Drive to Canadian/US border just to check out the Peace Arch. (Does seem strange that with neighbors so close, we’re always fighting wars “overseas”. Wouldn’t it be cheaper to have a war which is more convenient?). In addition to this arch, a long green, tree-filled park, rich with blooming flowers crosses our border. (Find funny the number of drivers, waiting on the Canadian side, choose to hop out of their vehicles and snap a photo or two… and, if this creates a gap as cars in front move forward, no one honks or cuts in… apparently Canadian social mores differ from ours).
Turn around and drop down through Blaine and Birch Bay. Both are fishing/resort towns and resort crowds seem to carry a look of transiency. Head out on some backroads till coming into Dutch-themed Lynden. Charming town, with suburban homes shaded by canopying trees. Am a bit late, so much is closed, and downtown is very quiet.
WA-544 goes through bucolic Everson, and late afternoon light casts enriching shadows on fields and farms. Town seems to be a park along Nooksack River and a tall smokestack. (Hmmm). Switch over to WA-9, which runs through this flat valley alongside old railroad tracks.
In Deming, switch over to WA-542, and begin climbing into mountains. Glacier contains a series of highway convenient resorts, and the promise of a Last Cocktail before entering Mt Baker National Forest doesn’t register until, returning, notice the back of the sign offers a “First Drink’.
The first 45 miles are easy going, but then this highway turns into an ear-popping, eye-stopping, brow-mopping series of ascending curves and sheer drop-offs. While my phantasy of a roseate glow of sunset upon Mt Baker is thwarted (Mother Nature simply lacks my imagination, it seems), cool air, no traffic, and trees gathering dusk light make those miles worthwhile.
(For more photos of the Peace Park and Mt Baker, see “page” 2012/08/03 – Blaine-Glacier/WA)