Branch Hoppers

For Parents and Explorers:

Congratulations, BRANCH HOPPERS, on yet another close to a wonderful fall season. Thank you, Explorers, for your growth, courage, play, and skill building. You have answered the call to Stretch Your Edge and grow into the wider world of exploration with us. We're excited to continue the journey with you! Before we look ahead to Spring, let's look behind and see where we've been. Take a moment and revisit the Branch Hopper's Blog Posts to refresh your memory.

We'll begin our Spring 2016 season on the Branch Hopper's first ever exploration of the Rock Trail. Climbing the steep trail the group will explore the Sandstone formations and caves as well as its spectacular vistas. Meeting up for a second time, the group will head back to North Lake Samish to see if our shelter we built last Fall is still standing. The Explorers really enjoyed this location and were left wishing they had more time.

For our third outing, we'll join with the larger EC community by continuing service at our adopted Connelly Creek Service Site. This is a great opportunity to connect to the land and to our community by putting our energy into restoring balance to the plant-life in the area and creating suitable salmon habitat. Please, take a moment to track the history and view photos of this amazing site. We'll close the season with an exploration at Lookout Mountain Forest Preserve. This outing too will be a Branch Hopper's first ever to this preserve. With waterfalls, a vast maze of mixed use logging lands, and viewpoints of Lake Whatcom this location is sure to be a hit! 

The Alevin's skill for spring will be The Art of Water: Collection & Conservation. Don't forget to check out our newly developed Boys EC Skills Progression. This progression will lead the Explorers on a Earth Skills Journey that will lay a firm foundation of craftsmanship, wilderness living, and deep naturalist connection. To read more about our new Boys EC Skills Progression please click here. Being Prepared is also a vital skill. Click here for a link to the EC Equipment List.

Branch Hoppers Spring 2016 Schedule

Lead Mentors: Steve & Brian

Saturday, February  27th, 10:00-3:00pm
Exploration: Rock Trail via Cleator Road

The Rock Trail trail is carved out of the steep, rugged hillside connecting the top of Cleator Road to the South Lost Lake Trail. This is one of the Chuckanut's newest trails offering steep climbs, gorgeous views, and a peek at our area's fascinating geology. 100-foot high sandstone cliffs pocked by little holes and large caves, enormous mossy boulders, and handmade staircases and bridges, are just of few of the exciting wonders that await us. If we have time we might even make it to Lost Lake!

Driving Directions: Take exit #250 and turn right onto Fairhaven Pkwy for . Go to second stoplight. Turn left on SR 11/Chuckanut Dr for 1.3 miles. Turn left onto 12th st. for .1 of a mile. 12th st. becomes Chuckanut Dr. follow for 3.6 miles. Turn left onto Hi Line Road then follow the gravel road 3.5 miles as it turns into Cleator Road at .6 of a mile. Click here for the Google Map Destination

Saturday, March 19th, 10:00-3:00pm
Exploration: North Lake Samish Trailhead

In Whatcom County, we are blessed to have the endless trails of the Chuckanut Mountains right in our backyard. On this outing, the Explorers will have to grasp the nettle as they navigate the steep slopes of the eastern Chuckanuts and embrace the wet and windy end of our fall season. North Lake Samish trail boasts some spectacular vistas and waterfalls and also holds some challenging route finding through mixed use logging terrain. If we are lucky we might even make it to Pine Lake!

Driving Directions: From Bellingham head south on I-5 and take exit 246 toward North Lake Samish. Turn left onto Lake Samish Drive for 1.6 miles. Take a sharp right onto Lake Samish County Park. The parking lot will be on your right. Click here for the Google Map Destination.

Sunday, April 24th, 10:00-2:00pm
Service: Boys E.C. Connelly Creek Restoration Site, Happy Valley Park

Our Official Explorers Club Restoration Site has changed dramatically in the last two and a half years. Blackberries that were once well over head-high have been chopped down to nothing, and many of their persistent roots have been dug out; hundreds of pounds of trash has been removed (including large car parts and a jungle gym); a 6-foot cedar fence was “discovered” and liberated from the blackberries; the Reed Canary Grass has been covered with bark mulch, native species are beginning to be planted on the banks of the creek, and the Alder are growing markedly faster than our Explorers. The most exciting news is that, for the first time in about 80 years, the salmon have returned. Now those returning salmon are really going to need our help if they are going to lay eggs. We'll focus on providing just the right environment for a vibrant and happy northwest stream. With the help of Bellingham City Parks and Nooksack Salmon Enhancement Association, we are making a real positive impact on our land.

New this Season! Drop-off and Pick-up will now be at the Bellingham Park & Ride (WSDOT) Westside as per the request for the residents on Wilson Street. We apologize for the inconvenience. 

Driving Directions: From I-5 drive west on Old Fairhaven Parkway for 0.1 of a mile. Turn right onto 30th Street and drive for 0.3 of a mile. Turn right on Donovan Ave. and drive for .1 of a mile. Turn right onto 32nd Ave. and drive for .2 of a mile. Turn left into Bellingham Park & Ride (WSDOT) Westside. Click here for the Google Map Destination.

Saturday, May 21st, 10:00-3:00pm
Exploration: Lookout Mountain Forest Preserve

Lookout Mountain Forest Preserve is roughly 370 acres that house the headwaters of Austing and Beaver Creeks. This is a new location for the Boys Explorers Club and we are excited to venture out into it's wild spaces. Together we'll explore  the trails this preserve has to offer, including a 2.2-mile loop, viewpoint trail that offers a stunning vistas of Lake Whatcom, a waterfall loop, and a eight mile service road that climbs the flanks of Lookout Mountain.

Driving Directions: From Bellingham, take Lakeway Drive East for 3 miles. Continue for another .5 miles as it turns into Terrace Ave and then Cable Street. Take a right on Austin Street, Austin becomes Lake Louise Rd follow for 3.3 miles. Destination will be on the right.  Click here for the Google Map Destination.