Things are a bit stressful. One job closed, one job eliminated, one job still having me come in. Working in the city, newspaper reports and podcasts being far too serious, bills keep showing up…
It is safe to say that I need to take a hike every now and then.
You would think that my hike earlier in the month would have been enough to scare me away. Things like encountering black bears often nudge people towards safety. That would be the logical response. Apparently I am shirking responsible behavior. Oh well.
In all fairness, I am pretty sure the bear was just a cub. It seemed like it only had about fifty pounds on me as opposed to several hundred. I stood there by the creek, taking in this critter form twenty-five feet away, when the bear ran away from me. I thought about taking a picture but that is how one ends up in the hospital. We parted peacefully and without souvenirs (such as photos or claw marks).
I was healthy, I had free time, yet my apartment tempted me. Laziness is a powerful non-motivator. I knew my knees would hurt because the hike I had planned was the hardest route one can take without climbing gear. In roughly two miles you go up about four thousand feet. By the time one scrambles up the scary rocks at top, they wonder who the designed this hike. (Madmen, that is who.)
The trail features mountain flowers that one must respect. Yes, you walked all the way up. However these plants live there. They thrive in rocky terrain. They give all the flies and bees a reason to mingle. It would be wrong to pick them. (Though I will pic them.)
At the very top is a curiosity. Sure, it is called Mailbox Peak. I understand that. But since when have there been two mailboxes up there? It raises questions that I can only answer with theories.
Why the Sam Hill Mailbox Peak Needs Two Mailboxes:
-The ladder and fire hydrant moved out so there was some acreage left over.
-Portland had gotten too comfy in its weirdness label and we wanted to challenge them for the title.
-The Starbucks model of crowding the market was too powerful to resist.
-One is for express mail. Bald eagles are on the USPS logo, now we are putting them to work in the mountains.
-That line to take photos on Everest? We did not want that to happen here. So we created a second mailbox to cut down on customer wait times.
-We listed and relisted and relisted it on Craig’s List and the darn thing would not sell. We finally offered it for free. Nobody took it. It was a perfectly good mailbox. The next logical move was to install it on the top of a mountain. Why do you ask?
-The first mailbox was full.
-“We are instituting a new loyalty program for our most valued customers. Now, get all the perks you have been yearning for in this new, especially reserved mailbox, not available to others. Act today!”
-They received too many complaints that the black mailbox clashed with peoples’ jackets when taking photos for their online profiles. The second mailbox, painted white, was added to satisfy selfie demands.
-Why? Chicken thigh. And you know what? Chicken butt.
-Now, the next time the guy takes his friend hiking, and the friend gets all whiny about how hard the trek is, the main hiker can reply, “Hey, at least this time I’m not making you lug a mailbox up a mile and a half tall mountain!” Then the second hiker will grumble, roll his eyes, and take a swig of water instead of yelling at his hiking friend. (When invited to go hiking a third time, the hiking friend will find an excuse not to. “Gotta paint the bedroom that day”, he’ll blatantly fib. Nobody likes hiking with a crazy person.)
-Look, you have all been making comments while getting your bums up this mountain that you are like Frodo and Sam, right? How you are struggling over fields of boulders to finish your epic quest, right? Well there were two towers. Not one. Two. We gave you a second mailbox. You should be thanking us. Nerds. And hey, they did all that in bare feet. Suck it up!
-In these highly charged political times, we believe that the public should have access to as many choices and options as possible.
-People have a lot of free time these days. Antics ensue. Whatchya gonna do?
A lot of exercise. A mighty struggle. An outdoor fix. And yes, a dash of the absurd. Not a terrible way to spend a day off.
Let us leave with a formal acknowledgement of Mount Rainier. There is no more acceptable use of the word, “awesome” than Rainier surrounded by blue sky. Views like this are why I take a hike.