Directions to the Mailbox

by Dr. Bill Sunderland

Drive I-90 east to exit 34 (Edgewick Road). Turn left onto 486 Ave SE. Drive a short distance to a "T" in the road. Turn right onto SE Middle Fork Road. When the road comes to a "Y" and forks into SE Middle Fork Road and SE Lake Dorothy Road you may take either, but the Lake Dorothy Road is usually closed off. The two roads will meet again eventually. Where they meet there is a stop sign on the Middle Fork Road. Run the stop sign and turn to the left. Very shortly there after you will come upon an old clear-cut on the hillside on the right side of the road. Park in an area off the left side of the road. In the clear-cut you will see a gravel road blocked by a yellow gate guarded by munchkins. Hike past the gate up the road keeping to the right at a "Y" in the road. Soon the road will re-enter forest. Keep an eye on the left side of the road looking for the usually unmarked trail head. If you come to a stream passing through a culvert under the road you have gone about 100' to far. As luck would have it I visited my dentist Karen D. Sakuma D.D.S. last week and her hygienist Marsha gave me a new tooth brush (not that I don't buy them on my own, I usually buy a new one every three months or so). So anyhow I had my old tooth brush with me and that is now marking the trail head as per tradition. So look for a Crest complete tooth brush with a black and blue handle with soft bristles stuck in the ground at the trail head. If you see any other type of tooth brush it's the wrong trail. Make sure you test the bristles with your thumb to ensure they are soft bristles. Don't rely on the color alone to identify the tooth brush.

So now you're on the trail. The trail passes through second growth forest. Listen for the sound of enchanted wood-nymphs playing their well lubricated Sousaphones. Don't expect to see them though, they bury themselves up to their necks in the mud and place manure on their heads to disguise themselves so people won't step on them. They play old Gilbert and Sullivan show tunes -- badly. Expect to hear a few bars of "Three Little Maids from School" from the Mikado played over and over. When you reach a stream do not cross it. For God's sake whatever you do, do not cross it. The trail clearly turns to the left and heads away from the stream, so don't cross the stream. Only a very stupid person would cross that stream. If you do cross the stream, throw these instructions away, they won't help you anymore. Now that you haven't crossed the stream (I sure hope you didn't cross that stream) follow the trail, still flat for a short distance. Ignore the fresh meat hanging from trees, they're just there to attract grizzly bears. The local chapter of the Brownie Scouts has been collecting sperm samples from the grizzly bear population for a 4-H club science project. This means the male grizzlies are fairly docile, but the sows may be a bit testy (seems backwards doesn't it). The project has had a negative impact on both the population of Grizzly bears and Brownie Scouts, but the results are expected to radically change the way we use cellophane. Soon the trail starts to go up. If you're not sure which way this is, stand, then look down at your feet. Now snap your head backwards really hard so year neck swivels 180 degrees. You are now looking up. That's where the trail goes. Now would be a good time to call a chiropractor to have your neck realigned.

The trail turns into a series of short, steep switch backs. You should be going up. If you're not going up you're going down. That's the wrong way to the Mailbox, but it's the right way away from it. .....Much, much later, after you've answered all the riddles, evaded the demented boccie ball players and finished giving Barbara Bush her sponge bath, you'll leave the forest and enter a non-forest. Don't be afraid if you haven't been in a non-forest before. It's just like a forest except there aren't any trees and usually there's some other stuff. This is a good place to get lost. Before the trail leaves the forest it can be hard to follow. If you do get lost stop and ask directions. There's a Texaco station back on 486 Ave SE. They probably won't be able to help you but you could get some beef jerky and cigarettes. So now that you're back on the trail stay on it. Don't get lost again and don't go back and cross that stream either. The trail wanders through grasses, huckleberry and shrubs working its way up to the bottom of a large rock pile. I'd like to get my hands on the pinhead who put that rock pile there. It's really in the way. If you have time move it. If you're in a hurry just move half of it for now. You can move the other half on the way back down. If you look up the rock pile you'll see a place where it stops. Go up there. Be careful though, the rocks are often wet and slippery and many of them are loose and tippy. If you're loose and tippy (and some of us are, but I won't mention any names) you won't mind this so much. But really be careful, and look out for ravenous rock rats. They'll take your feet off at the ankle with only a few dozen bites from their nasty yellow teeth. If you picked up my tooth brush on the way in you might give it them. And if you have some dental floss they could use that too.

Once you're past the rock pile you can see the summit. It's the place where the upyness stops and there's downyness all around it. Don't be tempted to stop at the souvenir shops, you can buy the same crap for less from the Hari Krishna's at the airport. Follow the trail past a small rock outcropping, past a dead, wind-blown tree named Harold and up to another rock outcropping that is the summit. Here you will find a Mailbox. The flag is always up on the Mailbox because there's always mail inside. Leave a letter, do some reading, but don't pee into the wind. Bad form. If you see any 10 foot tall, talking seagulls deny you know me, contact a lawyer.

After you've reached the summit, it might be a good idea to go back down. If people don't do this it will eventually get really crowded at the top and there won't be anybody left down here to change the oil in our cars and cook our French fries. To get back down do all the same stuff in reverse order and facing the other way or else you'll trip unless you have eyes in the back of your head in which case I think you're real creepy and I'd like to know which set of eyes you're using to read this. But remember the Boccie balls will be flying in the same direction so jump to the left every other time you hear the penguins blow their kazoos and yell "That's all folks!"

Last updated: April 4, 2001