Thursday, August 16, 2012

Loop: Meatgrinder via Pipeline; return via Bob's Trail and Karma

Distance: 4.2 miles
Time: 1 hour 40 minutes

Here are trail notes from a hike I walked a week ago, on August 7th. The singular purpose of this hike is to walk Meat Grinder trail - a short trail that cuts eastward from Pipeline trail on the north side of Galbraith.

We are nearing completion of our goal to walk all of the 95 trails on Galbraith by the end of the summer. I've mapped out seven remaining hikes after this one, to cover the last ten or so trails.

We start the hike at Lopez right-of-way on the east side of Yew Street. (See directions to Galbraith access points.) It's a comfortable, cool morning for a hike, with high grey clouds overhead. The puddles that often settle in Lopez right-of-way have dried up after our past few hot days.

Following Lopez, we reach Pipeline trail at 0.4 miles, 8 minutes. Here we follow Pipeline straight south.

Raney skirts the small puddles on Lopez right-of-way.

Looking southward on Pipeline trail. Steep ascent ahead!
In a few minutes we go past the end of Lower Bob's trail on the left. We continue following Pipeline, which is in its steepest stretch here.

At 1.3 miles, 28 minutes, we go by the junction where the left fork goes to the north side kiosk (Checkpoint Kilo). We proceed on Pipeline, which now starts its long descent towards Samish Way. We're getting close now and are keeping our eyes open for signs of Meat Grinder trail.

Approaching the fork that leads to north-side kiosk.

Looking over our shoulder at the north's bay view.
Before long, at 1.5 miles, 32 minutes, Pipeline starts to bend to the right, and we think we've found Meat Grinder. It's a narrow trail that exits Pipeline to the left, just past a sign marked "28". There are a few red ribbons that can be spotted here.

Meat Grinder is ascending in this direction. It's pretty evident that this trail has not been used for a while; it's quite overgrown. Raney and I are picking up speargrass as we walk along, and navigating our route around branch piles in a few places.

After our brambly walk through Meat Grinder, it takes us to a logging road. (1.7 miles, 41 minutes.) We turn left here to find an entry point to Cedar Dust trail. After a bit of wandering, we come to the well-defined Cedar Dust trail. Turning left, heading back towards the north side kiosk on Cedar Dust.

Cedar Dust is one of the more popular and well-used trails on Galbraith. It's always a pleasure to hike it.

We reach the Checkpoint Kilo kiosk at 2.2 miles, 55 minutes. From here, there are only two ways to get down to Lopez right-of-way. One way is to take the logging road down to Pipeline and re-trace our steps. The other way is the much more interesting Bob's Trail, and we choose that route to make a loop out of our journey today.

In half a mile, we're at the end of Upper Bob's, and we follow Bob's Road which is a flat straightaway. In a hundred yards or so, we turn right to get on Lower Bob's trail.

Bob's Road, in between Upper and Lower Bob's.

We come to the end of Lower Bob's at 3.3 miles, 1 hour 21 minutes. It terminates at Pipeline, where we turn right to continue our descent to Lopez right-of-way.

Lower Bob's, exiting out to Pipeline trail.

On the way down Pipeline, we decide to take Karma which is a nice shady side-trail. We often see woodpeckers on Karma, and today they are working industriously on a couple of old fir trees.

At 4.2 miles, 1 hour 40 minutes, we're back at Lopez right of way, and heading up Yew Street to home. I wouldn't recommend Meat Grinder as a destination trail, but once it's cleared it is a useful connector for getting between Pipeline and Cedar Dust trails.

Stick-chewing break on Karma.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Loop: Orient Express, Candy via SST, return via Family Fun Center and Ridge Trail

Distance: 4.75 miles
Time: 2 hours

Today we're off to hike Orient Express and Candy trails, going in from the north side of Galbraith.

We start at Birch Street parking lot, and walked up Birch Falls Drive to get to the start of Back Door trail. (See Galbraith access points for directions.)

At 0.7 miles, 16 minutes from the parking lot, we reach the end of Back Door trail and are now on the Back Door-SST Connector trail. Raney enjoys wetting her paws in the creek on the way up.

Soon we're on SST from the Connector trail. It's here that SST is marked with Do Not Enter signs. It's a one-way directional trail with riders descending at high speeds.

Hopefully on this weekday, even with the sunshine, there won't be much bike traffic out here. As soon as we can, we'll split off to The Old Up and get off SST's descending trail.

At 1.1 miles, 23 minutes, we reach a junction where an unnamed trail branches out to the left. That trail heads out eastward and ends up back on Powerline. At this point, on the right, is the narrow trail known as The Old Up - and that's where we head.

