We're lucky in the Northwest to have a strong & proud Native American culture. As we paddle different rivers and locations around the Puget Sound, we are constantly reminded of the people that have lived here for thousands of years.
On Rosario Beach, in Deception Pass State Park, there's a great little (kinda giant actually) carved story pole of a maiden named "Ko-kwahl-alwoot" - the Maiden of Deception Pass.
According to Samish tribal tradition, long ago this maiden risked her life to save the tribe from starvation. She did this by agreeing to marry a man of the sea - an underwater dude who fancied her and threatened to take the plentiful sea-life away from the area if she didn't. Her father demanded that she return annually so he could check on her well-being. After about 4 years of visits she had become so accustomed to the sea she decided stop visiting and stay underwater. Legend says her hair can be seen flowing with the tide around the Pass (not to be confused with bull kelp:). She lives eternally underwater and ensures the area has an abundance of food for her p.
Rosario Beach is great little area of Deception Pass State Park with a nice boat/kayak launch, a trail for a quick hike, the Maiden story pole, and some covered and uncovered picnic areas. Check it out!
~Paul & Amber ETC
Link to the story of the Maiden of Deception Pass.
Link to the Samish Indian Nation.
Link to pictures of the carving of the Maiden.
Looking to kayak in New Bern, North Carolina? In our last post from the East Coast we launched from the opposite side of the Neuse River, away from town. However, if you're in downtown New Bern and feel the urge for a quick paddle just stroll over to Union Point Park. There's a boat ramp for bigger boats just around the corner, plenty of waterfront to enjoy, lots of parking, and a wooden dock to launch your kayak from.
The Neuse River flows pretty slow here and without wind it's pretty glassy. Just up from the park is a nice little waterfront area called Skipjack Landing. There's a restaurant called Persimmons with a great outdoor seating area and gorgeous views of the river. Next-door/across the street is the Galley Marina & Store, a full service marina and grocery with all kinds of yummies and daily specials. The only negative for paddlers - the marina doesn't technically have a place to put in a kayak. You could probably unofficially launch from here without being bothered (we call it a rogue-launch:), but it's just as easy to launch from nearby Union Point Park.
If you keep exploring you'll discover more of the town - beautiful architecture, moss covered oak trees, great historic buildings like the amazing Tryon Palace, quaint bed & breakfasts - we love the Hanna House, and a tasty little delicatessen - the Pollock Street Delicatessen. New Bern is super-ultra-totally-amazingly-quaint…and more importantly, close to the water with access to Union Point Park and a gorgeous paddle on the river.
~Paul & Amber ETC
A little northwest of downtown Tacoma is the 702 acre Point Defiance Park. It's a city park…a giant city park. 702 acres puts it at one of the biggest city parks in the country. It sits on its own peninsula, jetting out into the south Puget Sound, pointing across the water to Gig Harbor & northward to Vashon Island. There is tons of stuff to do at the park - the Zoo & Aquarium, Rose Garden, Japanese Garden, Rhododendron Garden, beaches, trails, lots of picnic spots, dog park, Fort Nisqually (long story), ferry dock, boat ramp, boathouse, and more.
If you park near the boathouse & marina there's quite a few places to launch a kayak (there's also a boat ramp for trailered boats). A lot of the docks were nice and low…perfect for paddle-craft. It didn't really seem like you'd have to pay a launch fee, however, it's always a good idea to check the message boards at the boat ramp just in case.
A look across the water to the north reveals the southern tip of Vashon Island. The Tahlequah ferry route takes you from Point Defiance to Tahlequah on Vashon (who knew there was a ferry dock here?).
The park is big - don't get lost! We parked at the boathouse, walked down the beach to Owen beach & back, then got back in the car and drove to the Nisqually Fort area. It's cool to read about the history of the park on the boards near the boathouse - this was the place to be in the 1800s!
Huh, a giant fort in the park. Interesting. Luckily, we had just visited the Nisqually National Wildlife Reserve (our post here) so it kinda all made sense! The fort here is part replica, part relocation of the original fort 17 miles away near the Nisqually delta (it's not there anymore). Historically, this was the first European settlement in the Puget Sound. There's tons of info here from a friendly and knowledgable staff - we'll be back to take the tour soon. Check out more at their website.
Just past the fort is the dog-park and trails that lead out to a great Tacoma Narrows lookout…watch your step - it's a long way down from these cliffs!
Pow. A sweet view of the Narrows from the edge of the park. The Tacoma Narrows bridge is in the distance (I think of this video every time I see it). There's also a tall power-line tower looking thingy to the right of the bridge…that's actually a tower with lines bringing electricity all the way from the Cushman Dam (Oh ya, I remember that place).
So, I think we've settled any uncertainty you might have about spending the day at Point Defiance Park. We did it without even showing you pics from the zoo, aquarium, & gardens. It's a cool place, check it out.
~Paul & Micah ETC
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