Monday, June 11, 2012

Ridge Trail via Miranda (partial loop)

Time: 1 hr 15 min
Distance: 2.66 miles (total out and back)

Ridge Trail is surely one of the most loved and most used Galbraith routes. The path is one of the first to dry out in the summer, and from the ridge line you're treated to occasional views of Bellingham and the bay. I've heard of people doing a night-climb up here to watch the 4th of July fireworks in the bay - I may try that this year and bring my tripod.

This day I parked in the Birch Street parking lot, and took the switchbacks of the Miranda trail up to the ridge. Lots of housing development going on here, as well as on Birch Falls Drive and Bonanza Street. The developers seem to be making allowances for the trails though, and in the case of Bonanza have created a crushed-gravel walkway into the trail system.

I enjoy Miranda as an access point for Ridge Trail. The switchbacks are steep, but walking alongside the immense moss-covered rock walls makes the climb a worthwhile effort.

An alternative route into Ridge Trail is to turn left on Birch Falls Drive, then look for the stairwell rising on the right, which puts you right at the start of Ridge Trail (avoiding Miranda).

Ridge Trail intersects twice with logging roads - going up I like to take the first logging road branching to the left, which deteriorates nicely into a pleasant walking path. It eventually connects with road 1030 which leads to a kiosk that marks the end of Ridge Trail. Then I follow the more windy trail on the ridge back to Birch Street; this is where the views present themselves.

The kiosk is a junction of four major Galbraith trails: Ridge Trail, Upper Bob's, Family Fun Center, and Cedar Dust. When my girls were in elementary school we would walk up the ridge or Lower/Upper Bob's, with the goal of reaching the kiosk. It's a four-mile walk from my house to the kiosk and back - a good stretch for the little girls.

On this day we spotted two turkey vultures circling overhead, then coming to rest in a nearby tree branch.

RunKeeper's embedded maps are not working; it's an iframe issue and has been reported in their support forums for over a year. Crazy for them not to fix this basic feature; I may switch to MapMyRun or some other service just because of this problem. In the meantime, I'm embedding a screenshot of the map of the route.
The elevation gain is mild, with the steepest part being the Miranda entry point from the Birch Street trailhead parking. It's your classic up-and-out, down-and-back Galbraith route.

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