Since most of this takes place in Whatcom County rather than Skagit County, I couldn’t title this post “Random Skagit.” Anyway, here are a couple of the places we’ve been lately.
We’ve been getting things ready for the big island-wide yard sale on June 23. That means going through the house and finding stuff. Most of the more interesting trinkets will go into an estate sale later, after Amy has had a chance to look through things. For this sale we’ve got some random household items and pieces of furniture that are still in great shape.
Pulling stuff out of closets kicks up a lot of dust and allergens, so occasionally we have to take a break and get out of the house. Last week we decided to head into Bellingham for a diversion.
Both of us had been craving Mediterranean food. We found some excellent Greek food downtown at Akroteri. From there we headed over to the Spark Museum.
I had visited the Spark Museum of Electrical Invention back last December and found it to be a fascinating place. I actually had the draft of a blog post about that visit, but this was about the time that I was having problems with my foot and about the time that we were getting ready for holiday travel. I just didn’t get around to it, but I do have the photos from that trip. I’ll intersperse them with this visit.
The museum is an exceptionally cool place and I knew I had to get Laura in for a visit. When we arrived there was much more activity than my previous visit. There were lots of docents and volunteers about. A college group was in the main auditorium for a show, so that wasn’t available to us today. We paid our entrance fee and toured the main museum exhibits.
The exhibits start with the earliest experiments in electricity, including Leyden jars, early batteries, and Franklin’s experiments.
They had some hands-on displays for static electricity and other electrical concepts. Laura said that she used some of these in her intro chemistry classes, but that overall the museum didn’t have enough hands-on material.
The collection of vintage electrical devices is truly amazing. These include crystal radio sets, telegraph machines, and old audio equipment.
Of course, the item that caught my attention was the Theremin. They had one original Theremin on display and a modern Moog Theremin that you could play. I actually mde my way there first, hoping to beat the college kids.
When I was here in December the museum had just received a donation of vintage synthesizers and there were plans to open an electronic music exhibit. I was disappointed that none of the docents on this visit were even aware of the donation or plans.
At that time I had chatted with the director about ideas for displaying the instruments, including some simple interactive displays for getting across the basic concepts of synthesis. Oh well. Our time here has just about run out, so I doubt I’ll get to see what they do with these.
From downtown Bellingham we headed south toward Fairhaven. We decided to stop at Boulevard Park, located on the waterfront of Bellingham Bay. It was crowded, but we managed to find a parking spot.
From the park itself a long boardwalk runs out over the water. We decided to walk along it. Soon we discovered why the place was so crowded. The schools had recently ended for summer, and this looked like an end-of-year party for high school students. A large group had gathered at a shelter on the dock and many were jumping from the boardwalk into the water. It looked like quite the party.
We decided not to disturb their party, but retraced our steps back to the car.
Cypress Gateway Overlook
The next day I wanted to explore a bit more of the Larrabee Park/Chuckanut Mountain area. Usually I just go to the waterfront portion of the park to launch my kayak, but the part actually covers a huge portion of Chuckanut Mountain. There are trails leading up to hidden lakes and scenic overlooks.
I wasn’t up for much hiking, but in Google Earth I had found a parking area at the top of the mountain. I figured if there was a parking area there must be a road up to it, so I decided to explore.
The access road was easy to find. It started off paved, but soon turned into a moderately maintained, moderately steep, overly bumpy dirt road. Laura would not have liked it, so I was glad I was on my own for this trip.
There were parking areas and pull-outs for other trail heads along the way. Eventually, though, I reached the parking area and end of the road. There was a rest room and other trailheads. The view across Cypress Island and the San Juans was nice, but I was hoping for more expansive views. There were lots of trees to block the view (not that I want to cut them down, or anything.)
Searching for more viewpoints, I decided to hike along one of the trails. The forest was dense and a lush green undergrowth of ferns added a mystical feel to the trail.
I reached a trail junction. One trail headed sharply downward and another ran east along the ridge. I hadn’t come prepared for a long hike, so I decided to head back to the car before I got too far along.
I met several hikers who gave me some great info about the trails. They said that their favorite was the Ridge Trail, which has an access point just down the road a bit. I decided to check that one out. I pulled off at the trail head and wandered out to the viewpoint. The view was of the valley between Chuckanut and Blanchard Mountains.
The trail did run along the ridge for quite awhile with views in both directions. I hike for a bit, just to get a feel for the path. The hikers had said that they liked doing a point-to-point hike, leaving one car up here and parking another one down at Old Samish Road.
It had been a good day’s exploration. I headed back down the dirt road, making note of trails I’d like to attempt. However, our time here in the PNW is getting short. There’s still much to do, and these trails may have to wait until a future visit.