TL;DR | We hiked the super steep Old Trail to Mailbox Peak, enjoyed great company, and faced reality when someone broke into our car and stole a lot of non-essentials.

We crossed back into the US at the Freedom Arch and headed straight for Pike Place – not for the coffee, but for the company of Stephen’s cousins who happened to be visiting town.  The oysters, calamari, and fresh salmon were a welcome injection of classiness and the timing for us to meet up couldn’t have worked better.

Our hosts for the weekend were Alice and Ross, who provided wine and great hospitality in addition to ideas for our big hike. The one climb Alice told us not to make was Mailbox Peak, since she’d previously done it and despite her athleticism struggled to keep up with some fast friends and the steep slopes. The Old Trail is no longer maintained and winds a short 2.5 miles up an enormous 4,000 feet for the distance. It’s called the Old Trail since a newer, longer, and less steep trail is now recommended for visitors…but we weren’t about to cheat the true incline. While Alice had been adamant about not wanting to repeat this climb and we had instead determined to do Mt. Si, the morning of saw her make an abrupt switch back to Mailbox, as the crowds on the very popular Mt. Si would probably be more annoying than going straight up. Alice knew what she was getting herself into, while the rest of us (Stephen, Emily, and Alice’s roommate Kayvon, did not). Emily pushed us at a good pace, and we were exhausted upon reaching the top. While at the peak we admired a stunning panorama of Mount Rainier and watched some fellow hikers hide a few Smirnoff Ices in the mailbox some crazy soul had carried to the peak and installed. In the course of hiking Stephen tweaked his knee and Alice her ankle from the constant, stair-like climbing motions, so after our glorious Old Trail summiting we hobbled down the wimpy new trail.

Since the trail stretched only 2.5 miles each way, Emily and I brought only 1L of water each – big mistake. Typically we carry multiple Nalgenes plus Platypus collapsible bottles, but typically we hike longer distances. When we returned to the car we raced to the nearest Scott’s Dairy Freeze to fill and refill our water bottles a couple times each and order large swirl cones as a summiting reward.

The next morning we contemplated going to Portland as planned and instead extended our Seattle stay by a day. Unfortunately someone broke into our car (which was parked in a residential area) overnight and stole hiking boots, prescription glasses, and other useful but replaceable goods; we dedicated much of the morning to filing a police report and reordering the lost items.

On a brighter note, we visited the Stephen’s company’s Seattle office and said hello to the team before admiring the public market and walking around the downtown area. We met up with Alice near her office at the University of Washington, spent a lazy afternoon again recovering from the crazy climb, and then rallied for happy hour at a local Mexican restaurant.

The remainder of the night consisted of wine, cheese, and watching the American gymnasts dominate on the 4k television. The rest and high resolution were both appreciated.