Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Spencer Jack Takes Me Back To Washington To Birch Bay

No, that is not my nephew, Spencer Jack, still on a beach in Hawaii.

Spencer Jack is back on the mainland, which would make Spencer Jack's location, you see him at here, Birch Bay, in Whatcom County, in Washington, a few miles south of the Canadian border.

Birch Bay is an extremely popular tourist destination, both for Americans and Canadians.

Birch Bay is a shallow bay, so at low tide the water recedes a great distance. On a warm summer day the sun heats up the exposed sand. When the tide rolls back in the heated sand heats the water.

Thus swimming in Birch Bay can seem like swimming in a heated pool, at times.

The Wikipedia article about Birch Bay explains the nature of the bay in details I'd not previously known.

Birch Bay is a headland bay created by the refraction of incoming waves on the headlands that lie on either side of the bay. The headland to the north is Birch Point, and the one to the south is Point Whitehorn. The waves bend as they enter the bay and lose energy in the process. The result is a half-moon-shaped bay with a gentle sloping beach. 

Birch Bay is not an incorporated town. However it is a census designated place where at last count 8,143 people were populating the Bay.

Locals refer to Birch Bay simply as The Bay. For example, growing up in the next county south, that being Skagit County, mid week mom and dad might ask if us kids wanted to go camping at The Bay next weekend. We never said no. We would camp at Birch Bay State Park at the south end of The Bay.

Way back then there was a carnival attraction at about the halfway point on the road which follows the shoreline. There was a Ferris wheel, a train and other rides. The carnival has long been replaced by condominiums.

The carnival is long gone, but Birch Bay currently has a waterslide park called Birch Bay Waterslides.

When I was a real little kid my Grandma Vera had a cabin at Birch Bay. I only vaguely remember the cabin. It was up a hill, above The Bay, surrounded by trees.

Way back then there was a real cool old-fashioned putt putt golf course that likely dated from way back in the 1920s. Or earlier. I wonder if that is still in existence?

I do not know if the 2015 version of Birch Bay still draws huge crowds in summer, with a non-stop traffic jam of people driving, real slow. I suspect the non-stop traffic jam is likely even more so these days.

I must remember to ask Spencer Jack to take his dad back to Birch Bay to see if my favorite piece of driftwood is still there, in the state park zone, across the road from the picnic area restrooms. I spent a lot of hours climbing on that driftwood when I was Spencer Jack's age, and younger....