Forum Index > Trip Reports > The Wussification of Mailbox Peak (05/24/15)
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The Angry Hiker
SAR Blacklistee



Joined: 13 Jun 2008
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Location: Kentwila
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PostWed May 27, 2015 8:05 pm 
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There was a time, not long ago, when summiting Mailbox Peak was something to be proud of.  It was a relentless vertical slog up a river of mud and roots, with very few switchbacks and absolutely no poodles. It took me almost a whole day to conquer Mailbox the first time, but I actually felt like I had tested my limits and accomplished something I could boast about to other middle-aged fat guys.

But that was back before Mailbox Peak was emasculated by the WTA in it’s endless quest to turn every hike into Mount Frigging Si.

Mailbox Then
Mailbox Then
Mailbox Now
Mailbox Now

Yes, I know it was the DNR’s idea, but it was the WTA that raised it's tiny rat claws and volunteered to do the dirty deed.

And what a marvelous job they did, too. I didn’t think it was possible to summit Mailbox Peak going downhill the whole way, but they somehow made it happen.

Downhill
Downhill
Downhill
Downhill
Downhill
Downhill
Downhill
Downhill
Downhill
Downhill
Downhill
Downhill
Downhill
Downhill
Downhill
Downhill

The trail also boasts several “improvements” that are the stock and trade of the lunatics in the WTA.  Unnecessary bridges. Pointless stairs. Randomly placed Zen rock gardens. I felt like I was walking through a putt-putt golf course designed by an Alzheimer's sufferer.

Pointless Stairs
Pointless Stairs
Pointless bridge
Pointless bridge
Pointless bridge
Pointless bridge
Pointless bridge
Pointless bridge
Annoying handrail
Annoying handrail
Zen Garden 1
Zen Garden 1
Zen Garden 2
Zen Garden 2

For a bunch of "Leave No Trace" zealots, they sure like to turn every trail they touch into an amusement park attraction.

Poop
Poop

On the bright side, the new trail is simpler and easy to follow, so Search and Rescue won’t have to – God forbid – waste any time searching and rescuing, and can devote themselves to playing Dungeon & Dragons and stroking their neckbeards back at the clubhouse.

It was fairly quiet for a Memorial Day weekend. Aside from the occasional kid cruising by on a skateboard, I pretty much had the trail to myself for the whole hike up.

The scenery wasn't anything to write home about, though. It looked like they took the most boring parts of the old trail, stretched them out, and pasted them onto the new trail.

Downhill
Downhill
Downhill
Downhill
Downhill
Downhill
Downhill
Downhill
Downhill
Downhill
Downhill
Downhill
Nice marmot!
Nice marmot!

And despite WTA’s tireless efforts to prevent you from getting your pretty day-glo hiking pumps dirty, the trail still gets muddy near the top.

Mud
Mud

These areas could definitely use some Zen gardens, or perhaps some nice shag carpeting and a few throw pillows.

The new trail continues downhill another 3.5 miles before dumping you back on the old trail, just below the talus field.

The Old Trail Connector
The Old Trail Connector
Graffiti I can agree with
Graffiti I can agree with
Talus field
Talus field

This is the way to go when there’s still snow on the mountain, but it's a pain in the ass when it's bare. I'm surprised WTA hasn't built an elaborate staircase or a giant bridge over it yet. Until they do, the summer route is your best yet.

I always try to do the final summit push without any chowderheads chirping “Almost there!” at me along the way.

Final summit push
Final summit push
Final Meadow
Final Meadow
Idiots In the Mist
Idiots In the Mist
I haven't seen this much male pattern baldness since the last Miss Tukwila beauty pageant
I haven't seen this much male pattern baldness since the last Miss Tukwila beauty pageant
Summit approach
Summit approach

Whereas I'm normally a very friendly guy (pause for laughter) I avoid eye contact as much as possible for the last few hundred feet and do not engage in conversation with anyone. I actually managed to get within sight of the mailbox this time before I was hit with three "Almost Theres" in rapid succession. By the time I gained the crowded summit, my blood was boiling.  One gal in a sports bra paused from shoving a Clif Bar into her piehole to clap her hands and shout “WOO HOO! YOU MADE IT!”

Well, it was all I could do to keep from running her through with my trekking pole.

That's not her
That's not her
Mailbox
Mailbox
View down into the valley
View down into the valley
Summit benchmark
Summit benchmark

Needless to say, I was in a foul mood at this point, so after vandalizing the mailbox, I bushwhacked down from the summit a little ways to put a pair of dirty socks into an ammo can.  I was just about to call it a day when my eye caught something interesting stashed in the brush.

What the?
What the?

My curiosity got the best of me, and sure enough – there was about 50 kilos of grade-A Bolivian nose candy under there.

Well, well, well!
Well, well, well!

It looked Like Tony Montana's wet dream.

Nice, WTA.  Real Nice.

Gummi Bears in the mailbox are one thing, but there are toddlers crawling up this peak now, people.  You can’t just leave your blow lying around like this anymore.

Anyway, I had tossed maybe 20 or so of those little bags down the side of the mountain before I got to the one that had “CONCRETE” written on it in big black letters.

What sort of nastiness are those weasels up to now?  A permanent foundation for the mailbox, perhaps?

Well, that's the proverbial back-breaking straw, right there.

I'm a pretty easygoing and tolerant guy (pause for laughter) but if any kind of permanent structure is built on this summit, I will make it my life's purpose to ruin Mailbox Peak for everyone else as it has been ruined for me. I'll climb up in the dead of night if I have to and stuff it full of rotten fish, and angry bees, and pictures of my feet that will terrorize your children and sterilize your poodle.

