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Mailbox Peak

Mailbox Peak

Another day, another hike to the top of a mountain for a mailbox...

My friend Katie has been bugging me to go hiking with her, especially since she's graduating this week. Of course, my schedule has been completely off from hers, but we finally found a day that worked and picked Mailbox Peak for our hike.

Katie is one of my favorite people I have had the opportunity to meet at UW. We lived together during the summer of 2015 and instantly hit it off. She is hands down one of the funniest people I know, but also one of the kindest and most caring. She's basically like the older sister I've never had.

She picked me up bright and early in her cute little blue VW bug and we drove to beautiful North Bend on a sunny Seattle day.

Side note: North Bend is one of the best little towns in Washington. Just about 45 minutes (without traffic) to Seattle and completely immersed in nature. We winded our way through the town to the trailhead.

Mailbox Peak is regarded as one of the most difficult hikes in the area. I knew this going in, Katie had some knowledge of this. Basically, we just tried to avoid thinking about it and hit the muddy trail.

We opted for the new trail, five miles one way, but a MUCH gentler incline as opposed to the old trail, a steep 3 mile ascent. Most of the hike up was densely wooded, but there were little glimpses of the valley below.

Continuing on, we could see more and more blue sky peaking through the pine trees, closer and closer to the mailbox at the top. We emerged from the woods to a boulder field with Mount Rainier in the distance.

The view was incredible. We could see all of North Bend in the distance with roads cutting through the land.

The boulder field turned out to be the fun part. It was a great change of pace to be climbing/scrambling instead of slugging up a steep dirt path. Katie and I, however, were disillusioned with the idea that the mailbox was at the top of these boulders. Oh no, we still had a about a quarter of a mile left to hike up the most abrupt incline I've ever seen. It had to be a 40 percent grade - at the very least. 

We trudged up, taking breaks when necessary. For me, those breaks were quite frequent. Trust me I was not this happy at this point.

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Right at the top, though, was the famed mailbox perched on the rocks in all of its glory.

Not to mention completely decked out in stickers and flags.

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Katie and I found a nice little spot and devoured our lunches. AndI mean devoured. Those sandwiches were gone within ten minutes of our summit.

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The view for lunch wasn't too shabby either. It's really, really hard to beat a view like this.

After eating and wiping off all of the sweat, we decided check out what all of the fuss was about with this mailbox.

Katie, since she is graduating, had the brilliant idea to bring up one of her graduation announcements and put it in the mailbox. Gotta send out the mail!

I was curious if she wrote anything in it, so I asked. She opened it and read off her announcement.  As she finished with reading off her accomplishment of completing a masters degree in Occupational Therapy, a few people overheard and started clapping. Soon enough Katie had a little crowd cheering for her as she sent out her mail. I'm super happy and grateful I had the opportunity share this moment. It's one of those where you can tell people about it, but you truly had to be there to experience the magic.

It's going to be weird not having Katie around next year. Even though we've only known each other for a short year, she's one of the best people I've had the opportunity to meet and call my friend here at UW. Everything from watching the Bachelor to taking me to my first bar on my 21st birthday, we've had so many good memories and laughs. I'm excited for her future. She always reminds me that I'm stuck with her for ever and I am so thankful for that because I don't know what I'd do without her.

Congrats Katie!

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