Looking for a nice paddle to get your heart-rate up, burn some calories, test your mind? Here's one for you - a paddle in the heart of Seattle WA, from Madrona Park to Luther Burbank Park on the Northern tip of Mercer Island. This Lake Washington trip took us about 2 hours roundtrip, involved some more open water paddling, and gave us great water views of the Northwest.
It all starts with some free street parking and a little bit of a rogue put-in (map below for location).
You see, for some strange reason, Seattle city beaches (like the nearby Leschi) don't allow you to put in a kayak in the summer. Luckily they aren't there the other 10 months of the year so launching is easy, but in the summer they shoo you away. Hence our launch site for the Leschi area - at the intersection of Madrona Dr and Lake Washington Blvd, just north of Madrona Park (pictured above and below).
Our destination is a great little sandy beach, a diagonal straight-shot on the map above, to the northern tip of Luther Burbank Park on Mercer Island. See sandy beach below.
The paddle took us an hour each way, mainly because we went straight across the lake. The advantage to this is, and always is, if you paddle as the crow flies you'll get to your destination faster (unless it's crazy windy or there are tides, or sharks, or something else to slow you down). The disadvantage to this method on this paddle is that you will be far from land on most of the paddle - this can get boring (remember how I said it would test your mind in the intro?) and could be trouble if you flipped or had a boat malfunction...but, as always, prepare and be careful out there and you'll do fine.
~Paul & John ETC
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