5.7 mi rt
max: 1804 ft
gain: 1546 ft
gpx track ,use at your own risk: Galbraith
Another local snow day! I thought that there would only be the fresh snow, just a few inches, but I was wrong! Once up top we found that all of the snow was there, it had never melted out so we had about 6 – 8 inches total up there. I know, not a huge amount considering that Baker has a base of 110 inches at Heather Meadows but hey, this is right here in town!
I grabbed Natalie and we headed out to across from gate 13 in Sudden Valley. I usually park here for the Lower Waterfall/Hootie Hoot/Cougar Ridge Loop but today with the snow I headed up the road. It has been awhile since I walked the road up and it has grown up quite a bit and it looked beautiful in the snow.
There were other tracks for the first mile or so but after that we were breaking trail up the hill with the snow getting deeper as we went. We stayed on this road until the junction at N48 42.844 W122 23.674 We had reached the area where the trails start intersecting with the road and usually I like to take trails but today we stayed on the road. At this junction there were tire treads where a truck had driven up after the first big snow but before our last smaller snow. This make walking much easier…for 1/2 mile before we took a left and headed off towards the Foxtrot Checkpoint.
We ran into a man up here running! I knew he was there because we had been following his footprints since we turned off of the driven on main road. He had come up from the Samish Rd parking area and was enjoying a pre-festivities run in the snow. He had gone up to Foxtrot and then headed back down the way he had come. I am always surprised to see others as crazy as I am. We were doing a loop so at the checkpoint we continued on to the end of the road and then took the connector trail up towards the tower.
We could have stayed on the tower road to connect up but instead we took the trail across from the Evolution trail and headed down to the road.
I had looked at the map beforehand and noticed a trail that left the road and headed down back towards where I had come from. I was pretty sure I knew where this trail ended, I had noticed it on previous walks but had never walked it. I decided that if I could tell where the trail entered the woods I would take it. I could so I did. Actually Natalie did…she was heading down it as I was still walking towards the entrance.
The trail was easy to follow even with the snow so we headed on down. I had heard of this trail and was told it is the Waterfall trail. As I came around a corner near the bottom of the trail shortly before it fed back onto the road I saw why it is called this! A few days later up on Stewart I ran into one of the guys that helped build this and found out it was originally called Gnargus after the main builder’s dog Argus. The Gnargus trail is about 1.2 mi long losing about 800 ft in elevation as it drops down the side of the hill. It passes through a diverse area…a young forest, older forests and more recent cuts. The bulk of it is in an older forest including the area where the waterfall is. This area is part of the recovayence so it is now Whatcom County Park property I believe. Wait, I just looked at the program I use to tell property ownership and while part of this trail is now in park, part of it does pass through privately held lands, mostly the timber company that owns most of what is called Galbraith. That company allows these trails and welcomes hikers, bikers, and horses equally to use their land, just no motorized travel. Hike on.
The trail drops down onto a road, going right would take you over to Lower Waterfall trail. We went left and connected back into the main road and then back to the car. It was a beautiful day to be outside and nice reprieve from the festivities on this Christmas Eve.