At 1.2 miles, 27 minutes, we come out to logging road and take a little dogleg left, which keeps us on the Old Up. (Turning left here would take us to Checkpoint Lima.)

We get through this upper part of the Old Up. It's slightly overgrown with thornbushes, blackberry vines, and stinging nettle all trying to tug at my shirt in different places. But it's a well-defined path nevertheless.

We come out onto an opening, and we're approaching Road 1240. Not far from here, SST will break away to the left.

At 1.6 miles, 37 minutes, we come to Road 1240, and here we branch away to the left to stay on SST. SST will run parallel to Road 1200 for a ways.

We're heading eastward now on SST. After some sharp climbing, SST levels out into a gentle ascent, and then a descent as it parallels Road 1200. It's a great walking trail, and I occasionally see hikers on this one.

At 1.8 miles, 44 minutes, we come to a tee. Going left goes to an orphaned road; turning right would go to Road 1200. We continue straight on SST.

At 2 miles, 48 minutes, we're at the end of SST, and at an important junction of trails here on Galbraith.
If we turn right, we'd be on Road 1200. To the left: 1200 Connector heads towards 3 Bears. Going straight would lead to Golden Spike. A slight dogleg left leads to Orient Express, and that's our destination today.

At 2.2 miles, 56 minutes, the trail is joined by Golden Spike coming in on the right. We continue straight, southward towards Road 2600.

Shortly, we're on Road 2600. We could cut across the road and continue on Golden Spike up towards Galbraith's old cabin. Today, though, we're turning Right on 2600, and then in a few steps turning right on 2600 Connector.

We're descending from here. There's a bit of logging debris here, with branches strewn across the path in different areas. Before long we see the trail going to the right. It's pretty much blocked by branches, which we scramble over.

At 2.5 miles, 1 hour 5 minutes, we come to junction where we take a sharp left turn to get us onto Candy trail. Candy is descending in this direction. It's paralleling Golden Spike; I can see bikers on it not too far away.

Candy is a bit overgrown in places. At one point Candy almost intersects with Golden Spike; then it veers away southward. It's fairly overgrown, it doesn't look this is heavily used by bikers recently. It seems that the preferred route is Golden Spike these days.

At 2.9 miles, 1 hour 20 minutes, we come out at the end of Candy, where an old broken sign sits. We turn right here on 2600 Connector.

Shortly, we then turn left on 1200 and head down to Wallace & Gromit trail.

Just a few steps past a big pile of logs, at 3 miles, 1 hour 22 minutes, we find the entrance to Wallace & Gromit. It's easy to miss, but if you look sharply you can see a small sign shortly up the trail.

At 3.2 miles, 1 hour 27 minutes, we come to the end of Wallace & Gromit. Wallace & Gromit is a bit more overgrown with blackberry vines than I remember it from the last time I hiked it a few weeks ago. I speculate that bikers are more often using Appendix to get to Family Fun Center.

At 3.4 miles, 1 hour 35 minutes, we reach the north-side kiosk marked as Checkpoint Kilo. From here, we take Ridge Trail down towards the parking lot.

At 4.3 miles, 1 hour 52 minutes, we reach the end of Ridge Trail. We cross Powerline and follow Birch Street trail, then Miranda trail out to the Birch Street parking area.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Galbraith Wall map - August 2nd edition

Here's the latest wall map showing progress in our goal to hike every trail on Galbraith. There are 95 trails on the mountain and we've hiked 84 of them since mid-June.

I have about eight hikes to go to cover the remaining 11 trails. Four of them are long (5+ mile) hikes, and four of them will be shorter excursions. I want to hike with my family on the last outing, to make it a bit of a celebration. I'm saving Bunny Trails for that hike, I think, or perhaps Straw/Sticks/Bricks trails.

I've also come up with a list of my favorite Galbraith view hikes and a few other highlights of my trail travels over this summer on the mountain. 

Here are some previous pictures of the wall map over the past few weeks:

The wall map is an enlargement of the excellent WHIMPS trail map. You can get a copy of that from local biking and running stores, or online from WHIMPS

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Through-hike: Supercross and Papa Bear via Tower Road and Keystone Road; out via SST and Ridge Trail

Distance: 7.4 miles
Time: 3 hours

It's clear and sunny in Bellingham and, with a high of 75 degrees, it's the most beautiful of summer days. On our agenda today is a through-hike of Galbraith - entering from its southern end and coming out at the Birch Street parking lot in the north.

Mt Baker provides a backdrop to Road 4000.

