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Outdoors

Park Perks

Free fun for all

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The afternoon was uncomfortably hot and muggy, and a series of annoying phone calls had made me fussy and longing to be anywhere other than my stuffy office.

That was why, when my fella picked me up from work a couple weeks ago, he knew exactly what to do when I got in the car and, still glowering, told him I desperately needed to get out of the city, at least for a little while. It wasn’t an order, but I was hoping he’d see the desperation in my eyes and respond favorably to my plea.

“Chuckanut Drive?” he queried. I nodded my assent, rolled down the passenger seat window, and away we went.

Less than 10 minutes later, my bad mood was dissipating. Not long after we passed Fairhaven Park and entered into the cool shadows provided by the canopy of trees that line a healthy percentage of the 20-mile scenic byway, the temperature became more manageable. Instead of feeling peevish, I took in the mammoth ferns and old-growth trees, smelled the briny air, looked out at the water glimmering below us and was glad to be alive.

Because my guy built and maintained trails in and around these parts for many years and is well aware of the many nooks and crannies lining Chuckanut Drive, our final destination that afternoon ended up being a secret hideaway about 15 miles down the road.

While my savior rummaged around in the forest, I hung out on a perch where a previous visitor had installed a small deck and bolted a pleather easy chair, and allowed my mind to go blank while I attempted to count the ripples of water hitting the shoreline. The one clear thought I did have was that I was incredibly lucky to be living in a place where it was so easy to experience the joys of nature without having to travel too far.

On our return trip, we drove past Larrabee State Park and I remarked that we should set up camp there for a while and pretend to be vacationers from afar. We could hike, bike, fish and laze about on the beach, only going into Bellingham for supplies.

I pointed out that “Mountain to Sea Day” at Larrabee—part of the “Free Fee Days” for Washington State Parks—was coming up Aug. 4, and that might be a good time to show up to plan our Staycation.

Once there, I told him, we could query local organizations such as the Washington Trails Association about the best places to hike or bike and see if they jibed with our picks.

“I’d be into that,” my driver replied. “We’d already know where to go, but we’d have more time to explore.” With that, we started planning our next adventure.

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Events
Today
Skagit Tours

10:00am|Highway 20

Bard on the Beach

12:00pm|Vanier Park

Boating Center Open

12:00pm|Community Boating Center

Plover Rides

12:00pm|Blaine Harbor

A Little Night Music

7:30pm|Performing Arts Center

Discover Birch Bay Days

10:00am|Birch Bay Drive

A Swinging Weekend

12:00pm|Fairhaven Village Green

Chuckanut Classic

6:30am|Boundary Bay Brewery

Veterans Breakfast

8:00am|VFW Post 1585

Rabbit Ride

8:00am|Fairhaven Bicycle

Run to Fight Blindness

9:00am|Cascadia Eye

Marsh Mucking

10:00am|Tennant Lake Interpretive Center

Anacortes Open Streets

11:00am|Commercial Avenue

International Concert Series Finale

2:00pm|Peace Arch Provincial Park

Cirque Literary Journal Reading

3:00pm|Mount Baker Theatre

Chuckanut Writers Info Session

4:00pm|Village Books,

Sunday Night Fusion

7:00pm|Presence Studio

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Tomorrow
Skagit Tours

10:00am|Highway 20

Bard on the Beach

12:00pm|Vanier Park

Boating Center Open

12:00pm|Community Boating Center

We Grow Market

3:00pm|Northwest Youth Services

Music Enrichment Project Meet and Greet

4:00pm|Piper Music

Open Mic

7:00pm|Village Books

Get Out More Tour

7:30pm|Backcountry Essentials

Poetrynight

8:00pm|Bellingham Public Library

Guffawingham

9:30pm|Green Frog

Northwood Steak and Crab Swinomish 2016
Tuesday
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Boating Center Open

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Hiking Basics

6:00pm|REI

Final History Sunset Cruise

6:00pm|Bellingham Cruise Terminal

All-Paces Run

6:00pm|Fairhaven Runners

Final BIFT

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Amnesty International Meeting

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