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Beating the heat by cooling off down by the river
ARLINGTON Where does Arlington go when the weather heats up? Residents in the know head down to the meeting of the North and South forks of the Stillaguamish River. Twin Rivers Park, home to the new disk golf course, provides a perfect backdrop for relaxing along the rivers edge.
Roger Smith brought his daughter up to the river with him, taking her into the shallow mud so they could both wriggle their toes.
We come down here to cool off, said Smith, My daughter used to play softball at the park so we discovered this place that way.
As young Carly Smith splashed around, she giggled with childlike wonder at the simple pleasure of being ankle deep in mud.
The water here is the best. said Carly, I love to play in the mud and squish around.
All age groups seem to flock to the banks as the calming effect of the water allows everybody to rest easy. Local baseball standout Kyle Ayres came down to the river to hang out with his friends from school.
Its the first time Ive been here in a long time, but Ive always loved to chill out at the river. You get a little tan, float down on an innertube, its peaceful out here.
As Ayres passed by on his way back from the beach, a group of senior citizens ambled past, pointing out the new disk golf course that marks the backdrop to the rivers more popular destinations. The two elderly couples walked hand in hand along the trails through the pine and poplar trees.
Down on the actual beach, biologist Megan Maclellan pointed out how undisturbed the natural surroundings are.
Im here working for the Department of Natural Resources. We work outside during the day and it gets hot out. Its nice to swim or go fishing here. Ive been watching the birds today, including the spotted sandpiper.
As she finished her comment, a bird whistled in the distance and she exlaimed, There it is.
Her friend Ned Corkran, who classified himself as a professional visitor, also enjoyed the late afternoon sun.
This is my first time down here and its a great spot to cool off. Its a good default, as far as a tourist destination goes.
Not all the beach-goers come strictly to vegetate. Some swim or play soccer, some read or do crossword puzzles, some even play ultimate frisbee along the banks. Local resident Josh Stevens prefers to play ultimate frisbee than play on the marked disk course on the interior of the park.
We get eight or nine people out here and play real frisbee. Not that golf stuff. Ill invite friends and have a beer. Its a good place to be in the summer.
Others use the river as an escape from the town. Allan Oehring is a local resident who discovered the river after his favorite hotspot, Rotten Ralphs restaurant, closed down.
Its a good spot up here, said Oehring. The people are nice, the water and beach are clean. There isnt much else for me to do in town.
His friends agreed with him. Amber Brown lobbied for the expansion of businesses out onto the banks of the river.
We need a beer garden or a club down here, Brown said. The river is awesome, but it would be better to get a place down here to hang out.
Environmentalists might gasp at the notion of disturbing the natural habitat of so many creatures with a disco. And that would add to the expense of what has become a great source of cheap entertainment. Cait Slagle sees it as such.
How can you go wrong when its free, noted Slagle. Its a good place to come after work. But yeah, its free. Thats the nicest part.