Starting in the south end at Padden Trails parking lot, we go by the kiosk labeled Checkpoint Alpha at 0.5 miles, 11 minutes from the parking lot. (See directions to Galbraith access points.)

Raney cools her paws off in the muddy ditch.

Ascending the logging roads, we go by blue rock junction, where we break away to the right on Road 3000. (1.4 miles, 27 minutes.) A half-mile later we're at red rock junction, where Road 3000 continues off to the right toward the summit. We turn left here on Road 4000 towards Keystone area. (2 miles, 37 minutes.)

Mullet trailhead off of Road 4000.

Working our way up Road 4000, we go by the entrance on the left to Mullet trail. We walk by Road 4100 that climbs away sharply to the right. I'm shedding layers of clothing as we continue our ascent up these logging roads.

Ahead, we're treated to views of Mount Baker, rising majestically in front of us. There are also occasional views behind us of Bellingham Bay.

Views from the Keystone area on Road 4000.

At 2.6 miles, 52 minutes, we're at Keystone junction. Road 4000 meets here with Roads 4010 and 4200. if we continued on 4000, it would take us towards Sudden Valley. Instead, we go straight which puts us on Road 4200. We take that up towards the Supercross trail area.

Raney at Keystone junction.

Soon we go past the fallen trees on Road 4200; to the right is the somewhat obscured entrance to Supercross. One of our favorite trails, Supercross descends gently through its scenic wooded route. Supercross is the most eastern path on Galbraith.

Entrance to Supercross trail.

At 3.2 miles, 1 hour 6 minutes, we come out of Supercross onto Road 2700. Turning left, we follow this for a half-mile or so. We bypass Devilcross trail on the left, and shortly we go by road 2720, also on the left.

Most of Road 2700 is mostly flat or gently inclining. The last bit is steeper as we approach Road 2000, which we meet at 3.9 miles, 1 hour 22 minutes. This is exactly where we were earlier in the week when we hiked Lost Soul; I can see that trail exiting to the left. Today we turn right on Road 2000, which is descending in this direction of travel.

Fresh deer tracks on Road 2700.

Shortly we come to Scooby Doo on the left (not labeled on our 2012 Galbraith map), and Papa Bear on the right. Papa Bear is a delightful trail. Deep in the woods, it's decorated with ferns and fairly old-growth fir trees. The well laid-out trail twists back on itself over and over again as it travels northward.

We make a short stop here as I inspect some blister issues on my left foot. Ouch - it's going to be a painful walk out today.

GPS close-up view of Papa Bear trail's twists and turns.

A biker comes by and it looks like she is having so much fun on her bike. This is an appealing trail - not too daunting, just a picturesque path that rolls along pleasantly. I can see why it's the favorite trail of several mountain bikers that I've spoken with.

At 4.6 miles, 1 hour 46 minutes, we come to the end of Papa Bear. At this point our plan is to hike Baby Bear trail - but the trail is overgrown and doesn't look like it has been ridden or hiked in a while. We wander into it a bit but it's not a usable or pleasant trail at this time.

So instead we head south on Road 2000, and then turn right on Road 2800, labeled "270" on a small sign. (4.8 miles, 1 hour 53 minutes.) It's a steep climb up Road 2800.

We come to Road 2810 - really a narrow path - where we turn left. This is a nice path, well-traveled by mountain bikers. It comes to a tee-junction with 1200 Connector. We turn right to head towards SST.

At 5.5 miles, 2 hours 12 minutes, we come to the point where 1200 Connector meets Road 1200. This is an important Galbraith junction - and a bit confusing as there are some orphaned trails that also intersect here. If we turn left, we'd be following Orient Express. Another unnamed trail to the left goes toward Golden Spike and Candy. Going straight goes to Road 1200. And finally, veering to the right goes to SST trail - and that's where we head. 

End of 1200 Connector and a major Galbraith trail junction.

SST parallels Road 1200 for a while before turning northward. SST forks in a few places; most of those lead to orphaned trails. Generally we stay left so that we continue paralleling Road 1200. This is the only part of SST trail that I've haven't been on so far, so it's good to cover this and be able to mark off SST as a hiked trail.

Descending SST, we come to Checkpoint Lima at 6.3 miles, 2 hours 28 minutes. Today we turn left here to head towards Ridge Trail.

Descending SST.
Checkpoint Lima off of SST trail.

Water break!

In ten minutes we connect with Ridge Trail. We turn right and head towards Birch Street trail, and Miranda trail.

We end our through-hike at the Birch Street parking lot. The last couple of miles were pretty painful with blisters; I need to treat those before our next long hike. Despite that, it's been a great day and at 7.4 miles, 3 hours, a satisfying hike across Galbraith Mountain.