Friday, July 27, 2012

Loop: The Old Up, Scooby Doo, Upper Arsenio, Lower Arsenio, Esophagus, Intestine, Appendix, Family Fun Center, Ridge Trail

Distance: 5.8 miles
Time: 3 hours

After several south-side hikes, Raney and I switch gears this morning and head to the north side of Galbraith. Under cloudless skies, and with the warm air pungent with the scent of fir needles, we follow a route that takes us to six new trails on the mountain.

On the return, we hike down Ridge trail, which delivers nice views of town and the bay. It's a good day for this mostly shady route in Galbraith.

The westward view from Ridge trail - San Juan Islands and Vancouver Island.

We park in the Birch Street parking lot. From there we walk down to Birch Falls Drive and go up The Back Door trail towards SST. (See directions to Galbraith access points.)

Heading up The Back Door entrance to Galbraith.
The Back Door crosses Powerline trail at .75 miles, 18 minutes from the parking lot. We cross Powerline and take the newly-built Back Door / SST connector trail.  

Reaching SST at 0.9 miles, 22 minutes, we see a new Do Not Enter sign on the uphill direction. This is for safety reasons as mountain bikers often descend SST at high speeds.

Not having much of an alternative, we head carefully up SST. We get to the crossing of an unnamed road branching to the left, and on the right an orphaned logging road. (1.0 miles, 28 minutes.) We take the right side road. This is a good way to ascend SST, safely bypassing the bikers coming down the hills.

The road parallels SST, eventually crossing Road 1000 near Checkpoint Lima. (1.3 miles, 33 minutes.) A short dogleg to the left takes us to The Old Up trail.

Warning sign on SST. It's a downhill-only route.

Splitting off of SST to take a side road toward The Old Up.

In the dark canopy.

Crossing Road 1000 to get to The Old Up.
At various points The Old Up just about touches SST; we stay to the right and continue as it runs parallel. Right now the trail is quite overgrown, and we twist to avoid stinging nettle in a few places.

The Old Up comes to Road 1240, where we turn right. This takes us to a junction of roads, where we cross Road 1200 and go up a rutted-out logging road known as 2600 Connector. (1.8 miles, 50 minutes.)

Our plan is to head eastward on Galbraith to get to Scooby Doo trail in the Three Bears area.

The Old Up meets Road 1240.

At 1.9 miles, 55 minutes, we see Candy trail coming in from the left. We continue on 2600 Connector which is ascending steeply.

Shortly we get into an area where piles of branches engulf the road. It doesn't seem like bikers have taken this trail lately.

Soon the road tops out, and starts to descend. We see an unmarked road bearing off to the left, and we follow it, guessing that this is Road 2600.

At 2.2 miles, 1 hour 10 minutes, one of the trails coming off of Golden Spike comes in from the left. We continue right, heading roughly south. It's slow going, as the path continues to be covered in branches. 

Just past that, we encounter a junction with one path heading left (east). That's generally the direction we want to go, so we take that.

At 2.3 miles, 1 hour 14 minutes, the logged out area ends abruptly, and we continue on the path. We come to a four-way junction. The left fork sports a warning sign about no horses or hikers allowed; this might be the upper end of Candy. We turn right here to take Orient Express due south.

We soon hit Road 2600 / Arsenio Loop and turn left, heading southeast. We want to take this towards the Three Bears Area and Scooby Doo trail. 

We see a trail labeled "V-Trail" coming in on the left. It's not on our map but it must lead into the Goldilocks area. We bypass it and continue on Road 2600.

At 2.5 miles, 1 hour 24 minutes, a trail marked Goldilocks crosses the road. If we go left, we would enter the Three Bears area; going right would lead to the old cabin. We continue to follow this road until we get to Road 2000, which should fork in from the left.

The flies are bothersome today! They're landing and biting, so we make our stops as short as possible. As long as we're on the move they leave us alone.

Soon the road takes a bend to the left - and we can see the orphaned trail "Cougar" on the left.

Road 2600 ends when it meets up with Road 2000, where we turn left towards Scooby Doo. (2.7 miles, 1 hour 29 minutes.) We come to the trail junction; off to the right is the bottom end of Papa Bear, and to the left is Scooby Doo trail.

I forgot Raney's bear bell this morning. We can see deer tracks in the dirt occasionally but haven't noticed any signs of bear.

Deer tracks on Scooby Doo trail.

Raney on Scooby Doo.

Scooby Doo forks almost immediately to the left; if we turned to the right we would go into the Goldilocks area.

At 2.8 miles, 1 hour 40 minutes, Scooby Doo again unexpectedly forks; we arbitrarily try the left fork. The path is climbing upwards in this direction.

We come to Road 2610 (unmarked); the trail sign at this point is labeled Goldilocks. We cross 2610 and continue on the trail. Again we come to an unmarked junction of trails; we take the fork to the right (southwest) which is generally in our desired direction.

Eventually we reach Checkpoint Golf (3.2 miles, 1 hour 50 minutes). Here we turn right on 2500, and find the trail to Upper Arsenio.

These are pleasant, flat, shaded trails here. We're near the top of the mountain and Upper Arsenio wraps itself levelly around the peak. At 3.3 miles, 1 hour 57 minutes, we turn left on Lower Arsenio.

Soon Lower Arsenio starts to descend sharply. It's a relatively dark and shady path. 

At this point, I see a doe off the path to the right. Sweet! We stand motionless and observe each other for a few minutes. 

A native squirrel chirps at us indignantly.

We come to a left turn that takes us on Esophagus. (3.5 miles, 2 hours 4 minutes.) We'll follow this out to Intestine, and then to Road 1200.

Appendix Trail from Road 1200.

At 3.9 miles, 2 hours 15 minutes, we head down Road 1200 to Appendix trail which breaks away to the right. We follow this to Family Fun Center, and the northside checkpoint Kilo kiosk.

Entering Family Fun Center.

We reach the kiosk at 4.4 miles, 2 hours 28 minutes.  Given today's clear skies, I decide to take Ridge trail from the kiosk. It should serve up some good views today.

Raney and rabbit in a standoff.

Views eastward from Ridge trail.

Looking northward on Ridge trail. That's King Mountain in the distance on the left.

At 5.6 miles, 2 hours 52 minutes, we come to the end of Ridge trail and head down Birch Street trail and Miranda to the parking lot.

It's now about 80 degrees, and this three-hour walk in the shade was a good choice for this warm summer day. Time to give Raney some more water and head home.

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