Thursday, July 5, 2012

Loop: Rusty Can, 2 1/2, 187, Pick Up Sticks, Kunk Fu Theater, 911

Distance: 6.8 miles
Time: 3 hours 5 minutes

Ah, there's nothing like a sunny day in Bellingham. We awake to cloudless skies, and an expected high of 75 degrees. Looking to take advantage of that, we plan a long hike that takes us from Galbraith's south side up to a series of six trails.

Peaking out on Arsenio Loop.

Parking at the Padden Trails parking lot on Samish Way, we head up Galbraith Lane, reaching Checkpoint Alpha at 0.6 miles, 10 minutes from the parking lot.

We continue up Road 2000 (Tower Road), passing by Road 2200 on the left (0.8 miles, 18 minutes.) The uphill climb continues and we pass Road 2300 on the right (1.2 miles, 23 minutes). Road 2300 heads toward the Three Pigs area of Galbraith. We continue, though, uphill on Road 2000.

The next major junction is where Road 2000 meets Road 3000 (1.4 miles, 28 minutes). The blue rock is a landmark for this junction. We keep to the left, staying on Road 2000.

It's a warm climb up the logging roads, and we're looking forward to the cooler descent on the shaded singletrack trails.

Road 2030 branches east toward the Three Pigs area, from Tower Road.

Raney at the "blue rock", which marks the junction of Roads 2000 and 3000.

The kiosk at Checkpoint Charlie is a repair kiosk; attached to the kiosk are a set of bike repair tools.
From the kiosk we head north on Road 2000. At 1.7 miles, 33 minutes, we see a path on the left - I believe this is the path that heads toward the Crazy 8's and 911 trails. For now, though, we're continuing north on Road 2000.

We pass by Road 2400 on the left; this will be a future route for us to get up to some of the other mid-mountain trails. (1.8 miles, 38 minutes.)

The next major junction is at 2.1 miles, 44 minutes. Road 2000 branches off to the right, while the north-heading road is labeled Road 2500. We follow Road 2500, in search of Little Big Trail. 

Passing Road 2510 on the left, we search for the entrance to Little Big Trail. It is nowhere to be found - any potential routes that I find are overgrown with stinging nettle. We decide to follow Road 2500 up towards Rusty Can trail. 

We reach the junction of Roads 2520 and 2500 at Checkpoint Golf. (2.4 miles, 54 minutes.) Going left on Road 2500 for a few steps, we find the entry into Rusty Can trail.

Raney finds a deep puddle to cool off in.

The cool greenery is a nice break from the sunny logging roads.

Road 2510 meets Road 2500.

Checkpoint Golf marks the meeting of Roads 2500 and 2520.
We turn left for Rusty Can trail, immediately past the Checkpoint Golf marker. (2.5 miles, 59 minutes.) On Rusty Can, we encounter a couple of forks in the path; we choose left on both forks and end up back at Road 2500, where we turn right to work our way back down the mountain.

On the way down, we pass by the entrance to Pick Up Sticks. It's unmarked, but is right across from the Road 2500 sign. We note that because we plan to find our way back here once we hike through 2 1/2 Trail.

At the junction of Roads 2000 and 2500, we turn left on 2000 - in search of the eastern end of 2 1/2.

Entrance to Pick Up Sticks trail. Stinging nettle grows along some of these paths. Keep your elbows in!

The Road 2500 sign is a good marker for finding Pick Up Sticks trail.
At 2.7 miles, 1 hour 6 minutes, we see a marker for cabin trail on the left side. This would head north towards the old homestead that we hiked to a few days ago. 

A few steps past the Cabin trail sign is another trail leading off to the right. It's too early for that to be 2 1/2 - in fact it's a connector trail that meets up with 2 1/2 from Road 2000.

This section of Road 2000 is known as Arsenio Loop, which winds around Galbraith's secondary peak. In this stretch, you can tell the trail is topping out, and clear skies start to appear between the trees.   

Southern side of Arsenio Loop on Road 2000.

Before long we reach the marker for 2 1/2 Trail on the right. (2.8 miles, 1 hour 11 minutes.) The east-to-west direction that we're going is the downhill route for 2 1/2. Fern-covered and green, it's a beautiful trail that is recovering well from earlier logging activity. 

At one point on 2 1/2, we see another trail running parallel to our route - it's actually an upcoming portion of the trail we're on. 2 1/2 trail folds back on itself in a few places.

We follow 2 1/2 to its end, which puts us back on Road 2000. (3.4 miles, 1 hour 30 minutes.) Still feeling energetic, we go right on road 2000 to try out 187 Trail, also known as Granny's.

Just past the junction of Road 2050, we reach the start of 187 Trail. (3.7 miles, 1 hour 41 minutes.) On this trail, heading west means we're taking it in the uphill direction.

Eventually 187 meets Cabin Trail. We take the left (straight) fork to head towards Road 2000, which we reach just a few steps from the fork.

187 is not quite a ridge walk, but every now and then it offers a tantalizing glimpse of mountains on both sides, south and north of the trail.

Marker for 2 1/2 Trail.

Near Trail 2 1/2, I get the distinct feeling something is watching me. Turns out I was right.

At Road 2000, we turn right, then right again on 2500 towards Pick Up Sticks. We reach the start of Pick Up Sticks trail at 4.2 miles, 1 hour 56 minutes.

Reaching the end of Pick UP Sticks, we're near the junction of Roads 2000 and 2400. Our next trail is Kunk Fu Theater, which begins to the right on Road 2000. 

At 4.7 miles, 2 hours 11 minutes, we come to the junction below, marked by a small cairn. We go right, but that's a bad guess as that trail stops at some overgrown logging debris. We retrace our steps back to the cairn, and take the other fork. (4.8 miles, 2 hours 17 minutes.)

Raney at a Kunk Fu Theater fork.
Kunk Fu Theater ends at 911 Trail. (5.1 miles, 2 hours 27 minutes.) We head west on 911, which is a lush route that looks like it has never been logged. This east-to-west direction is the downhill direction on 911.  

911 Trail marker.

Views from 911 trail.

Stunts on 911 Trail.
We come to the end of 911 Trail, which had offered nice views of mountains to the south of us. We go left on Road 2200. (5.4 miles, 2 hours 35 minutes.)

2200 takes us to Road 2000, where we turn right at 5.9 miles, 2 hours 46 minutes. In a few minutes, we're back at the Checkpoint Alpha kiosk. We take a break here to give Raney some water.

Following Galbraith Lane out to the parking lot, we reach the end of this day's hike at 6.8 miles, 3 hours 6 minutes. Raney's almost too tired to make the leap into the back of the car! Being a northwest dog, hiking in the heat is not something she's used to.

After a climb up a series of logging roads, this route levels out along the ridges before descending on singletrack.

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