Thirteen Trailblazers set out for Galbraith Mountain this morning, the weather clear, crisp and cold: 0 degrees on the thermometer (but that is Celsius: it was 32 degrees Fahrenheit). Cold enough for me to snap this frosty plant at the beginning of our hike (click to enlarge). We did a "lollipop" route: the first few miles were repeated on the way back, but at the top we made a loop, covering right around ten miles in sunshine and in shadow. As we gained elevation, I saw the fog in the lower reaches over the bay had begun to lift. I always love pictures that show different layers.
We had a "new" hiker join us today, Ruth. She was a regular for years and years with this group, but apparently she has not been coming since her husband passed away a few years back. I took a look at her when she got out of the car and wondered if she would be at the back of the group, since she's just a few months away from her eightieth birthday. Well! Marjan is one of our strongest hikers at 73, and she and Ruth set the pace, far too fast for me to keep up, so I hung back in the middle of the pack and watched them from afar. That's Ruth on the right, Marjan on the left.
Galbraith Mountain is one of our regular winter hikes, and we either go up the north side from town or, as we did today, up from Lake Padden on the south side. Both hikes can be made shorter or longer, depending on our leader, since the mountain is criss-crossed with trails for hiking, biking, and horseback riding. We started up a trail called "Whoopsie Woodle" (apparently letting us know there would be some up and some down) and traversed "Keystone" and "Wonderland" during the day. Without Pat, our leader, knowing these trails so well, it would be very easy to lose your way.
At our lunch spot we had great views of Bellingham Bay, with Lake Padden in the lower left of this picture. The reforested places such as this will one day lose these beautiful views, but for today, I was so happy to capture this to share with you. The sky for most of the day was clear, but whenever a small cloud covered the sun, you were reminded of how cold it really was.
This lunchtime view shows Lake Whatcom in the foreground, Bellingham in the middle, and the Canadian mountains in the distance. While we were hiking, we chatted about our various activities as we got enough exercise to help us all feel virtuous, and basically had a wonderful day playing in the glorious sunshine with some peachy-dandy friends.