Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Mailbox Peak 2.22.05

With another spectacular day and only a short time for a hike, I chose Mailbox. I figured I could be back home in around 4 hours. My plan was to do both Mailbox and the short ridge traverse to West Defiance (pt 4926). I had tried this once before only to be shut down by intense fog. I would have no such problems today. The bottom of Mailbox is quite dry and as steep as ever. I was troubled on my time on the way up, I have been sick for the last week. I have been feeling better but I still felt pretty sapped as I slowly made my way up. I was a bit concerned about the trail being a bit slick on some of the upper portions, so I brought a 3/4 pack since I was alone and didn't expect to see anyone. I felt with the steep grade a very real possiblity of a fall, it would be best to be prepared. At about 3000ft I passsed a mother and her two young ones. I was quite impressed to see pre-teens on such a demanding climb. It spurred me on to see this as I pressed on. At around 3400ft the trail became intermittent with some glare ice. It was suprisingly passable. I dropped my pack around 3800ft on a great sun soaked spot. I gave some thought to just staying there, but decided to stick it out a bit longer. I reached the rock slide that was mostly melted out and seemed the easiest way to go on. I climbed 2/3 of the way up to notice that the beagle wasn't quite interested in the rockslide. I did not have enough time to reach the summit as it was, so I decided that the only option was to return to my pack. I sometimes forget to take some time to enjoy the areas I love so much. So much time and effort goes into the ""getting there"" . It felt really nice just to take 15 minutes to soak up the sun and scenery. I carefully made my way down the slick portions and made some good time on the remainder. I noticed alot of the trees are worn smooth from people using them to pull themselves up as well as slowing themselves down. I can always tell a steep trail when my legs seem to have to work harder on the way down than on the way up. I did pass two seperate solo climbers on the way down.

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