Goldbar Bouldering? No. Bellingham? Yes.


Got up super early because we a) needed to leave the campground before the hosts got up so we didn’t have to pay the $17 we paid last time (getting almost our money’s worth) and b) it was raining on us.

It was 4:45 am when we broke down our Teton Sports tent (which takes about 45 seconds) and were out of camp at about 4:48 a.m.  We arrived in Goldbar before the grocery store was open so we hung out in the parking lot and watched the little town slowly come to life. By the way, if you need some interesting people watching, this is the place to do it.

Once the store was open, we picked up a few items to make cooking a bit more interesting, then headed out to the bouldering area- or at least where we were told it was.  We followed the directions we found on but instead ended up in an area that sounded exactly similar but not at all where we needed to be.  It led us on an extended goose chase under giant electrical towers in the rain. After hearing the buzzing and crackling for 45 minutes, we headed back.

A stoner reclining in a nearby parking lot gave us partial directions to the area we were looking for. He gave Steve ¾ of the directions, suddenly got bored with that and said, “Something like that, you’ll figure it out.” We did, but only to one very large and very difficult boulder with a ladder placed nearby and no comfortable place for a crash pad.  We continued searching. We found a lot of moss, even more bullet shells and two sawed-down tree trunks with smiley faces carved in… but no more bouldering.  Steve then related to me the story of Billy, a kid who died in that forest and had been a collector of pinecones. The rain we were feeling was his doing. It got pretty elaborate before both of us just got hung up on a single point of the story and couldn’t stop laughing.

Since we struck out on the bouldering in Goldbar, we headed to Bellingham.  Got there in the latter part of the afternoon and ended up right across the street from the American Alpine Institute! Well, we were no less than star-struck on this happenstance and headed in.  We met Dyana and and got a tip on some free camping at Teddy Bear Cover on the beachside near the bouldering area.

After doing some light grocery shopping (it was so much cheaper than it was at Goldbar!) we headed back to Teddy Bear Cove which is practically a tiny rock island connected to the mainland only by a narrow area that hosts a train track. If a train, an island, and the ocean on a tiny deserted rock island aren’t enough to inspire feelings of being creeped out, there are also waves beating logs against the sides of the island and, as it isn’t a legal camping area, no one else is here leading to an overwhelming feeling that someone IS here…watching.

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