Thursday, June 28, 2012

Through-hike: Padden to Powerline via Pipeline, Banjoland, Rock & Roll, and Cedar Dust trails

Distance: 6.1 miles
Time: 2 hours 53 minutes

Another beautiful morning in Bellingham - a good day for a Galbraith through-hike. My wife shuttles me to Padden Trailhead Parking, and my plan is to go up Tower Road, hit some of the south-eastern trails, and go through Galbraith to its northern boundary on Powerline trail.

I end up re-routing and going north - for reasons explained below - exploring some new trails and covering familiar ground in Banjoland and Rock & Roll trails. 

Raney and I cross Samish Way and head up Galbraith Lane. My intention is to follow Tower Road (Road 2000). But the group of No Trespassing signs at the gate seem recent and insistent. I'm not sure if it applies to hikers and mountain bikers, and decide to check with WHIMPS, or perhaps Kulshan Cycle, on whether this is still used as an entry point to Galbraith.

Closure signs on Galbraith Lane.

So we re-route and go north on Road 1000, past the kiosk marked Checkpoint H. The plan is to follow Last Call and get over to Tower Road via Road 2020 and Meth Lab trail.

Checkpoint H kiosk.

With a bit of guesswork, we *think* we find the trail for Last Call on the right. (Distance 1.0 miles, 20 minutes.) 

Last Call trail coming off of Road 1000.

Occasional boardwalks and stunts on Last Call.
We wandered on Last Call, guessing the way on a few forks in the trail.

Eventually we come to a creek with a narrow log bridge crossing it. I think if we had crossed that bridge, we would have come to Road 2020. I decide though to reverse tracks, being a bit unsure of where I am and not completely trusting the skinny bridge.

Overlooking the creek that cuts through Last Call.

More stunts on Last Call.
More forking trails lead to this newly-created logging road, which we turn right on. It leads to a roadblock, and directly behind the roadblock is a trail... presumably more of Last Call trail. It seems that the logging activity has made the route unclear. 

Last Call meets a newly-created logging road...

...which leads to this roadblock and more of Last Call trail behind it.

We take a left at the trail, which runs parallel to Pipeline for a short while. It then meets Pipeline, and we turn right - giving up on getting to Road 2020, for now, and setting our sites on trails further north on Pipeline. 

Heading north on Pipeline.
Going past Road 1010, which cuts to the left, we take Pipeline to a pathway into the Bunny Trails and Banjoland area. (2.1 miles, 53 minutes.)

After a couple minutes of walking, the trail forks. Going left would take us to Bunny trails; we go right towards Banjoland. These are pleasant trails - smooth and rolling. It's a popular and relatively easy trail for mountain bikers.

Raney on Banjoland trail.
Partway into Banjoland, an unexpected sight: "Bob's Rest," which is a rest stop and memorial. (2.3 miles, 1 hr 3 min.) At a junction past Bob's Rest, we go right - it ends up at a loging road and we double back to Bob's Rest, taking the other fork option.

"Bob's Rest."

Banjoland trails.

We encounter a few more forks in the path, eventually coming back to Pipeline. (3.0 miles, 1 hr 26 min.)

Following Pipeline, we turn right at the trail leading off to the right. (3.2 miles, 1 hr 31 min.) In a few steps, the path comes to a tee - turning right would lead to Mole Trap. We turn left to get on Rock & Roll trail. This is one of the best trails on Galbraith - picturesque and rolling trails.

After crossing a couple of logging roads, Rock & Roll becomes Cedar Dust trail - another favorite.

Cedar Dust walkways.

Cedar Dust brings us to the kiosk (Checkpoint K), where we take a water and snack break. (4.3 miles, 2 hr 11 min.)

North kiosk (Checkpoint K)

Raney prefers her water flowing out of the bottle.
From the kiosk, we take Road 1000 west towards Pipeline.

Road 1000 from the kiosk.

