4th of July in Birch Bay

4th of July in Birch Bay

William and I left Seattle around 12:30pm and got on the highway, heading north towards the Canadian border. As usual, the traffic from Everett to Arlington was horrendous. We did a slight detour off the interstate and traveled along Chuckanut Rd., a beautiful drive, as well as the home of Taylor’s Shellfish Farm. It was really crowded at Taylor’s…more people that I’ve ever seen there. We waited in line about 30 minutes before heading out with our four dozen of oysters, which had been harvested that morning. Side note: Taylor’s was once featured on the TV show Dirty Jobs during a geoduck harvest.

We finally arrived at our campsite at Birch Bay State Park and set up fairly quickly. It was a pretty nice campground with lots of tall trees (shade). The main reason we chose to camp at Birch Bay was to see the unofficial fireworks display that hundreds of people set off over the bay. It has to be one of the best unofficial displays in the state.

We did a quick drive through town and made a short visit to my in-laws who were staying with friends at a rented cottage owned by a guy named Dave. After helping to poish off a bottle of wine, we headed back to our campsite and bedded down for the night.

I was sleeping pretty well until the birds started making one heck of a racket around four in the morning. It sounded like they were having a meeting and delegating who was to do what during the day. I no sooner fell back to sleep when the kids of the Vietnamese clan (there were five tents on two campsites with five cars) across from us got up and started screaming and making all kinds of noise. I was hoping the parents would tell them to be quiet, but no dice. In frustration, I got up to use the bathroom, hoping that a little more time was all the parents needed to quiet their children. Coming back from the bathroom, I headed towards the kids that were yelling and jumping around. I told them to shush, putting my finger to my lips. Momma noticed me and I told her to please try to keep the kids quiet…it was way too early for that much noise. Nobody else in the park seemed to be up yet and I couldn’t believe they had no respect for those still trying to sleep. I climbed back into the tent and put the pillow over my head since the kids hadn’t quieted at all. About an hour later I heard them leave with their boat…thank god! Of course by this time I was fully awake and hungry. While William continued to sleep, I made us breakfast of bacon, hash browns, scrambled eggs, and hot tea.

After the breakfast dishes were washed and dried, we decided to drive down to the beach along the bay since the tide was going out. Clams were spitting left and right across the mud flats as people were digging them up.  I wore my water shoes and waded into the water. The cold water felt really good on the bursitis in my left heel. It was fascinating to see so much sea life in the shallow water. There were periwinkleshermit crabsred rock crabs, and dungeness crabs(mostly tiny ones). Minnows of some sort also darted around our feet. A starry flounder startled William when he almost stepped on it.

We headed back to camp after our morning walk through the water. Since the kids had awakened us so early, we both decided to take a nap. We ended up sleeping over two hours! We spent the rest of the afternoon eating fruit and reading the books we brought with us.

Around 5:30pm, we drove back to Birch Bay to my in-laws. Their friends, Doug and Julie, were cooking paella so we took along the oysters we hadn’t eaten to add to the mix. Though it took a while to cook, the paella was really delicious. I skipped the peach pie since I had eaten a whoopie pie that Dave gave me earlier. I’m not sure where he got them since they are usually only found in the New England states and in Amish territory.

By the time we finished eating, it was starting to get dark and we could hear more and more fireworks being set off. We took our chairs across the road to have a front-row view at our end of the bay. As far around the bay as you could see…and even across the water to Vancouver, you could see fireworks. I discovered that my small Nikon camera had a setting for fireworks, so I was able to get some really cool photos. We watched for several hours before packing up and heading back to the campsite. We had to take the long way around since the main thoroughfare was blocked off by the police.

We fell asleep almost immediately and, thank god, the kids across from us kept it quiet the next day. All in all, we had a really nice trip and I got to spend some quality time with my husband without anyone competing for his attention.

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