Outdoors

Summer in Cascadia

Drink deep from the well

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Summer in Cascadia is as good as it gets.

It’s a magical season, enhanced by the ephemeral nature of fields of luscious flowers, warm nights and other delights that are defined (and enhanced) by their impermanence. A brief interlude of perfect satori, a momentary exception to the well-established status quo of long months of rain, darkness and glowering skies. It is the exception that proves the rule.

As each year passes, I find myself ever more aware of the preciousness of these golden days. The end of summer, never more than a handful of weeks away, sends us a message about the inexorable passing of time that gets more difficult to ignore with each rotation around the sun. Best to pay attention and make hay while the sun shines.

These days (and nights) are far too valuable to squander—we must be brave and deploy that “out of office” auto-response and get out there. It’s so easy to get caught up in being busy. Our lives are brimming with deadlines, tasks, rules and alerts.

Give yourself a midsummer’s eve gift and turn everything off. Shuck the routine, if only for a few hours. It is summer in Cascadia. We must drink deep from the well.

Grab what we used to call a rucksack, stuff it with some essentials: water, sunscreen, reading material, art supplies. Take the road less travelled. If you can’t find that with your GPS, take the Mt. Baker Highway and look for dirt roads. The more potholes, the better. Get lost (but make sure that you can find yourself again).

Prioritize visits to the delicate and special places that see only the briefest flicker of summer in the high country of our mothering North Cascades. The shorter the season, the sweeter the nectar. Skyline Divide. Heliotrope Ridge, Chain Lakes, Ptarmigan Ridge. In this rarified alpine air, the season unfolds like a time-lapse video. Every day is different. Every day is beautiful.

The wildflower bloom, now upon us,  is our Cascadia Mardi Gras, exhilarating and intoxicating. The glacier lily, lupine, paintbrush, phlox, penstemon and (my personal favorite) monkey flower join dozens of others in weaving a carpet of botanical luminescence beneath the black peaks and blue sky. Patches of snow lend a chiaroscuro to the high country and remind us of the winter, always waiting in the wings.

Don’t neglect the Salish Sea. The summer sun sparkles on its exuberant waters. The sandstone artistry of the San Juan Islands and the Chuckanut Coast are much better than anything on television
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Want high definition? Check out the shadows on the cliffs at Clayton Beach on a languid summer evening.

And by all means, get wet. Lake Whatcom is a pleasing place to submerge yourself. The Nooksack River will carry you downstream in its own sweet time.

And, if you can finagle it, position yourself flat on your back in the deep hours of evening, away from the humming lights, beneath a tabernacle of stars that reveals a much bigger picture than the crisis of the day.

The best advice in human history: Be here now.

Bob1
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Events
Today
Northwest Washington Fair

9:00am|Northwest Washington Fairgrounds

Literacy Council Seeks Volunteers

8:00am

Boating Center Open

10:00am|Community Boating Center

Skagit Tours

10:00am|Highway 20

Skagit Tours

10:00am|Highway 20

Bard on the Beach

12:00pm|Vanier Park

Summer of Blood Finales

7:00pm|Rexville Grange Amphitheater

Marian, or the True Tale of Robin Hood

7:30pm|Maritime Heritage Park

Hound of the Baskervilles

7:30pm|Anacortes Community Theatre

Skagit Tours

10:00am|Highway 20

Sin & Gin Tours

7:00pm|Downtown Bellingham, historic Fairhaven

Hotbox

7:30pm|Sylvia Center for the Arts

Push it to the Limit

9:00pm|Upfront Theatre

Pancake Breakfast

8:00am|Ferndale Senior Center

Wild Edibles and Medicinal Plants of Summer

8:30am|Heather Meadows

Anacortes Farmers Market

9:00am|Depot Arts Center

Mount Vernon Farmers Market

9:00am|Riverwalk Park

Twin Sisters Market

9:00am|Nugent's Corner, North Fork Library

Bellingham Farmers Market

10:00am| Depot Market Square

Blaine Gardeners Market

10:00am|H Street Plaza

Lynden Farmers Market

10:00am|Centennial Park

Lummi Island Saturday Market

10:00am|Islander Grocery Store

Skagit Tours

10:00am|Highway 20

Correspondence Club

10:30am|Mindport Exhibits

Garden Party

11:00am|www.skagitfoodcoop.com

Job Fair and BBQ

11:00am|Taylor Driving Schools

Lynden Cemetery Tour

1:00pm|Lynden Cemetery

Concrete Saturday Market

1:00pm|Concrete Community Center

Mosaic Stepping Stone Workshop

1:00pm|Chuckanut Center

Dwindling orcas and expanding pipelines

1:00pm

Storytelling with Felted Puppets

2:00pm|Lummi Island Library

Skagit Woodstock

2:00pm|Edgewater Park

Nooksack River Walk

3:00pm|Horseshoe Bend Trailhead

Seafood Boil

5:30pm|Semiahmoo Resort

Seafood Boil

5:30pm|Semiahmoo Resort

Saturday Seafood Boil

5:30pm|Semiahmoo Resort

Arete Quartet

6:00pm|Boulevard Park

The Naughty Blokes

6:00pm|Heart of Anacortes

Sin & Gin Tours

7:00pm|Downtown Bellingham, historic Fairhaven

Point Roberts Joke Contest

7:00pm|Point Roberts Community Center

Village Books
Tomorrow
Boating Center Open

10:00am|Community Boating Center

Skagit Tours

10:00am|Highway 20

Skagit Tours

10:00am|Highway 20

Bard on the Beach

12:00pm|Vanier Park

Skagit Tours

10:00am|Highway 20

Skagit Tours

10:00am|Highway 20

Sin & Gin Tours

7:00pm|Downtown Bellingham, historic Fairhaven

Sedro-Woolley Breakfast

8:00am|American Legion Post #43

Rabbit Ride

8:00am|Fairhaven Bicycle

Car Show and Shine

10:00am|BelleWood Acres

Skagit Tours

10:00am|Highway 20

Edison Farmers Market

10:00am|Edison Granary

Langar in Lynden

11:00am|Guru Nanak Gursikh Gurdwara

Eco-Dyeing Workshop

12:00pm|Chuckanut Center

Crows and Diebenkorn Final Day

12:00pm|Whatcom Museum's Lightcatcher Building

La Conner Live!

1:00pm|Gilkey Square

International Concert Series

2:00pm|Peace Arch Park

Nonfiction & Memoir Writing Group

3:00pm|Village Books

Trivia Time

3:30pm|Boundary Bay Brewery

Trivia Time

3:30pm|Boundary Bay Brewery

Deakin Hicks CD Release Concert

7:00pm|Sylvia Center for the Arts

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Monday
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10:00am|Highway 20

Boating Center Open

10:00am|Community Boating Center

Skagit Tours

10:00am|Highway 20

Bard on the Beach

12:00pm|Vanier Park

Skagit Tours

10:00am|Highway 20

Skagit Tours

10:00am|Highway 20

Skagit Tours

10:00am|Highway 20

Skagit Tours

10:00am|Highway 20

Youth Dance Worksohp

10:00am|Firehouse Arts and Events Center

Plant Diagnostic Clinics

5:00pm|Bellingham Public Library

Cuban Salsa

6:00pm|Bell Tower Studios

Cookbook Club

6:30pm|Ferndale Library

Voice Workshop

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Guffawingham

9:00pm|Firefly Lounge

see our complete calendar »

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