March 15, 2010

Hiking The Cascades (Going to The Mailbox)

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si It was about 6 months ago when I first started doing something that at one time sounded very boring.  I’m talking about hiking.  I moved to Snoqualmie in June of 2009 and it appeared that I would be in the minority if I did not take a trip up both Little and Big Si.  On my very first trip…I tripped!  I tripped coming down Big Si and broke one of my fingers.  It hurt much worse than the bee sting that I received on the way up!  Seriously, on my first real hiking experience I got a bee sting on the way up.  The little demonic beast nailed me right on my little finger.  However, after I fell and broke that finger on the way down the sting became irrelevant.  Did I mention this was a hiking trip that I had been invited on by two guys that I barely knew.  The embarrassment was the equivalent to walking through a mal for a couple of hours before realizing your pants were unzipped!  So with that being said, it may surprise you to know that I find myself addicted to hiking.

rainer I have made several trips up both Big and Little Si over the last few months, and I am even planning on climbing Mt. Rainer in July.  This means that I now have to hike with an extra 20 pounds on my back.  Eventually I will have to be able to climb Mt. Si with ease, and do so while lugging 40 pounds in a backpack…a backpack that appears to have about 2,300 sq.ft.!  Apparently this will help prepare me for the trip up Rainer that has been described as “miserable, horrible, and the most difficult thing you can do.”  I know, how can you not want to train for 6 months for something that appealing!

photo My friend Brian Dickinson of is helping me train for Rainer, and recently took me up Mailbox Peak.  The fact that he took me up Mailbox Peak should give you some insight into his sadistic nature.  You see, Brian has the body fat of a Kenyan marathoner and has climbed several mountains.  He even plans to climb Everest in 2011.  So he moves up mountains like Michael Phelps goes through water.  I on the other hand, if you will remember, look like an ox pulling a 200 pound man tilling up clay!  I do have to admit that Mailbox Peak was amazing.

Actually, it was incredible!  I absolutely loved the view, but I have to warn you that the hike seems like it will never end.  In fact, I call it the mountain the never seemed to end.  You think you are at the top about 763 times before you actually arrive.  I would recommend this hike to anyone that is in very good shape, and has a strange attraction to pain.  I would never attempt to do it alone due to the fact that the trail is very rough, and well…I have a tendency to fall.  Ever since I hit my forties I have the coordination and grace of an arthritic ox.  Coming down is truly a beating on the body and you have to watch your footing.  It is one of those hikes that you will find yourself cursing often and swearing you will never do it again.  However, by the time your soreness wears off you will be ready to go again!

Tony Russell is a co-host on 100.7 The Wolf in Seattle, WA's Fitz in The Morning! He is also a counselor and teaching pastor at and of course, a frequent contributor on He and his family are part of the Snoqualmie Ridge community.

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