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Surprises at every turn - coastal treasures, rugged Northern Cascades - amazing Northwest
I couldn’t believe it. The big plan: stay in nice Bellingham, Washington motels, and alternate that with camping in the countryside slightly north of Bellingham. We were off to the coast to visit our little girl going to college in Bellingham, Washington at Western Washington University. We should have realized when we were getting camping reservations that this was not your standard Montana style camping - reservations? Regardless, I still laugh at our expressions as we pulled up to the campground, smack dab in the middle of rolling green farm country - fields of corn, truck farms, dairy farms.
Needless to say, the campground was wonderful and provided for all our travel needs, in remarkable style. Complete with a fishing pond, a small forested area for us to pitch tents, a grocery store, a laundromat and even a small cafe, we realized that for this adventure it would do just fine. Then too, settled in the middle of this gentle farm country, we were minutes from Bellingham, access to the coast, and turning eastward we were just a short drive from Mount Baker and the mountainous wilds of the North Cascades.
I could not get past how remarkable that corner of the world was! From our campground up in Lynden, we were literally able to see over into Canada. Choosing to explore the coastal areas, we popped down to Bellingham and followed Chuckanut Drive down the shoreline to Larrabee State Park on the ocean side of Chuckanut Mountain. A wondrous trail headed off through dense undergrowth leading us to Clayton Beach. I hate to admit it, but when you’re from Montana, any area you go into that is awash with stands of the very ferns we strive to grow indoors, the term - amazing - arises time and again. Then again, the beach is a bit of a phenomena when the majority of your life has been spent in the Rocky Mountains. Wonderful blue waters of Samish Bay stretched out in the distance with an occasional ship passing by, stretches of sand beaches, and a remarkable sense of peace, settled in on that shoreline for an afternoon.
Being a born and raised mountain guy myself, an afternoon drive from our campsite in the farm-lands to explore the route to Mount Baker was in order. I just needed to make some mental notes about what we were looking at. Not nearly close enough to Mount Baker for my liking, the family team pointed out that we do mountains all the time back home, so enough already. Obviously, I will have to plan my exploration of Mount Baker and the North Cascades National Park on my own on another journey to the coast We did, however, find a delightful loop from Lynden to Deming, up to Kendall, and circling back through Sumas right up on the Canadian border, and finally back to Lynden.
I still marvel at the amazing full range of recreation opportunities in the area right around Bellingham. There’s every reason to plan much more vacation time exploring that wonderful region of the country. If you get the chance to check out that neighborhood, we encourage you to do your planning through our Washington site, complete with trail information, shore recreation, and of course, base-camp Washington motel accommodations wherever your travels happen to take you.
About the Author: As web designer and owner of the Montana Receration Connection and Western States Wilderness Tours at www.montanaadventure.com,
Gordon Hollingshead has provided an online travel directory for the past 10 years for people planning their vacations and travels throughout the western United States. More information contact
Gordon at firstname.lastname@example.org.