Low tides and high adventure

Thursday, July 25, 2013

The first time Crab Hunter ever dragged me out onto the eelgrass beds to forage for decapod crustaceans during a minus tide, it seemed more like a novelty than anything.

“Might as well clear the air right now,” she said, as we began sidestepping ever so gingerly down the dizzyingly steep, root-strewn trail winding for what seemed like an eternity down the hillside from her cabin to the beach. 

“If you, like many other unbelievers I know, remain under the impression that we need a boat and a whole bunch of crab pots to scare up a decent meal’s worth of dungies, then you’re sorely mistaken. Anything they can do with their crab pots, we can do just as easily—and probably even more efficiently—by hand.”  

“Hmmm,” I mused, doing my best not to slip, trip or fall off the precipitous path while contemplating the many necessary and potentially hazardous steps that seemed inevitable through such close and repeated exposure to so many powerful, wound-inducing claws.

On top of that, I also found myself becoming even more discomfited by our apparent dearth of tools.

“Boats might well be superfluous,” I said, reduced to bashing through dense, ever-thickening salmonberry entanglements armed only with a five-gallon bucket, “but I’d give my left arm for a sharp machete right now.”

“Horsefeathers!” Crab Hunter exclaimed, bashing likewise right behind me with her own multipurpose bucket.  “This jungle is only temporary. We’ll be running footloose and fancy-free on the hunting grounds in no time.” 

And so, despite my lingering skepticism, her confidence in the prevailing methodology succeeded to grow ever more commanding.  Even as we continued to sweat and struggle for each successive foothold, there seemed little other available option other than to just keep on descending best I could.

Sure enough, the trail finally appeared to bottom out, bringing us into full, unfettered view of the glistening shore. 
“Ahhhh,” I thought, “nothing but smooth sailing from here!”  Except, of course, there happened to be one final obstacle—an almost sheer, 10-foot-tall, wet clay embankment.

Standing warily just behind the lip—just as I managed to discern the heaping, rust-encrusted remains of a ruinously dismembered stepladder—I was startled to observe Crab Hunter scurry out from behind me clutching a tattered strand of tree-anchored rope and lower herself in a safe, if mildly awkward, hip-first slide down onto the cobble.    

“So there you have it!” she cheered, brushing the mucky crust off her pants with a few prideful swipes. “Look out, crabbies. Dinner feast, here we come!” 

And, with lightening speed, she scrounged through the driftwood pile for a serviceable “prying stick” and off she went to harvest the freshest, most flavor-packed bounty our local tidelands have to offer. 

All I could do was feel lucky enough follow her, hidebound and lickety-split.

More Outdoors...
Bike & Build
Pedaling for a purpose

A few days before summer became official, recent Western Washington University graduate Sean Petersmark dipped his bike’s rear tire in the Atlantic Ocean in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

By the time he dips “Simba’s” front tire in the Pacific Ocean at Bellingham’s Marine Park on Thurs.,…

more »
Filthy Fun
The dirty days of summer

When I spent summers on Lummi Island as a kid, getting dirty was part of the equation. Blackberry picking by the side of the road often turned into full-scale food fights that resulted in me, my siblings and other assorted youth being covered toe-to-head with pulpy stains—so much so that…

more »
Marmots and Moraines
A walk beside the Easton Glacier

The weather forecast was at its midsummer best: sunshine, blue skies, warm temperatures. We’d set aside a few days for some much-needed R&R in the mountains. Baker beckoned.

We slid into the Mt. Baker National Recreation Area trailhead parking lot in late morning and slipped on our…

more »
Bard on the Beach

12:00pm|Vanier Park

Boating Center Open

12:00pm|Community Boating Center

Hiking Basics


Final History Sunset Cruise

6:00pm|Bellingham Cruise Terminal

All-Paces Run

6:00pm|Fairhaven Runners

Final BIFT

6:30pm|Boundary Bay Brewery

Amnesty International Meeting

7:00pm|Community Food Co-op

Skagit Folk Dancers

7:00pm|Bayview Civic Hall

Zoots Side Bar Village Books
Boating Center Open

12:00pm|Community Boating Center

Bard on the Beach

12:00pm|Vanier Park

Bellingham City Club Meeting

11:30am|Northwood Hall

Wednesday Market

12:00pm|Fairhaven Village Green

Lynden Book Club

12:30pm|Lynden Library

Sedro-Woolley Farmers Market

3:00pm|Hammer Heritage Square

Group Run

6:00pm|Skagit Running Company

Group Run

6:00pm|Skagit Running Company

Brewers Cruise

6:30pm|Bellingham Cruise Terminal

The Gun Show

8:00pm|Boundary Bay Brewery

Zoots Side Bar Artifacts Wine Bar
Skagit tours

10:00am|Highway 20

Bard on the Beach

12:00pm|Vanier Park

Boating Center Open

12:00pm|Community Boating Center

Bow Little Market

1:00pm|Belfast Feed Store

A gold medal standard


After-Hours Market

4:00pm|Depot Market Square

Eat Local Month

4:00pm|Bellingham and Whatcom County

First Thursday Art Walk

5:00pm|Downtown Mount Vernon

Riverwalk Summer Concert Series

5:00pm|Skagit Riverwalk Park

Memory to Memoir

5:30pm|Village Books

Fiesta 4 Cuba

8:00pm|Downtown Bellingham

Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead

8:00pm|Cirque Lab

see our complete calendar »

Swinomish 2016 Bellingham Farmer’s Market Artifacts Wine Bar Andrew Subin Zoots Side Bar Cascadia Weekly Subscribe Ad 1 Village Books Northwood Steak and Crab