Looking towards Bellingham from Pipeline trail.

The steep descent down Pipeline takes us to Lopez right-of-way. (5.6 miles, 2 hrs 40 min.) We reach Yew Street, and home with total time 2 hours 53 minutes, and 6.1 miles.

It's been a good through-hike of Galbraith trails and roads.

Elevation profile (green) shows the mostly downhill nature of this route.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Loop: Upper Bob's and Lower Bob's via Pipeline, Karma

Distance: 3.8 miles
Time: 1 hour 37 minutes

After our long hike on Monday, Raney and I took yesterday off. This morning we're back at it, and the weather is cooperating with beautiful Bellingham blue skies. We head out on a loop route to one of our favorite sets of trails: Upper Bob's and Lower Bob's. 

Raney walks along Upper Bob's trail.

Today's hike is a 3-3/4 mile loop, easily accessed from Yew Street or Alvarado Drive.
We start from home on Yew Street, and head up Lopez right-of-way. This western access into Galbraith is marked by the squared-off power pole on the side of Yew Street. An alternative way into Pipeline is to go access it from Alvarado Drive.

Entrance to Lopez right-of-way on Yew Street.

Passing through the Lopez gate into Galbraith.
Major puddles on Lopez right-of-way.

Raney on Lopez right-of-way.

More mud on Lopez.
We head up Pipeline trail. This trail heads southward right across Galbraith Mountain. On the way up, we pass by the point where Lower Bob's meets Pipeline. (Distance: 0.9 miles, 21 minutes.) Today, we continue on Pipeline.

Looking south on Pipeline. Lower Bob's trail intersects off to the left.

Looking north on Pipeline. On this clear day, Bellingham is visible in the distance.

Raney crosses the roadblock on Pipeline. (Distance: 1.3 miles, 31 minutes.)
We turn left at the unmarked logging road on the left. (Distance: 1.43 miles, 34 minutes.) Pipeline trail has a rock/gravel cover from the recent logging activity in this area.

Pipeline trail, looking south. A logging road intersects to the left and leads to the north kiosk.
Almost immediately on the left side of the road is the trail known as Bob's Road. This connecting trail goes to Upper and Lower Bob's trail.

Entrance to connector trail to Bob's Trail.
At this point, piles of logging debris are visible to the south.

Hulking piles of logging debris appear on this section of Pipeline.

Buttercups add a splash of yellow to the greenery as we near the kiosk.
The road takes us to the north kiosk, which we reach at 1.8 miles, and 44 minutes from the starting point.

North kiosk (aka Checkpoint Kilo).
Just west of the kiosk is the beginning of Upper Bob's Trail.

Looking west from the kiosk. Upper Bob's drops away to the right.

Views of Upper Bob's trail.

Mountain bike stunts on Upper Bob's.

Much of Upper Bob's lies under a shady canopy of fir bows.
After a half mile of switchbacks, the singletrack of Upper Bob's reaches the flat and smooth surface of Bob's Road. A few moments on this takes us to the turnoff for Lower Bob's. (2.3 miles, 1 hour.)

Upper Bob's meets Lower Bob's. Raney knows the way.

More shots of Lower Bob's trail.

Time for a water break, and a lick from Raney.

Sunlight peeks through on Lower Bob's.

Lower Bob's drops rapidly down towards Pipeline.

Every now and then a beam of sunlight will break through the canopy. Not often, though.

More shots of Lower Bob's trail.

Behind Raney, Lower Bob's ends at Pipeline trail.
Lower Bob's drops down steeply under picturesque canopies of birch and fir. The trail ends back at Pipeline. (2.9 miles, 1 hr 17 min.) Raney and I follow Pipeline north to Karma.

A canine encounter as we head home on Karma.
Karma connects with Lopez right-of-way and gets us home. (3.8 miles, 1 hr 37 min.)

Back at home, Raney endures her spray bath.