Friday, May 23, 2014

Mailbox Peak again

Saturday was another training hike for Mt. Rainier; just like two weeks ago, another trip up Mailbox Peak. This time, I was able to convince Ryan to join me for his first trip up the six mile round-trip hike.

It was quite cloudy and very limited visibility the whole way up. Luckily, just as we were reaching the summit, it started clearing up, and we could see the Snoqualmie River Valley below:

It opened up significantly in the 20-30 minutes between when we hit the opening on our way up and when we got back into the forest on the way down. Ryan captured a few shots of the mountains south of the Snoqualmie River. Mount Rainier would be approximately in the middle of this shot were it not for the clouds.

I've done Mailbox Peak three times before: once in September 2012, March 2014 and early May 2014. And now, mid-May 2014:

On my way down last time, I came across four twenty-somethings carrying bags of rice up the mountain. They said they were training for Tough Mudder. Very near the top of the mountain, I came across this nearly full bag of rice:

I can't say with absolute certainty that these people left the rice here, but a good number of other hikers I met on Sunday said they were there two Saturdays prior (the day before I and the Tough Mudders were there), and they hadn't seen the rice. The timing seems to indict them.

At the top, there was another bag right next to the mailbox. I loaded the bag up into my backpack (which was already laden-down with 25lbs of rocks) and snapped this shot of what had previously spilled out:

Ryan and I started down the mountain, and I grabbed the first bag of rice in my arms -- carrying something on the order of 60lbs of rocks and rice down the mountain. He was kind enough to load this extra bag into his backpack, and we made it most of the way down the mountain before we decided it was too much of a burden, leaving it on the trail. I was able, however, to bring one sack all the way back to the parking lot.

I say all this because I think it's important for people that enjoy the outdoors to leave no trace. This kind of behavior -- leaving 40lbs of rice on the top of a mountain -- can negatively impact the wildlife as well as others' enjoyment of nature.


Once I got home, I had several pounds of rice that I had to empty from my backpack. None of it, however, went to the birds.