The song title and band name seem appropriate for this hike - "Such Great Heights" by The Postal Service (play and enjoy as you read )
Another great turnout for this weeks TNAB. The gang included international traveler Joe, the "real" international traveler Ryan (newbie), moosefish (with his dogfish, Tokul), another newbie Jeremy, Jim S., onetwolaugh, Omega Chris, Malachai Constant, Schmidt Alti-Babe (and Kiefer), Schmidt Alti-Dude (and Rowena), yukon222, Mesahchie Mark, drewcoll, twodogdad (plus Boone and Dox), runningbird (and Cubbie), Magnum, Wes, and meandmyaussies (sans aussies) with ewb and Larry (plus Digger) already on the trail.
The start of the trail off the logging road is now clearly marked with a sign that warns of a steep and unmaintained trail . Curiously enough, the trail had been maintained quite recently. The "veterans" remarked that the new trail was less straight up with more switchbacks. The plus side was that there was not a single downed log to contend with the whole way up. Whomever rebuilt the trail also spray-painted orange dots on the trees beside the trail at various intervals. This was very reassuring because the group became very spread out as the miles passed.
The snow started just before the trail breaks out of the thicker forest into the smaller trees. Traction devices such as yaktrax would still be advisable. There were plenty of established kicksteps in the snow to use to the summit. The lead pack reached the 4841' peak in 1 hour 42 minutes. The mailbox was still buried under a blanket of snow but the views were spectacular. The sun was streaming through the clouds above North Bend giving it a "heavenly" glow.
Unfortunately, the wind and clouds made this the coldest TNAB summit so far this year. Because of this, people started heading back down before all of us arrived at the top. Many took advantage of butt-glissades where we could. It was particularly fun sliding down the path through the little trees before the forest. The snow was just icy enough to be slick but it wasn't steep enough that you picked up too much speed and lost your ability to steer. We turned on our headlamps about half way down and arrived back at the cars around 10:00.
Even though there was talk of more TNABers attending only the Schmidts and yukon made it to the after party at The Pour House Bar & Grill. We arrived just in time to see endless replays of Big Sexy's pathetic hissy fit during the M's game. The food and atmosphere was good enough to recommend it for an after TNAB destination, especially since the NBB&G stops food service at 10:00. While we were eating we learned that it was yukon and dicey who collaborated on replacing the mailbox which had been stolen from the peak last year. A big thank you and from all of us to you two!
Next Week: Russian Butte via Pratt River!
Miles: 3.75 from car to summit (one way)
Elevations Gain: 4152 feet
Time ascending: 1 hour 42 minutes (lead group)
Time decending: 1 hour 20 minutes
Up the talus field
Alti-Dude climbing up
Golden and silver
Doggy welcome committee
TNAB on Mailbox
The heavens open
Darkness and light over McClellan Butte
The 'Dude on Mailbox Peak
Mailbox, you've been TNABed!
God smiles on North Bend
Seattle bathed in light
We're cold, don't bother us!
More of the group arrives
The "as much of the group as we could get before we bailed" shot
Ouch, ouch, ouch. And I turned around at 3,500'. After being caught with a 40 minute head start. Dang. You guys book. I did get a heck of a workout, though, and some play time with Peggy's dog at my turn around spot.
Some advice for anyone contemplating this hike for the first time:
Go left Luke, save your trail-finding force for the dark descent.
I can imagine coming back and making it to the top of this thing someday, but I can't imagine making it a priority. I think for now I'll just concentrate on making West Tiger #3 via the Cable Trail without a dozen breath-catcher breaks. I think Mailbox leaves little Cable Trails in its toilet every morning.
I was looking towards Mailbox from the Cableline on Tiger and I said a prayer for you guys. I'm looking foward to joining the big boys. Nice to hear about everyone making it down to the correct trailhead.
I think Mailbox leaves little Cable Trails in its toilet every morning.
That is funny, weird, and vaguely disturbing. But true!
Wow-incredible-golden rays beaming on North Bend.
I so wanted to go, but didn't think I could keep up or survive the downhill.
3 hours round trip - Very impressive!
Hope to join you again after Russian Butte.
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