Every time we drive south from Seattle we always pass by (and don't stop at) Saltwater State Park. We finally stopped to check it out! Lucky for us it was low tide and we got to explore some cool tide pools.
The park has parking close to the beach, camping, & a nice little saltwater cafe that opens seasonally. Chill with a picnic at one of the many tables throughout the park or explore nearby beach and woods.
Despite being a touch rocky at low tide, not a bad place to launch a kayak to head straight across the Sound to Point Robinson Lighthouse on Vashon Island (Maury). We also heard that it's a great diving spot.
All & all, not a bad little park…that we finally stopped to check out. You should too!
~Paul & Amber ETC
While exploring Moran State Park on Orcas Island, we took a short and rewarding hike inside the park to Cascade Falls. While there are a few longer trails that take you to the falls, we were pressed for time and just parked at the small parking lot closest to the waterfall.
The trail winds along a stream and then opens up to reveal the falls from above. We hiked down from the upper lookout to get a great view from the ground. If you're on Orcas you should definitely check it out!!!
~Paul & Amber ETC
Short ETC Video from the falls
ETC Exploring Nearby Mt. Constitution
ETC Exploring Eastsound
Summer = more frequent and longer trips for the club. In an effort to explore as much as the Puget Sound as possible, I've been trying out each leg of a northward paddle from Shilshole/Seattle. It starts with a short-ish paddle from West Point in Discovery Park, heading north to Shilshole. I've paddled from Shilshole to Carkeek, Carkeek to Richmond Beach, from there to Edmonds. The next logical step is Edmonds north to Mukilteo.
The thing about Seattle/north-central Puget Sound in the summer is that usually the winds blow from the north. The only exception seems to be when new weather is arriving or when I'm trying to plan a big trip! So, instead of Edmonds to Mukilteo, I reversed it - Mukilteo to Edmonds - for the extra wind push in the right direction (in theory).
That crazy thing on the front of my kayak is a downwind sail. I was counting on the north wind to give me a little extra push on this trip because it is a longer one - a little over 9 miles. Well, it went from north wind (yippee!), to no wind, to south wind (not yippee) to no wind. It wasn't too bad, but there wasn't enough for the sail - oh well. Note that in the Northwest winter the wind on this trip usually blows from the south.
It's a pretty straightforward paddle. You've got Edmonds in sight as your destination in the distance. This sometimes breaks down newer kayakers - you basically paddle at the same spot for the entire trip. In my Innova Helios II, with two paddlers, this trip took about 3 hours from Lighthouse Park in Mukilteo to the Edmonds Marina. Sights along the way? You've got Whidbey Island on your right, mainland on your left, a cool earthen beached ship along the way, and Meadowdale Beach Park about halfway for break-time if you need it.
Despite many signs about not diving near the Edmonds ferry terminal, there aren't any about what kayakers should do when approaching. Paddle around the giant ferry that could leave at any moment or sneak quickly under the docks? We went with the dock option with no problem except the ferry attendant reminding us not to do it again...
After the Edmonds ferry terminal and fishing pier you'll arrive at the marina. It's a very congested marina, especially the entrance/breakwater, so be careful coming in. After you enter, head south and you'll see the fuel and guest docks. We pulled right up to an empty guest slip and got out and packed up our gear without hassle. If you keep going past the marina there is a nice beach to land. There's even a beach before the ferry if you don't want to go around. There's restaurants here - a nice place to break if you were heading farther south.
Like I mentioned before, this trip took about 3 hours (in our inflatable) and is best paddled downwind (aren't all trips better downwind?!). The next step in my northward travels? Probably Mukilteo to Camano Island! Or maybe in reverse if the wind actually blew the way it was forecast!
~Paul & John (& Captain Wifey in the support car:) ETC
Just a short drive from Gig Harbor exists Kopachuck State Park - a forested park on Henderson Bay with plenty of water access and some pretty cool nearby bays & islands to explore. There's lots of parking (Discover Pass required) but it's not that close to the water. If you've got hardshell kayaks, you'll have a little hike down the hill to the beach (I'd look at a map before you go). Luckily for us, our inflatable packs up nice and we made the short trip down the trail to the water.
While hiking down to the beach we stumbled upon a marine trail campsite. It was cool to see in person since we recently joined the Washington Water Trails Association. It's a pretty sweet deal - a minimal annual membership for discounted, members only aquatic campsites up and down the Puget Sound allowing paddlers a place to camp (that way you could complete some super long paddling trips).
We eventually made it down to the water and started paddling south towards Horsehead Bay. It's popular to go the other way towards nearby Cutts Island State Park (some of the locals call it Deadman's Island!) or Raft Island, but we've been there done that. Also, it was a busy summer weekend day and several power boats were WAHHHH-ING!!! around the islands (we only like power boats WAHHHH-ING when we're actually in them:).
Paddling into Horsehead takes you past a tempting sand spit…tempting because it seems to be private property…otherwise it would be a great place to stop for a snack. We paddled in and out, pretend shopping for our favorite beach house, and eventually drifted back to our launch site at the park.
Kopachuck is a nice day trip and it was cool to finally see a WWTA campsite. If you haven't paddled around here before it's definitely worth a visit. A circumnavigation of Raft Island (private/residential) is totally doable and exploring Cutts Island (beach and hike around) is fun too. You could do it all in one day pretty easily. If that day is a warm summer one you may not be alone!
There's lots of parking but not a whole lot of beach space - I'd choose a different beach if you planned to spend the day tanning (or, as tanning as Northwestern-ly possible:). However, word on the street is that at low tide a sandy beach appears…maybe there's tanning to do after all!
~Paul & Amber ETC
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