I delayed my hike by a day because Friday was rainy and Saturday carried the promise of warmth and sunshine. As I headed out around 5:30 AM Saturday morning, I was disappointed to see very low clouds hugging the hills around I-90. It stayed cloudy as I drove up the forest road to the Bandera Mountain trail head. I did, however, catch a couple of deer by surprise on the forest road before finding the parking lot completely empty. Wanting to take advantage of the early start to get to the top alone, I hit the trail a few minutes before 7AM.
I literally had an entire detailed write-up completed before my PC crashed and to be honest I just don't have the motivation to create it again from scratch. I'll just say that Mailbox Peak is really tough. After a half mile walk to the proper Mailbox Peak trail, it's 4000 feet up in 2.5 miles. By comparison, Mt. Si climbs just 3200 feet in 4 miles. I took me about 2 hours 45 minutes to get to the top from my car and just under 2 hours to get from the top back to my car. My legs and my knees are in serious pain but it was awesome.
This first set of photos is from car to Mailbox Peak trail.
Typically I work 10 hour days Monday through Thursday and get a 3 day weekend. Unfortunately I have a big deadline at work and will get no weekend. So I'll have to postpone until next week. I'm planning on doing Mailbox Peak next Friday. However, I will do Bandera Mountain instead if enough snow has melted. Stay tuned...
Friday morning I drove out I-90 to exit 42 to climb up McClellan Butte. The butte is south of I-90 across from Diry Harry's Peak (though the exit for the butte is 4 miles farther). It was fairly cloudly in the early morning but the forecast indicated that would all burn off. When I got to the trailhead there was one other car there. This was a pretty good indication of the number of people I'd see. It appeared as if there had been some logging done pretty recently from the trailhead parking lot. At the sign-in box someone indicated that bears were about.