Monday, June 11, 2012

Goal: hike every trail on Galbraith

Galbraith Mountain - actually named North Lookout Mountain - is a rocky heap of moss, roots, ferns, and dense growths of fir, pine, and birch. Stretching across 3,000 acres, the land is criss-crossed by old logging roads, most of which are abandoned and overgrown. Draped between the roads is the weft and warp of many single-track mountain biking trails.

Located on the outskirts of Bellingham, Washington, the mountain looms just outside my backyard. For years it has been a beloved and convenient escape for me into the woods. On many trails, canopied avenues of birch provide welcome shade in the summer, and a layer of cover from rainshowers in our other seasons.

I can often walk for miles on Galbraith without seeing another soul except for Raney, my golden retriever. Galbraith provides a healing dose of human solitude amidst its thriving life of plants, trees, birds, and wildlife.

On other days, especially weekends, the snaking trails are dotted with mountain bikers. It's almost always a pleasant exchange as they coast by and we trade greetings. It's great fun to see them drop and bounce as they descend.

I've walked, run, and biked on various parts of the mountain, returning repeatedly to the old familiar trails close to my home: Ridge Trail, Upper and Lower Bob's, and Karma. My travels recently have been on foot, as I recover from surgery and continue a battle with cancer.

I intend for this blog to be a record of a goal I've set for myself: to hike every trail on Galbraith Mountain. There are currently 95 named trails on Galbraith, plus 51 numbered logging roads. There are about 50 miles of trails in all. As many of those trails involve a hike on other trails to get to them, I estimate it'll take about 200 miles of hiking for me to cover every trail. 

In progressing with this goal, I'll force myself to branch off from those comfortable trails where I know my way around, and discover new pathways in this great outdoor playground that I am so thankful to enjoy.

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