Friday, April 8, 2011

Hertz Trail

With a mountain of trees on one side and Lake Whatcom on the other, the Hertz Trail is definitely one of my favorite trails. I've hiked it hundreds (maybe thousands) of times. I used to hike it before it was an official trail. Still in high school and pretty sure it was private property then, my friends and I would spend summer afternoons hiking in along the old Blue Canyon Mine railroad grade until we reached one of the gravel beaches where we could plant ourselves in the sun until it was time to go home. Now it's part of the Whatcom County Parks system known as the North Lake Whatcom Park and that old railroad grade is called the Hertz Trail.
An easy hike at 3.1 miles to the end, then back again, with very little elevation gain, it is hikeable year round. The mountain side is cover with a thick, mossy forest and giant sandstone cliffs. Ferns appear to grow almost everywhere.
Scattered with numerous waterfalls, this one is one of my favorites. A side trail used to take us up to the very top of the falls, but over the years, too many slides of mud and brush have covered the top portion of that particular trail. We always try, but seem to only be able to get about a third of the way up now.
We've had a lot of rain so far this year, and plenty of wind storms to go with the rains. This trail has suffered a lot as a result. At about the one mile marker, this tree had fallen over the trail. If you look closely, you'll see it's not stopping us. I'm there, passing between its branches.
At about the two and a half mile marker, this large tree had fallen over the trail. Dena poses before we climb over and continue along the trail.
At about the three mile marker, see what was waiting for us up ahead. Up close, it was much larger than the tree we'd climbed over before, and lots of brush and debri had slid down the mountain when that giant tree fell. Without my folding saw in my backpack so I could have tried to clear away some of the  brush and whack down the nettles so that we could have crawled under the tree on the left, we decided to turn around and head back to the trailhead.
Here is information about the Hertz Trail as found on the Whatcom County Parks Department website:
Description: The trail begins with a gradual slope through lush forest to the interpretive kiosk at the lakeshore. Find information here about the history of Lake Whatcom and its importance to our community as the source of our drinking water. The trail then follows the railroad grade of the Bellingham & Eastern Railway along the shores of Lake Whatcom. Enjoy views of Lake Whatcom and surrounding hills plus waterfalls and giant old Douglas fir trees. Rest on one of many benches, or power walk the trail for a great workout.

Pets must be leashed and all pet waste cleaned up.

Directions: Check Current Conditions. Trailhead is located near the end of Northshore Drive. From Bellingham follow Northshore Drive east to near the road end. Follow signs to parking. Fully accessible parking and access is 0.25 miles farther towards the lake from the main parking area. WTA Route 525 provides acces to the intersection of Britton Road and Northshore Drive. Follow Northshore Drive 7.5 miles to trailhead.

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