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Schmidt Altitude
Whippet Entourage



Joined: 28 Mar 2007
Posts: 802 | TRs
Location: The Quah
Schmidt Altitude
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Whippet Entourage
PostFri May 11, 2007 10:31 pm 
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TR....where is it?  We would like details, please.

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"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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Winnie
Stuffed with fluff??



Joined: 12 May 2007
Posts: 5 | TRs

Winnie
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Stuffed with fluff??
PostSat May 12, 2007 2:56 am 
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I think Andrew covered the major points, but I'm going to make a long post of the story, just for fun.  First off, thanks to Chris and Mark and everyone who stayed around to make sure we made it out safely.  Second, I have to say that last night's hike ended up being a little more intense than expected.  I am still picking thorns out of my hands and wincing a little when my pant legs rub against all my scrapes.  In fact, I felt a little feverish today and I assumed it was because I had so many cuts but I don't really know.

Just to clarify, I had a great time and its a fun story to tell.  I feel like the worst outcome from all of this was that we inconvenienced a lot of people who ended up having to wait and drive around to pick us up - so again thanks to those who helped us out.

*- The Story -*

The hike up
First, the trail up was challenging as I expected.  This was my first time on Mailbox and the quick elevation gain of the trail sure lived up to the hype!  I came relatively unprepared as usual :)  I brought my new backpack which was nice, but neglected to bring any additional clothing in it and only brought 3 bottles of water (which actually had been plenty for previous hikes).  I think the higher temperatures and the difficulty of the climb worked to really increase my thirst.  Me and Harry chatted happily on the way up and we actually lost the trail for awhile but we just kept heading upward and eventually found it again.

The summit
I climbed the talus by myself as I had outpaced Harry at that point but had not yet caught up to Chris or Andrew.  I was pretty tired by the time I hit the summit, but the gathering at the top was a lot of fun as usual - enjoying the scenery, drinking a beer and eating various snacks.  I cooled down pretty quickly as there was a cold wind blowing at the top and I was in just shorts and short sleeves, so I started back down with a few others.

Starting down
We came back down to the talus, and I felt like heading back down it because I had come up the talus.  As far as I saw, Andrew was the only one going down the talus, so we went together.  He had come a different way up than me so I followed him down the rocks in a little different area.  We eventually decided to start moving right off the rocks and into the forest as the rocks were starting to become mossy and slippery.  I knew that the talus that I had come up had been further to the right, and we also knew that the others who had taken the trail had headed off that way, so we started off pretty confident just heading down and to the right thinking we would meet up with the trail soon.  Eventually the terrain started to get tougher to navigate, with steep mossy rocks and thick bushes and trees we had to duck and maneuver our way through.  At some point Andrew brought up the question of whether we should turn around and head back up to try and find a more reasonable route back to the trail.  I have a dislike for backtracking so I was opposed to it.  We continued.

Deeper into the forest
As we went further and further down the hill (still trying to move rightward), we started to get the feeling that we might not find the trail.  The terrain actually became clearer at one point, with relatively open areas between trees and other growth and I believe we may have been near the trail then.  We never saw the trail, and continued on.  It started to get dark.  We were able to see some lights through the trees at some point, and they were off to our left.  Now we decided to kind of try to make our way towards the lights, but the hill was steeper to the left so we probably headed more or less straight down the hill going left as possible but also having to go right to avoid very steep areas.  This is when the going got really rough.  There was a lot of dead wood with leaves covering, so it was hard to tell where to step and when I did step, invariably, the branches would break under my weight and send me sliding down scraping my legs on sharp sticks as I went.  After a while of going through that we made it to the swamp.

