Birch Bay, Peace Arch, and Larrabee
May 20, 2015 by Megan
The sunshine seemed sharper and the breeze sweeter this far north, as we tackled three border area parks: Birch Bay, Larabee, and the Peace Arch. Having stayed the night in Mt. Vernon, the day began with a brief drive during which I was able to complete a handful of business calls and e-mails on my phone. I’ve been surprised how much of our trip has been outside of cell service or data range, so we have to hustle to sneak in correspondence in small windows of connection. So, thanks to everyone for their patience with us during this experience!
First up was Birch Bay, where the old cedar growth and low tide made for a dynamic and beautiful sight. Talking to the locals, it sounds like the tide shifts quickly and dramatically, at least this time of year.
Heading further north to Peace Arch State Park, we were struck by the care and commemoration in the 20-acres of parkland designated at the boundary of the U.S. and Canada.
The 67-foot high monument for which it was named, was the first structure in the world created to commemorate lasting peace. It was constructed to commemorate treaties following the War of 1812, signed by the king of England and President Monroe, which provided for an unguarded boarder between Canada and the USA.
The State Park maintains the grounds in collaboration with the Canadian Peace Arch Provincial Park, with whom the park was originally planned and developed. To think the arch was constructed over 100 years ago to celebrate 100 years of peace… It feels fitting to share about this park and reflect on gratitude for peace, being that it is Memorial Day Weekend. The sacrifice and grief that accompany conflict create lasting scars for the nations involved, but more deeply for the families affected by loss. By celebrating the beauty of peace, and honoring what we all share in common, we will hopefully soothe old wounds and help avoid future pains. In the meantime, we thank those willing to serve and protect our country, and we remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty.
To conclude our journey of the day, we headed to Larrabee State Park for what felt like luxury: a legitimate RV hookup site in the middle of wooded wilderness and a short walk to a glorious sunset over Samish Bay. And for my nostalgic heart, there was even a railroad track going through camp, the tunes from which helped put Dane and me both to sleep. Dane was especially tired with so many rocks to climb!
If you are in need of another dose of inspiration aside from pretty sunsets and peaceful structures, here is a fun fact: Larrabee State Park was officially named in honor of Charles Xavier Larrabee a pioneering businessman of the 19th century. His family donated 20 acres to the State of Washington soon after his death, and in 1923 the area became Washington’s first state park. It seems the generosity and pursuit of legacy continued, as we’ve encountered similar stories throughout the state. Larrabee State Park now comprises 2,683 acres, a size that meant we would have a full morning covering some of the hiking trails in addition to what we shot the night before.
Rob went alone to capture Lost Lake up Mt. Chuckanut (love these names, right?), and I grabbed some fun shots of clamming before we headed out to continue Day 7. At this point, the numbers stand at 18/58 parks in 6/25 days. Not too shabby!