Spit-in in Semiahmoo

Continuing our series on 30 West Coast Ways: Celebrating Great Outdoors Month in Washington, Oregon and California, we’re nipping north to Washington State to visit Semiahmoo Bay, Semiahmoo County Park, and the Semiahmoo Spit Trail.

Warmed by a platinum sun, the sand sucks at my feet as one sandal sinks into the grainy beach, is picked up, then sinks again. It’s slow going. Especially since they are lots of broken sea shells on this beach. But I don’t mind. Here, the day strums out a tune slow and mellow, like an old Country/Western ballad on a Gibson guitar.

White Rock, Canada across from Semiahmoo Bay.

After grabbing some photos, Chris and I clamber off the rocky beach at Semiahmoo County Park in Blaine, Washington, stroll back to the truck, and grab our hiking boots.

Lacing into our boots, we watch a mom caution two young children not to wander off. A thin young man in blue jeans and flip-flops glides past on a bicycle, cell phone pressed to his ear. A gray-haired couple pulls broad hat brims low against buttery sunshine as they unpack their lunch on a picnic table near the water.

A half hour later, clouds splinter. Gray skies are on the run. Seagulls wheels and squabble overhead. A toothy patch of blue grabs the horizon, widens, and swallows the last shards of morning mist.

We decide to take a walk and strike out on the Semiahmoo Spit Trail. It’s a short, flat, paved trail with sweeping views of Mount Baker and the Semiahmoo Resort, where U.S., Canadian, and Washington State flags snap smartly in a crisp blue breeze.

How cool is this?

“How ‘bout some ice cream?” Chris suggests as we near the terminus of the spit trail and the Semiahmoo marina, gift shop and cafe. “Sure,” I reply.

Semiahmoo Marina. Blaine, WA.

We enter a combination gift shop – shells, knick-knacks, kites, carvings, and trinkets –  and snack shop. They don’t have ice cream cones. I settle on a fruit smoothie. Chris gets a Dove bar and a coffee. We grab our snacks and meander past the boats in the Semiahmoo Marina out to the end of the spit. A couple of ramshackle, rust-roofed canneries of yesteryear lean against pilings like drunken sailors on shore leave.

From Semiahmoo Bay you can see Point Roberts along the slate-gray headlands near White Rock, Canada. Glance east and glimpse more of the city of Blaine, Washington. It’s as far north as you can get in the state and still remain on U.S. soil. In between is a sharp shard of restless water. Today the ocean surges under a flawless canopy of cyan sky.

Flags at Semiahmoo Resort.

We finish our snacks and stroll past the Semiahmoo Resort. Then we retrace our steps back to the park and pop in to the Alaska Packers Association Museum.

“That’s White Rock, Canada,” a white-haired docent advises, gesturing across the bay.

The museum isn’t officially “open” yet. But the two elderly ladies let us inside, cheerfully answering questions about freeways, directions, and local attractions.

“Have you ever been to the Peace Arch in Blaine?” asks one lady, blue eyes crinkling.

– To be continued –