Well, since we've started this new look here at Everyone's Travel Club, I thought I'd post my favorite trips from the past year here on the new site. This is one of my all-time favorites...so far.
~Paul ETC 3/12/11
Everyone's Travel Club boldly kayaks where few have kayaked before - Lake Serene
Let me start out by saying that this trip, like a few trips before
, might not be for everyone. Most people don't kayak in Lake Serene because she's almost at the top of a mountain, and, well, you have to get your kayaks up there somehow!
My friend John and I (thanks for agreeing to do this one John!) drove about and hour and a half from Seattle to the Lake Serene trailhead
(look for the turn on the right, just before Index WA).
We came prepared to hike up the strenuous 3.6 mile (one-way) uphill trail to Lake Serene and kayak her with our inflatable Innova Safari kayaks. People looked at us like we were crazy on the way up with such large backpacks...they changed their tune at the top when they saw us gliding across the lake in our kayaks.
It was hot. It was in fact strenuous. With lots of water & snacks, the oars, air pumps (one spare just in case), and kayaks, our packs probably weighed in at just under 40 lbs. Did I mention it was hot? I mean, for the Northwest at least...
In all the hiking and kayaking took about 6 hours. A few to get up, a few to play around at the top and kayak, a few to get back down.
Off we go!
Here she is folks, we made it, so clear.
Hey look, it's Spring...in Summer.
The entire lake...
Back down we go!
Wanna try this trip? A few ETC pointers.
*Watch the forecast, you saw the left over snow in the pics right? This was in August
*Be very careful walking on the snow, the drift we were on had a small stream running under it
*The lake water was warmer than I expected, a lot of folks were swimming up there. We noticed the water got a lot colder near the other side of the lake...the side with the snow
*The sun goes behind the mountain tops surrounding the lake pretty early in the afternoon, get up there at a decent time to kayak in the sun (in the summer)
*Take more water than you think, we even took a purifier to fill up our multiple water bottles for the trip down. We met lots of people with just one tiny bottle, poor things
*Wear good shoes, sandals will leave your feet hurting, especially on the way down
*The route is self-explanatory, just follow the trail
*You'll have a choice early on to take a side trail to Bridal Veil Falls, it's awesome but extra hiking. If you really want to make it to Lake Serene and you have a kayak on your back, maybe skip this extra uphill mileage until next time
*Bug spray in the summer is a good idea, there were lots of flies on the side of the lake without the snow
*Take an extra pump for you inflatable kayaks, don't want to get up there and have a malfunction
*Once you are there and kayaking, enjoy! The lake is very difficult to walk around so when you make it to the other side you have the whole place to yourself!
~Paul & John, E.T.C.
Hello folks! I am proud to announce that Everyone's Travel Club has followers! Sweet!
Here we are at the close of our posts from Key West. We spent a total of 6 days in South Florida on this trip. It was my second trip down there, my wife grew up there. We had our Innova inflatable kayaks packed in our checked airline bags (each bag weighed 49 1/2 lbs after the kayaks, paddles (4-part aluminum), pump, and waterproof bags). Our trip was in February, the weather was a little cooler than normal, but still pretty nice coming from Seattle. Important: if you attempt this trip in the summer your hotel may be cheaper but it will be really, really, hot.
As our final post about the trip, we're leaving you with links to where we stayed, ate, and paddled.
1) The Merlin Guesthouse
, Key West
Great atmosphere and location (a couple blocks off of the main drag - close but not too close), we actually found parking pretty easily (but didn't drive that much). Our only complaint was that the walls are a little thin - baby next door the first night, lots of TV the second. They have a few room choices so this could be eliminated with a little planning (and $).
2) The Gardens Hotel
, Key West
We'd didn't stay here but I'd like to try it next time...A sweet layout and tropical gardens surrounding the place. The rooms look equally nice from their website...a good 50% more expensive than the Merlin Guesthouse however...
RESTAURANTS we dined at:
Coffee & Pastries: Croissants de France
A Key West classic...get a "con leche"
...mmm so good - espresso, hot milk, and sugar to taste. I drink my coffee black in Seattle but fully loaded in South Florida!
Sushi: Origami Japanese
Amber's basically a local so we avoid Margaritaville:) Nice secluded-off the main drag with outdoor seating (like almost everywhere in the Keys). Good sushi, parrot next door.
Italian: La Trattoria
So good. How does a nice looking Italian restaurant with great service and delicious food sound? Imagine that with a lot cheaper price tag than you'd expect. Make a reservation by phone the day you plan to dine.
Sandwich Shop: Waterfront Market
The best sandwiches in the world! Just mark down what you want on your sandwich and they make it fresh...it seems like the more you add the cheaper it gets (a.k.a. don't chose the pre-planned sandwiches, take the time to chose your own ingredients).
Mexican: Salsa Loca
Pony up to the bar for some tacos and cervezas...Hey, the Times
Breakfast: Pepe's Cafe
A legend that's been in Key West for 100 years. Tasty.
Dessert: Better-Than-Sex - A Dessert Restaurant
This place looked awesome, we were too full...we'll hit it up next time.
KAYAKING SPOTS we visited on the trip:
Kayaking book for the Keys: Florida Keys Paddling Guide: From Key Largo to Key West
Well, that's about it everyone. Go to the Keys - it's the best spot in Florida for sure! Check back to the blog soon - the posts return to the Northwest for a little while...
