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Campsite Photo Trip - Summer 2012

I Can See Canada From My Tent!

Greg crosses the border, then quickly comes back:

Well, not really. But I was closer to Canada than Sarah Palin was to Russia when she exclaimed “I can see Russia from my house!”

I left La Conner last Wednesday and made two stops before arriving in Birch Bay.

First up was Bay View State Park.


Bay View State Park is a 25-acre camping park with 1,285 feet of saltwater shoreline on Padilla Bay. Over 11,000 acres of Padilla Bay are designated as National Estuarine Sanctuary. Breazeale Padilla Bay Interpretive Center is located a half mile north of the park.

The park offers views of the San Juan Islands fronting Padilla Bay, one of 28 existing national marine estuaries. On clear days, park users see the Olympic Mountains to the west and Mt. Rainier to the south.

Bay-View-Beach-1 Bay-View-Beach-2

The utility campsites are more in the open than the rest, which have nice shade trees. As if you really need them.


Next was Larrabee State Park, the first one in Washington State. To get from Bay View to Larrabee, you follow Chuckanut Drive along the coast. This is like a mini version of the Big Sur coast in California.


Larrabee State Park is a 2,683-acre camping park with 8,100 feet of saltwater shoreline on Samish Bay near Bellingham in northwest Washington. The park features two freshwater lakes, coves and tidelands. Sunsets are gorgeous. A variety of non-motorized, multiple-use trails wind through the park.

In October 1915, the Larrabee family donated 20 acres of land to the state to be made into a park. Officially named in honor of Charles Xavier Larrabee in 1923, the area became Washington's first state park.


I finally made it to Birch Bay and set up camp. Yes, it was still sunny. That only lasted for one day.


On Thursday I visited Birch Bay State Park.


Birch Bay State Park is a 194-acre camping park with 8,255 feet of saltwater shoreline on Birch Bay and 14,923 feet of freshwater shoreline on Terrell Creek. The park is rich in shellfish resources and offers panoramic views of the Cascade Mountains and Canadian Gulf Islands.

Birch-Bay-Beach Birch-Bay_029

Birch Bay was named by botanist Archibald Menzies for its abundance of black birch trees. Menzies was on the 1792 Vancouver expedition. Archeological evidence indicates that the bay was inhabited by Semiahmoo, Lummi and Nooksack tribes since prehistoric times. At the turn of the 20th century, the huge fir trees of the area were logged with oxen and horse teams. Large old-growth stumps, with spring-board marks, remain as evidence.

The rain let up a little bit on Friday, so I decided to try to sneak into Canada and touch my native soil. I headed up to Peace Arch Park on the border. I took the long way there as I wanted to check out Semiahmoo Spit. I just liked the name of it.

From the end of the spit you can see White Rock, BC.


It is situated on Boundary Bay. When I was a young pup, my Grandfather used to take my brother and sister and I there to walk on the sand. The tide went out at least two miles, leaving small pockets of water that held all kinds of neat creatures to play with and throw at my younger siblings.

I also saw nice old weathered boat. Old-Boat-3

I finally arrived at the park. The houses across the street are in Canada.

BC-Homes WA-Sign

Walking down the path, I ran across some Canadians. You can them apart from Americans by their hats.


There it is!


I looked at the US side.


Read the inscription inside.


And then I was in Canada!


So I started slowing walking farther into my homeland.

Entering-Canada Flower-Flag BC-Sign

That’s right Canada, keep using those sprinklers in the rain. Suddenly I noticed a herd of Mounties marching towards me.


I quickly turned and fled, I didn’t have my passport with me. So I couldn’t go back the same way.


This way looks too official as well.


I had noticed some railroad tracks earlier, so I waited for a passing freight train and hopped aboard. I made it back safely.

Border-Sign Welcome-USA

That was a close call!

On Sunday I headed south to Mt. Vernon, WA. I was getting tired of holing up away from the rain so on Tuesday I went and visited Rasar State Park.


Rasar State Park is a 169-acre camping park with 4,000 feet of freshwater shoreline on the Skagit River. Wildlife observation opportunities, especially for eagle watching, are excellent, particularly in early fall and early winter.

This is an exceptionally well maintained campground. Nice large sites and about half have hookups.

Rasar_004 Rasar-Day-Use

I did a little more exploring and found a pretty lake and a small waterfall. You can see the raindrops hitting the lake surface.

Baker-Lake-HDR Waterfall-HDR-2 Waterfall-HDR-1

As I write this on Wednesday while doing laundry, I notice that the clouds are breaking up. Hopefully it will be sunny while I am in North Cascades National Park for the next 4 days.

I have been carrying around firewood I found for over a month and it never dries out.


Finally, for those of you wishing that you had the charm and appeal of us Canucks, I found a solution for you.


Regards, Park Ranger


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