Mailbox Peak

Mailbox Peak. 22 by 5 inches.

This morning I joined my fearless trail-running buddies Ben and Ahmed for a power hike and trail-run to legendary Mailbox Peak near North Bend. It was my first visit to this popular hiking destination, and I was excited to squeeze in some sketching time when we reached the snowcapped mountain top. We went up the old, steep and scary trail, which takes you up 4,000 feet in less than three miles, and came down on the new, flatter and safer trail —I’m a total outdoors newbie, can you tell?

That mailbox at the top is said to have been hauled up there decades ago by a local hiker who had a day job as a carrier. It is all covered with stickers and I saw some written notes inside and a snack bar someone may have left for a hungrier visitor.

My sketching time was brief, but enough to get a picture going and finish it later from memory. On the spot, I used a pencil to outline the mailbox, the rocks and the mountain ridges, and my trusty angle brush to add a few layers of watercolor that took forever to dry in the chilly weather. Back in my little home studio in the afternoon, I added extra layers of watercolor and used Prismacolor pencils to better define shapes and textures. I’m pleased with the result and can’t wait for the next hiking and sketching adventure.

The wilderness as a subject matter is growing on this urban sketcher.

Photos by Ben Luedke.