
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A few more pictures of the crew and scenery

Dave checking mail.jpg
Dave checking mail.jpg
Dave proclaims a good year.jpg
Dave proclaims a good year.jpg
Dave's full pull.jpg
Dave's full pull.jpg
mailboxes.jpg
mailboxes.jpg
descent.jpg
descent.jpg
sunset over seattle2.jpg
sunset over seattle2.jpg
sunset over seattle.jpg
sunset over seattle.jpg
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Magellan
Brutally Handsome



Joined: 26 Jul 2006
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Location: Inexorable descent
Magellan
Brutally Handsome
PostFri May 11, 2007 9:04 pm 
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Sorry about your mini-epic, guys.  embarassedlaugh.gif  It's tough coming down in the dark on semi-trail.  After sunset, the wider, the better.  It all ended well, if somewhat late.  Heal up, quick.
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Yana
Hater



Joined: 04 Jun 2004
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Yana
Hater
PostFri May 11, 2007 9:07 pm 
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eek.gif  eek.gif  eek.gif

I too have gotten lost on Mailbox, though my adventure was not compounded by darkness (only by being alone and an idiot).

Glad you guys made it back out okay!

--------------
PLAY SAFE! SKI ONLY IN CLOCKWISE DIRECTION! LET'S ALL HAVE FUN TOGETHER!
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Tazz
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Tazz
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PostFri May 11, 2007 9:16 pm 
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need labels on the pics. I want to know who everyone is.... huh.gif  winksmile.gif
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Yet
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Yet
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PostFri May 11, 2007 9:21 pm 
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Heeee....Tazz.  wink.gif Ahem.
I will label them for you shortly.

Question to all the ladies! Where you be?? How come I was the only one there? I mean, what am I going to do with 13, 14, 16, 100 TNABer hiker dudes...goodness, I can't even count them.
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Schmidt Altitude
Whippet Entourage



Joined: 28 Mar 2007
Posts: 802 | TRs
Location: The Quah
Schmidt Altitude
Whippet Entourage
PostFri May 11, 2007 9:22 pm 
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Great pics and TR, everyone!  Looks like we missed out on some fun.  Hopefully next week.  Adrewzki and Pooh Bear - did you bounce up a tree you couldn't bounce down from? - seriously, we're very glad you guys are alright and made it down.   agree.gif  Those kind of situations can be very scary.  Sounds like you ran into some devils club, too, ouch!

--------------
"Forest 101: These big wood stick things are called trees.  The big rocks are called mountains, and the little rocks are their babies."  Elliott from Open Season
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Yet
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Joined: 23 Apr 2005
Posts: 2634 | TRs
Location: Happily Ever After
Yet
Member
PostFri May 11, 2007 9:40 pm 
All's well that ends well.
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ADrewzki wrote:
Wow, what a night that was! First off, I'd like to apologize to everyone who was there that night. It's never a good thing when hikers get lost, especially after darkfall. I'm grateful Mark, Yet, and Chris decided to stick around. Thanks again.

*Dear Andrew...you are most welcome! And like everyone else, I am just very very happy that you both came out of the experience okay and able to hike with us another day. Thanks for posting your account of what happened. Sounds like some lessons were learned and hopefully others reading this can glean something good from it as well.

*Steve, thanks for posting your photos! It's good to know that my hair looked okay from the back.  wink.gif
It was nice to meet you! Welcome to TNAB.  up.gif
yukon222
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yukon222
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dicey
custom title



Joined: 11 May 2004
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Location: giving cornices a wider berth
dicey
custom title
PostFri May 11, 2007 9:45 pm 
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Oops Yet, sorry I didn't make it.  I didn't have a red jacket handy, which appears to have been the popular attire for the evening wink.gif
Devils club, swamps, being lost in the dark, bushwhacking, whistles, and honking horns  - yup, sounds like a classic TNAB hike to me! lol.gif

--------------
I'm not always sure I like being older but being less stupid has advantages.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/32121172@N00/sets/
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Yet
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Joined: 23 Apr 2005
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Location: Happily Ever After
Yet
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PostFri May 11, 2007 9:59 pm 
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Oh dicey, I was wearing black!  tongue.gif Although I noticed the color of the day, too.

Tazz, pics labeled! Let me know if I missed anyone. Do I need to label mine, too? I'm the girl. But if that's not obvious...let me know. dizzy.gif
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ADrewzki
Snow angels are hot



Joined: 27 Apr 2007
Posts: 188 | TRs
Location: Denver
ADrewzki
Snow angels are hot
PostFri May 11, 2007 10:24 pm 
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Schmidt Altitude wrote:
Great pics and TR, everyone!  Looks like we missed out on some fun.  Hopefully next week.  Adrewzki and Pooh Bear - did you bounce up a tree you couldn't bounce down from? - seriously, we're very glad you guys are alright and made it down.   agree.gif  Those kind of situations can be very scary.  Sounds like you ran into some devils club, too, ouch!

Yeah, I was a bit worried. Especially combined with the fact that Daniel didn't have a jacket and was out of water. Good thing it turned out the way it did. And if I ever see devils club again before I die, it'll be too soon. I'm still digging out spines from my hand. BTW, I saw that you had done the Little Quilcene Trail in late April. I got all excited when I saw your name in the trail registry this past Sunday. Haha.
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