The swamp
Things started to become muddier and more often than not we were either walking across swampy areas on mossy fallen logs or climbing over huge stumps.  At one point we made it to an area of the swamp where we ran head-on into a group of huge thorn bushes that were very intimidating.  We changed direction a few times to avoid the worst of them.  We were starting to get fed up with the swamp, it was relatively slow going and the thorns hurt.  At this point it was dark.  We were conversing off and on with various people (Mark and Chris?) on my cellphone and Andrew's VHF.  I declared that we were headed in the direction that the front of the dipper on the big dipper was pointing, and our contact on the cellphone said that was west, so we headed west.  That took us out of the swamp after awhile.  That was when we found the overgrown trail and after heading the wrong way on it for a few minutes, came back down and, after a relatively short walk, found the fire training area.  By this time, my legs were really starting to complain and I was more stumbling than walking.

The abandoned facility
The fire training area was pretty surreal.  There were bright lights outside, and buildings that showed the signs of habitation but after wandering through most of the training center and knocking on doors, we couldn't find anyone.  Then we actually went inside a big garage/shop (which had all its lights on, so that you could see the light shining out around the edges of the garage doors) and it was nice and warm and had a ton of fire fighting equipment all around.  Still no one answered our shouts.  We went back outside to see if we could spot Chris as he was driving around looking for us.  That's when Chris showed up at the gate in his truck to pick us up.
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EastKing
Summit Addict



Joined: 28 Mar 2007
Posts: 2053 | TRs
Location: 40 hours week work; 40 hours summit
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Summit Addict
PostSat May 12, 2007 7:06 am 
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Now I feel lucky! I was lost on the way up the mountain. At times even in the daylight the trail was hard to pick up. A couple of times I had to bushwack up hill just to find the trail. After dark there were times when if I was with twodogsdad I would have gotten lost. When I got down and realized that we had two hikers lost I immediately grew concerned. A number of us stayed back and kept closely bahind in order to make sure they were ok. Luckily thirty minutes later they were found and ok.

Now saying that I want to say a big thank you up.gif  to twodogdad for staying with me on the way down. I also want to thank Jeremy for last week as well. I was hiking down at a slower clip (Yeah, I need some serious conditioning before I take on the bad boys) and even with my headlamp, there were parts of the path that were obsure and I easily could have gotten lost again.

Still that being said it was a great time and a great hike up Mailbox. That mountain is a true test of how much conditioning a person needs. The obvious answer is that I need a lot. Between my absurd hours back east, and the odd weather in New Hampshire (January I surfing, February it was below 0 with heavy wind) I lost a lot of my old cardio shape. The other answer is that I need to hike up Mailbox again. (If anyone is game and a little patient (3 hours to summit, two and a half hours down) I'll pay gas money for the next trip up.

Thanks again to Mark for organizing TNAB and staying behind to make sure everyone is safe, and to Andrew for the rides back. It was another great trip and wonderful to end a beautiful day. up.gif

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I am addicted to summits! I can't eat, drink or breath without them. Life without mountains would really suck.

http://www.myspace.com/climbandsurfmackg | http://www.summitpost.org/user_page.php?user_id=894
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ADrewzki
Snow angels are hot



Joined: 27 Apr 2007
Posts: 188 | TRs
Location: Denver
ADrewzki
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Snow angels are hot
PostSat May 12, 2007 11:39 am 
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Well, I went and bought a topo map of the area yesterday and here's what I figure: Daniel and I descended to about 1300ft by bushwhacking, about 0.5 miles south of the actual trail. The swampy area that we encountered is just a low spot between foothills. We managed to come out at the very very north end of the fire training academy. I grabbed an aerial photo off mapquest of the training academy and where Chris rescued us. =) Our route is the blue dots.
Fire Training Academy
Fire Training Academy
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Yet
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PostSat May 12, 2007 12:05 pm 
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I think it is important to note that while there was only 1 car at the Shell Gas Station when Chris arrived with Daniel and Andrew, most everyone did stay to make sure that our lost hikers made it down okay. Then about half the cars drove to the Shell Gas Station (yukon222, twodogdad, et al) until transportation back to Eastgate was figured out. It was really quite heartening to see so much support, as well as good cheer despite the situation. All of which speaks volumes of the caliber of the people who make up this group we know as TNAB.