Say Hello to my leetle friend!
Say Hello to my leetle friend!

Oh yeah, that's how I roll.

Don't get me wrong - I love raiding the mailbox for half-eaten chicken wings and poorly-written letters to God as much as the next guy. I'd probably even miss the mailbox if it was gone. But the idea of it being a permanent thing really gets the ol' rubber undies in a bind.

And I am not alone.  There are others like me - proud patriots who won't stand idly by while another I-90 peak is turned into a theme park for poodle-herding hipsters and REI fashion plates.

We are strong. We are proud. We are legion.

Okay, it's just me.  But I can pitch a tantrum like you've never seen.

Anyway, I had enough B.S. for one day. I tossed a couple more bags off the mountain for good measure and headed for the car.

Even with the new wussified trail being more “accessible” to weenies, people were still bitching at me about it all the way down.

“Ohhhh GAWWWWD are we THERE YET?  How much farther is it?”

Come on, people. You wanted an easy hike, and you got one. You better stow the bellyaching, or WTA will add another 9 miles to the hike.

Mailbox Peak
3900 ft
17 miles
Elevation Gain: 0.
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mthoodmark
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PostWed May 27, 2015 8:27 pm 
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Amen! Don't think I'll go back anytime soon. Only went once and it was a complete zoo; not what I'm looking for on a hike.
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Bernardo
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PostWed May 27, 2015 8:30 pm 
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Sounds like the weather didn't dampen your spirits.  Nice hike.

Looks like the trail lacks reflective markers, however.  That's kind of a safety hazard.  Glad you survived.
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olderthanIusedtobe
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PostWed May 27, 2015 8:32 pm 
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Awesome, it's been too long without a TAH TR.  up.gif   I can proudly say I've never stepped foot on the Mailbox Peak trail, old, new or otherwise.  If TAH stopped doing mega-popular I-90 hikes, he wouldn't be so grumpy and his TR's wouldn't be nearly as much fun to read.  That does look like some over-engineering by the WTA.  Especially the handrails next to...a flattish section of trail with no cliff or other discernible hazard?
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AlpineRose
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PostWed May 27, 2015 8:47 pm 
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Best AH tr yet.
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nordique
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PostWed May 27, 2015 8:54 pm 
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Bob!  SO great to have you back!  Where have you been?  Time for me now to clean my monitor, after laughing so much about what Mailbox Peak has become!
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Magellan
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Brutally Handsome
PostWed May 27, 2015 9:01 pm 
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Nailed it.   up.gif  up.gif  Welcome back, teller of truths.
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Gil
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PostWed May 27, 2015 9:03 pm 
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Another classic from the pen of perhaps the most insightful trail tomester of our time.

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Friends help the miles go easier.
Klahini
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Mtngirl717
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PostWed May 27, 2015 9:09 pm 
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Just wait till everyone and their mother starts carrying Seahawks paraphanelia up there. That's when the real fun begins.

Hilarious report - haven't laughed that hard in a while  rotf.gif
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GaliWalker
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Have camera will use
PostWed May 27, 2015 9:13 pm 
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Excellent report! Some nice photos too, of the misty trees. up.gif

I can understand why they wanted to emasculate Mailbox Peak, but this is pretty sad: I used to regularly go up during spring, mostly mid-week prior to heading in to work. It was my go-to conditioning hike. It was also the place where I tweaked the way I handled steep descents. If I didn't slip once on the way down I was pretty happy. From the photos, now it looks like just another Mt Si. down.gif

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'Gali'Walker => 'Mountain-pass' walker
bobbi: "...don't you ever forget your camera!"
Photography: https://www.flickr.com/photos/shahiddurrani/albums
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Redwic
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PostWed May 27, 2015 9:21 pm 
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A new TAH trip report?!?!?!
We're not worthy! We're not worthy! We're not worthy!
borank.gif  borank.gif  borank.gif

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"Revolutions are not overnight. The heightist mindset has minimally a 100 year head start. Eventually the climbing community will embrace geocaching." -Paul Michelson
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tmatlack
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PostThu May 28, 2015 2:17 am 
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"I haven't seen this much male pattern baldness since the last Miss Tukwila beauty pageant."

Damnit!  Pissed myself on that one.  Gotta go change the ole Depends!

Tom
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iron
getting old



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getting old
PostThu May 28, 2015 9:19 am 
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The Angry Hiker wrote:
Well, it was all I could do to keep from running her through with my trekking pole.

this would make for an interesting story.

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man, you go through life, you try to be nice to people, you struggle to resist the urge to punch 'em in the face, and for what?

--- moe sizlack
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Slide Alder Slayer
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PostThu May 28, 2015 9:42 am 
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"We are Legion," I just saw Ghost Rider for the 10th time last night. Good to have you back!
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Hutch
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PostThu May 28, 2015 9:49 am 
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Any TAH rant is a good rant.

But I'm still kind of perplexed what all the fuss is about. Miss the physical challenge of the old trail? It's still there for you to use. Are you pissed off at the amount of crowds up there? It's not like this was some secret location in the first place - the summit was a zoo on weekends even before the new trail. Regardless of your feelings on the subject, this hike is a 45 minute drive from a major metropolis full of outdoor recreation enthusiasts. Mt. Si is basically at capacity - developing other trailheads for the masses will help redistribute pressure. I don't like crowds either - that's why I don't do hikes like this anymore and do one of the literally dozens of surrounding hikes that don't have as many people.
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