I've decided that my trip reports need more, mostly because to me, they are so much more than just a walk on a trail to a place. My hikes and runs and outdoor experiences have been so healing and important to me, especially in the last year or so of difficult living, and throughout my recovery. I think it's important for me to bring to these posts a little bit more of the meat of what goes on for me, on the trail. My hope is that others will realize the importance of being in nature in their own lives, and find healing or growth of their own, as I have.
That being said, holy moley was this a hard hike! Mailbox Peak is a pretty iconic local adventure, and every year (especially since the new, easier trail was built), thousands make their way up to check the mail. This was my first time! Usually the thoughts of the hoardes of people and the packed parking lot turn my thoughts to other trails, but this one's been popping up for me lately, so I took that to mean that I needed to go to there.
I took the old trail on the way up. 2.5 brutal miles with 4000 feet of elevation gain. At some points I was essentially climbing tree root mini-ladders, searching for the markers nailed to the trees so as not to wander off like so many have in the past. It was the ultimate in walking meditation, my mind was blank but for the marching orders I was sending to my worn out feet and exhausted muscles. It was grueling, but I found the mental stillness very soothing.
Near the top I fell in with a nice fellow solo hiker and distracted myself from the pain with some friendly conversation. And then the views. Oh the glorious views! Peaks still glowing with snow, intermittent sunlight and the passing shadows of the clouds floating by. Magnificent!
The top was crowded and folks lined up to have their picture taken with the mailbox herself, packed full of trinkets and messages. After a few minutes of rest and rehydration, I decided I'd better get going before my tired legs overwhelmed my brain and I decided to take a nap or just move in.
The new trail on the way down was wide and far less steep than the old, but it still seemed to take forever to get down. It was a long but fabulous day, and I really felt like I'd accomplished something for myself by the time I got back to the car.
Plus now that I've done it, I never have to come back! HA!