Thursday, February 18, 2010

Teddy Bear Cove Loop

I did a Teddy Bear Cove loop today, south of Bellingham, during the noon hour. Teddy Bear Cove is just south of Arroyo Park, and part of the cove is Whatcom County park land. Only seven miles, but all things considered, I'm sure it'll be one of the best runs I do all year.

Weather: blue skies, 60 degrees, middle of February.

I ran out to Teddy Bear via the Interurban, almost just like the beginning of C-nut. Evergreens, moss, Padden Creek. People were out. Once through Arroyo Park and across California Street, a right turn and three minutes of steep switchbacks down to the water. Crossed the Burlington Northern railroad tracks, which skirt the shoreline from Seattle to Canada. Big train carrying Caterpillars flies by. Notably, the cove itself is historically a clothing optional spot. Years ago I saw naked people somewhere around here, Clark's Point actually, which is near. I was out crabbing with some friends. I think the clothing optional people just sort of wandered our way.

I headed down the track, north. The railroad ties are covered with oyster shells, cracked by seagulls. Pearl white shells everywhere. A long trestle splits the cove in half, curving right through the middle of the bay, like a half moon. It’s narrow, and the tracks are active, so that’s where this route gets a bit sketchy. It's not a good idea, crossing the trestle--I moved fast. Stirred up at least five herons, as well as a bunch of other odd looking waterfowl, with white on their wings, as I ran, five or ten feet above the water. It was an Auduboner’s delight—all sorts of birds were hiding out in the Cove, and there were no other people. Saltwater air.

After the trestle, there’s a bunch of beautiful sandstone cliffs, with red madrona trees hanging out in odd directions, and then there's a train tunnel, built in 1921 I believe, with a very narrow opening. It's a Stephen King kind of tunnel, stretching about 200 yards, with a curve, under the hill. You can't see the end from the beginning. A train had just came through, and so I didn’t think it over much—I launched in. A person could hunker down in the worst of cases, I think. Water dripped from ceiling in the middle, just like the old CC tunnel. Very dark.

I think I went through this tunnel in the early nineties—this area way back then was favored by transients and college drinking parties, with bonfires.

Once through—and in the middle I couldn't see my feet--once through, I ran the tracks back to the dog park in Fairhaven. This is about a mile or so. There was a railroad worker midway down, in a car--I waved and then looked away, because there was some trespassing involved in this loop, probably. Kayakers were paddling the calm, and Lummi and Orcas Island were to the left, with the snow on Cypress Mountain clearly visible to the north, birds flying this way and that, beautiful world, that kind of day.

And then I went back to work.

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