Spring is here and my weekend adventures are picking up. Amber and I decided to capitalize on the sunny and not-so-windy weather last weekend and head to the 'Up & Over' for some kayaking on the Skagit River and in Skagit Bay.
What is the Up & Over? Now, this is very Seattle-centric of us, but as Seattleites it's easy to talk ourselves out of heading out of town. We've got lots of water, parks, stuff-to-do in the city limits, places to see. We still love leaving town and exploring the areas all around us. We've been frequenting the Skagit Valley and parts close to the San Juans lately (see posts here and here).
Just calling it the Valley, or the San Juan Islands seems a little ordinary so I started calling it the Up & Over. I thought I'd just call all areas North, Northwest, or Northeast of Seattle this until I thought of something better...well I haven't and now I've been calling it the Up & Over for so long that it stuck. The San Juans? Part of the Up & Over. Port Townsend? Whidbey Island? La Conner? Up & Over. Is it the wrong name? Yep. Is it Seattle-centric? Totally. Is it fun and catchy to call it this? Yes.
I was dropped off by Captain wifey who would later pick me up miles North in La Conner. I put in here at the Skagit State Wildlife Recreation Area on the South Fork of the Skagit River. This park is off of I-5 at exit 221. A Discovery Pass is required to leave a car here. They have bathrooms, trails, a parking lot, and a boat ramp. I waited until this time in the month to avoid the main bird hunting season around these parts. I mean, I don't think I look like fowl but this way I could wear my feathered duck hat (OK, not really).
The river was flowing pretty well here now at the end of March. I was heading one-way to La Conner so I didn't mind (and was glad not to have to paddle back against the current or hike back to my launch site). The views of Mt. Baker (above) were pretty awesome too.
The scenery got a little more prehistoric as I got closer to where the river empties into the Sound.
As I turned NW to more open water I could see Goat and Ika Islands in the distance - this would become (I didn't know it at the time) some of the true markers of my final destination for this trip - the town of La Conner.
In our next post we'll show you the trip from here to town...it was probably one of my hardest paddling trips to date, mainly because of poor planning (cough-tides-cough!). It must of not been too bad because I'd do it again in a heartbeat! To be continued...
~Paul & Amber
Originally posted: 8/10/2010
Everyone's Travel Club took a sweet little weekend paddling and wine tasting trip a few weeks ago. Our destination was Rimrock Lake, a beautiful lake (pics above and below) a little less than an hour West of Yakima, Washington, on highway 12. Here's a description of the lake:
Rimrock Lake which is part of the Yakima Project was formed by the construction of Tieton Dam on the Tieton River. Bumping, Rimrock, and Clear Lakes are in Wenatchee National Forest. The rugged mountain terrain, surrounded by coniferous forest, creates magnificient scenic settings. The lake, along with Clear Lake, provides 2,790 water-surface acres. Available species include rainbow trout and kokanee.
We left Seattle for the Yakima Valley Saturday morning. We ended up in the Valley between Yakima and Zillah, WA, otherwise known the Rattlesnake Hills wine region(didn't see any rattlesnakes). After mega wine tasting we finally left town for Rimrock Lake. Below is a pic from the drive leaving Yakima.
Made it, ready to paddle.
Leaving the next morning...early.
~Paul & Amber ETC
Thought I'd pull a few more posts from the old site (until the current weather improves:) Originally posted 4/1/10. It's also a good reminder that it is whale-time right now in the Northwest so keep you eyes on the water! ~Paul ETC
Good day travelers,
Before you get too excited I'll cut to the chase - I didn't find the whale.
I did find lots of cold, lots of wind, and lots of waves. I also made sure to forget to use the little boys room before launching - everything was about normal for Spring kayaking in the Northwest.
I went paddling around Alki Beach, Seattle on this blustery day for two reasons:
1) I grew tired waiting for the weather to improve
2) I learned from Rico the other day that it was whale migration season
I thought, man, I'll probably have to go out to the coast to get in on this whale action. But then I did a little local blog (blocal) research.
So, how hard could it be? Just find whale (gray or grey, who cares!), get close, hopefully closer than these videos, point, and record. Everyone's Travel Club vs The Whale...err..more like Everyone's Travel Club vs finding a whale...any whale.
First, I launched from Alki Beach. A little slice of Pismo Beach right here in the Northwest (okay not quite, but still, the most "beachy" of Seattle beaches).
Got a little rough, so I decided to put the whale search in reverse. Break time.
Once I made it back to the beach, the weather/wind improved. No whale.
Out to Alki Point (West Point)!
Wait a minute, is that...
That's not a whale, it's a cute little seal. Time to throw in the towel and pack it up.
Everyone's Travel Club: 0 Whale: 1.
Samish Bay Kayaking
Hello! Happy winter kayaking! With the summer river list intact, I decided to try and knock one off before summer. It was a crisp and forecasted sunny day in the Northwest. It also happened to be post-fowl hunting season around these parts. I did some research on the internet on the Skagit River mouth...apparently there are several hundred thousand (yes that is correct, several hundred thousand) ducks, snow geese, and other birds wintering in the Skagit River mouth. Operation snow geese was about to commence.
...about to commence...until we stepped out of the car and the wind was coming off of the Sound at about 40 knots. Not to mention that the river where we were gonna put in was heading against the wind (a.k.a. waves). So, we wimped out and drove a little bit farther North to Samish Island (see our other post on the 'island' here). I knew that Samish Bay would be protected from the wind and we could thus paddle on the leeward side of the island (P.S. It must be a Northwest thing - we have a lot of islands that aren't really islands...not sure why this is, I'll report back when I find out).
If you head over to Samish there is just one place with official beach access, look for the beach access sign (pictured at the end of this post). There are a few portable toilets there, places to park for free, and a little trail down to the beach. Operation snow geese yielded only a field of geese (pic earlier). We've got until April when most of the birds leave...at least we got some beautiful kayaking in!
~Paul & John ETC
Update: Just added some video from the paddle...
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