Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Loop: Wallace & Gromit and Family Fun Center via Tetanus, SST, Road 1240, and Road 1200; return on Ridge Trail

Distance: 3.21 miles
Time: 1 hr 23 min

I hiked a loop this morning that gets up into some of the higher trails on the north side of Galbraith. I chose Wallace & Gromit trail as a turnaround point. I'll probably use a similar route to get into some of the other northside Galbraith trails - with names like Appendix, Gastric, Intestine, Esophagus, Cleavage, and no doubt other vital body parts.

It's a pleasant morning for walking, with high clouds and light sprinkles that typify so much of the hiking weather around here. I park on the side of the road at Birch Street and Birch Falls Drive. Raney and I walk up Birch Falls Drive to the Tetanus trailhead, just past the mailboxes on the road's left side.

A half mile on Tetanus brought us to Powerline, shown below, where we turn left and walk the short distance to the junction where SST branches off to the right. We reach SST in about 20 minutes from the trailhead.

I love the SST trail, it's an interesting and pleasing route through the woods. We follow it straight south, reaching the junction marked as Checkpoint Lima at about 28 minutes from our starting point. These checkpoints are located at various places in Galbraith and are used by public safety personnel to help locate injured mountain bikers. (Here's some more info on the checkpoints.)

 Near the checkpoint sign is this log with trail labels on it. We continue south on SST from here.

  Lots of spring colors and new growth in this part of the trail.

We reach the junction where SST meets Road 1240, and follow that to Road 1200. We reach Road 1200 at about 40 minutes from the trailhead - I'm pleased with that timing as we're getting close to W&G at this point.

Lots of logging activity going on these days in this part of Galbraith. An old debris pile, and a newly-harvested stack of logs lie near Road 1200. I can hear logging machinery working to the south of this area. 

Just past the timber pile, I see a small trail veering back to the right. I'm not t sure if this is the right trail until - to my surprise - I see the sign below that some considerate person had nailed up.

Wallace & Gromit is a short trail, less than a quarter mile in length. It runs into Family Fun Center which is one of the four trails leading into and terminating at the northside kiosk.

Family Fun Center crosses a small creek with this charming bridge - a good place for photos. My wife and daughters sometimes rest here with me on our walks from our home which is two miles from the kiosk.

From the kiosk (recently labeled as "Checkpoint Kilo"), we take our familiar Ridge Trail route back towards the car. 

Some shots of the overcast sky on the descent along Ridge Trail.

At the end of Ridge Trail, we opt to take the stairwell down to Birch Falls Drive, and walk back to the car from there. An alternative route would be to take Miranda trail back to the Birch Street parking area. Back at the car, Raney's happy to get her water. 

 There's about 550 feet of elevation gain in this hike, with the climb peaking at the beginning of Wallace & Gromit. From there, it's all downhill back to the starting point.

With today's hike behind me, I feel more confident about achieving the goal of hiking all Galbraith trails. Being able to get to Wallace and Grommet in about 45 minutes makes it seem very doable to hit each of the trails on the northern side of Galbraith within two hours, one-way. We shall see!

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