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Tuesday, May 11, 2021

What’s good: Whatcom Falls

By Drew Stuart

The dreary facade of winter is beginning to crack and thaw. The faint chirping of birds has returned, and with it, a ripe sun to warm our spirits as the year fades into spring.

This change can only mean one thing: It’s once again time to venture outdoors. But to where? Well, what better place to abscond than to Whatcom Falls Park?

The Falls have been a popular outdoor attraction for well over a century, and it’s easy to see why. There’s a certain quiet here, even with the distant roar of water crashing onto stone. The trees stand tall and proud – silent observers to the human visitors scuttling below them. And, as your feet fall on the bricolage of lichen, pine needles and fungi, your footsteps are strangely quiet. The silence is deafening.

Migrating across the stone bridge, you’re put face to face with the power of nature. The raw power of white water cascading into the creek below is an instant reminder of how immense and striking the natural world is. Catalogue it on your phone if you want, but hearing it, feeling the vibrations of nature slowly vibrate the stone bridge is a humbling experience.

All you need to do to enjoy yourself is to look around. The warm sun will guide your eyes over the colorful ravines and plant-covered trails – and there’s always one trail you haven’t gone down, or have forgotten. You’ll be led around the curves of the creek and the high vantage point near the top. Each path leads to a new perspective, and something new to enjoy with each visit.

Yet even from these wonders there is levity. Cool pools of water turn lazily across a mixture of clay and stone – a perfect place to take a dip in creek. Many do just that. Students frequently swim in the safer parts of the stream, even despite the frigid water. There’s a playfulness here that feels natural, and the feeling is shared amongst nearly every visitor.

That includes the dogs. Yes dear reader, you heard right. Even if the natural wonder of the falls bores you, and the deafening quiet seems an unwelcome change, and the soft forest floor and branching trails seem trivial to you, there are so, so many dogs to cheer you up. Big dogs, small dogs, young dogs and old dogs. Dogs bigger than you, and dogs that’ll fit in your backpack. There’s no shortage of fur-covered critters here to get your fix, and they will all be ecstatic to see you.

On a sun-covered day, the Falls are a retreat from bustling city life, providing a pleasant reprieve from the constructs of civilization. If you’re looking to break your hibernation with an outdoor excursion, make sure to add Whatcom Falls Park to your list.

Photos by Drew Stuart


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