Everyone's Travel Club returns with part 5 of 6 of our kayaking adventure in Key West, Florida! Although a little muddy at our launch, we set out from Big Torch Key
to search for a sunken ship I had read about in a local kayaking book. We paddled in beautiful weather for about half the day. We explored mangroves, fought the tide a little bit on the way back, watched a shark play in the distance (sorry no pics...not enough zoom!), and eventually stumbled upon...the sunken ship!
Sunken ship!!! Or some would call it a boat.
Check back for the big finale - kayaking adventure in Key West part 6! We'll give you links to hotels and restaurants that we recommend. We hope you'll have your own adventure in the Keys!
Everyone's Travel Club continues chronicling our kayaking travels to Key West, Florida. Part 4 picks up in Key West. After a little con leche coffee in the morning, I walked 10 minutes from our inn located in Old Town and found a nice little spot to put our single Innova Safari kayak together and launch.
I paddled East/NorthEast towards White Street Pier. The water was pretty shallow, I just had to be careful of old dock posts underwater. The tide was up so I had to go around (rather than under, which you're not technically supposed to do) a lot of the hotel docks and piers.
After the morning trip, Amber and I walked over to the Key West Cemetery
How cool is this place?
Next we toured (on foot...the car has been parked ever since we arrived at Key West) Schooner Wharf, sunset cruise anyone?
OK, that was a bit of a joke - this is a very cool spot, however, you do have a few captains trying to get you on their next cruise. They are actually pretty nice and not too obtrusive. We took a sunset cruise a couple years ago and highly recommend it.
Finally, we took the double kayak out around sunset. The tide was out, we were farther South than the Southernmost buoy and the water was beautiful. Check back to the blog for Part 5, sunken ships and illegal dumping (not by us)!
Part 3 of Everyone's Travel Club's kayaking adventure in Key West was really a scouting mission for future expeditions. Check out these pics from 3 great launch sites.
#1 John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park
Just an hour from Miami
, this park had lots of great places, with close parking, to launch a kayak or canoe. Rentals are available but we heard from a few locals that they restrict a lot of the places you can go (if you rent that is).
#2 Bahia Honda
Keep driving South and you'll eventually pass Bahia Honda, arguably one of the best beaches in the Keys...it's locally pronounced Bay-ah Honda...for some reason...You're looking at about 2 1/2 hours from Miami, or 45 minutes from Key West.
Picture looks like it is underwater...but it's not.
#3 Key West
We made it! I caught a great sunset at the South end of the main drag. The next day I launched from here! Check back soon to catch the trip!
Pic above from Bahia Honda
, Florida Keys
Paul from Everyone's Travel Club here, ready to continue sharing from our recent kayaking trip to Key West, Florida. First, the packing of the lightweight, inflatable kayaks back in Seattle.
After a few long flights, we made it to Miami in one of the smallest commercial planes I've ever flown in!
Our Innova Kayaks fit nicely in our luggage - just making the weight limit for each bag (50 lbs).
After a few long flights, we made it to Miami in one of the smallest commercial planes I've ever flown in!
We relaxed at a friends house in Miami and then set out the next day on our first day of kayaking, just off of Key Biscayne, minutes from Miami. The weather was great - sunny, 74 degrees, water temperature like Seattle lakes in the summer, fairly normal for February in South Florida.
Maybe they should just make all cameras waterproof...
One little oops - Amber forgot to bring the sunscreen...ouchy.
Ouchy for both of us...Apparently applying vinegar or tea bags turns the sunburned heat down a notch...we eventually picked up some aloe.
A pretty sweet day...considering the gloom we left in Seattle!
Hang with us this week as we post parts 3-6 of the Key West Kayaking adventure! Please comment if you have any questions about the trip, we'd love to forward you more info, answer questions, or post some of your pics from the Keys! This is a club for everyone after all...
Well, Everyone's Travel Club has almost been posting for a year! I thought we'd pay tribute by sharing a few posts from the past. This was the trip that started the whole thing!
A few things all midwesterners (like myself growing up) should know about Key West:
1) There are more than a few Keys. There are hundreds. I used to think there was about, eh, four.
2) Key West is a long way from Miami. An hour? More like 3.5 hours.
3) Something I learned on this trip because I took my kayaks - the water South of mainland Florida and around the Keys is really shallow. When I finally got my hands on a chart (I planned a lot of the trip from maps) I realized that despite deeper channels, you can navigate all around the area and always see the bottom (and you might even get stuck and have to get out of the kayak to pull yourself into deeper water).
4) Don't expect a lot of sandy beaches. It may look like a nice little small island but really it is a mangrove...a group of trees that can tolerate the salt water that they grow out of. They actually have pretty cool ways
of getting rid of the salt. The picture below are young mangroves, I took the pic with my new Canon waterproof camera!
5) Key West is the coolest city in Florida.
, minutes from downtown Miami
Sunken ship! Well, a boat at least.
Windy day at Bahia Honda
Stay tuned for part two of six!
ETC continues shopping for the perfect boat to live-aboard! We like this one a lot...to be continued...
I guess there comes a time in every adventurer's life when they decide to go for it. Well, since I pretty much spend a good part of every day wishing I was out on the water, I think it's time to take the plunge.
We've been thinking about this for some time, but have finally decided to actually sell all of our furniture (we already have), move the rest of our stuff into a 5 x 10 storage unit (we have), and start shopping for boats (we have).
It has been interesting and educational. We think we are close to signing on the bottom line (although we've been close before). We'll keep you posted, enjoy some pics from the haul-outs and test sails!