Thank you everyone! up.gif
It is a pleasure to get out with all of you.  smile.gif
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Bryan K
Shameless Peakbagger



Joined: 29 Sep 2005
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Bryan K
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Shameless Peakbagger
PostSat May 12, 2007 2:17 pm 
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Looks like it was a fun and adventure filled evening. I'm glad you guys made it out safely.

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www.youtube.com/bkraai | www.flickr.com/photos/bkraai/sets/
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Mark Griffith
(Embrace yourself)



Joined: 14 Mar 2005
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(Embrace yourself)
PostSun May 13, 2007 2:34 pm 
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Wow what a tale. Sorry I have only been able to join TNAB once, mostly I only have time in the AM for hikes before work. This is a great reminder to myself to keep bringing the 10 Essentials, every time I think "its only a hike" and don't bring them I end up wishing I had.
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giantelf23
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PostSun May 13, 2007 3:49 pm 
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glad you all made it back oK, We are going to hike mailbox on tuesday and I will be bringing radios AND maps, etc.... any other trail suggestions. I have never been there. Directions? Which map to buy? Sorry I haven't been able to go to more TNAB hikes, I have a lot of 4 am shifts and late nights are too much if I have to work that early the next day.
Morgain
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Yet
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PostSun May 13, 2007 3:53 pm 
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Morgain, the hikes are done before 4 am. smile.gif
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ADrewzki
Snow angels are hot



Joined: 27 Apr 2007
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Location: Denver
ADrewzki
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Snow angels are hot
PostSun May 13, 2007 3:57 pm 
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I-90 to exit 34. Go north past all the little stores and truck stop and take a right on SE Middle Fork Rd. Take it down a ways and you can pick either left or right at the fork. Comes out at the same place. You'll come to a small parking lot where the asphalt ends. The path to the trail is directly opposite the parking lot, starting up the hill.

As for maps, I recently got the Green Trails Maps that REI offers. #206 for that general area. It's a 1:69500 scale with 80ft contours. Also has declination at the bottom for adjusting to magnetic north. I had mine laminated at staples too so it holds up better over time. Have fun! Remember to stay on the trail! haha.

-Andrew
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yukon222
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PostSun May 13, 2007 4:28 pm 
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Yet wrote:
Morgain, the hikes are done before 4 am. smile.gif

Really?  For everyone on the hike?   lol.gif  I left the Shell gas station at 11:30pm so at least it was the same day the hike started.  Quite an interesting time, being a newbie and all.  Looking forward to my 2nd trip with TNAB!
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giantelf23
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PostSun May 13, 2007 4:28 pm 
4 am
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I'm just not quite THAT hardcore.... mailbox and work no sleep = bad day. Thanks for info, looking forward to the hike during the day....
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Yet
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PostSun May 13, 2007 5:56 pm 
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giantelf23 wrote:
glad you all made it back oK, We are going to hike mailbox on tuesday and I will be bringing radios AND maps, etc.... any other trail suggestions.

- Do not follow the Big Dipper.  dizzy.gif
- Stay out of the swamps.  huh.gif

But seriously, and speaking mostly for myself, I'd probably go the first time with somebody who's been there before. I'd hate to get lost, especially since I sometimes go solo. But it sounds like you'll have other peeps with you, and equipped with maps and radios, too. Bring stamps.
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ADrewzki
Snow angels are hot



Joined: 27 Apr 2007
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Location: Denver
ADrewzki
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Snow angels are hot
PostSun May 13, 2007 7:32 pm 
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Yet wrote:

- Do not follow the Big Dipper.  dizzy.gif
- Stay out of the swamps.  huh.gif

-Follow the big dipper.
-Definitely stay out of the swamps.
biggrin.gif
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Magellan
Brutally Handsome



Joined: 26 Jul 2006
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Location: Inexorable descent
Magellan
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Brutally Handsome
PostSun May 13, 2007 8:57 pm 
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Yet wrote:
Morgain, the hikes are done before 4 am. smile.gif

ykm.gif  rotf.gif  breakdance.gif

In this case, just barely. hink.gif  smackbum.gif  twirl.gif
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