Everyone's Travel Club took a little trip in Seattle's local lakes - paddling from the Center for Wooden boats on Lake Union to the Leschi marina on Lake Washington. The trip took about 2.5 hours (oneway) via inflatable kayak with my typical pace of paddle, take picture, paddle, take picture, etc.
This route passes by some great boats and gives you awesome city views. You're also paddling where natives have for centuries - what we call the cut (between the two lakes) used to be called something to the effect of "carry a canoe" (due to the fact that water wasn't always flowing between the two lakes, only when Lake Washington overflowed).
I guess the bad part of the trip was parking, or lack of free parking except Sundays near the Center on Lake Union, and also, I don't think the Center for Wooden Boats technically has a kayak boat launch...I went a little rogue and launched quick off one of their docks (nobody seemed to mind). Does anyone know of a good spot to launch around there? [update from 2011 - there's a great launch on the South side of the lake in the new park]
Coming through the Montlake Cut.
Arriving at the Arboretum...
Boom, done. Leschi Marina on Lake Washington - made it.
So here's the thing - if you ever have the choice to press a button on your digital camera that says something to the effect of, "re-format memory card", don't do it. Or, at least if you do it, make sure you back-up all of the photos first.
It was late last summer and a friend and I thought it would be great to kayak from Lake Sammamish to Lake Washington. We called it the lake to lake. Someone is totally going to sponsor this one day and make, errr I mean, donate tons of cash to some charity. Hundreds will show to paddle board, kayak, canoe, whatever. They'll pay/raise $100 each and walk away with a free t-shirt. With a pit-stop at Red Hook brewery along the way it's not a bad idea...Anyway, we took a couple of inflatable kayaks (the Helios II and Safari), left a car in Log Boom park, just off of Lake City Way in Kenmore on the North end of Lake Washington.
We drove around to the dog park in Marymoor Park (Redmond), parked (and paid $1 for parking), and walked down to the Sammamish River, inflated our kayaks, and off we went. I guess we could call it the dog-park to lake paddle, but lake to lake sounds so much better.
Now, this is normally where the pictures start getting good, and I originally took lots of them. Pictures of our launch site, pictures of the farmland and downtown Woodinville along the way, pictures of Red Hook brewery (early in the paddle, and pictures of some cool houses along the way closer to the end.
After I got home from this mini-adventure (it took 5 1/2 hours by the way) I had to get ready for my Virgin Islands trip. I was simply trying to figure out how to delete a few folders on my trusty Canon freeze-proof, water-proof, shock-proof, camera and then it happened. Reformat blah-blah-blah. I wonder what that button will do? Poof. All pictures and thus proof of my adventure deleted. Oh well, it just means I'll have to do it again next summer. Lake to lake!
~Paul, Micah ETC
If you go, remember, paddle west-ish, from Lake Sammamish to Lake Washington (that's downstream), give yourself about 5-6 hours plus driving back and forth time, expect a little current at the beginning but pretty slow towards the second half. We heard there might actually be a little waterfall that we missed because we started in the dog park, not actual Lake Sammamish (shhh), we'll check it out next time. Don't drink too much at Red Hook, it's very early in the trip:(
Oh how I love paddling in the Lake Washington ship canal, especially in cloudy, cold, rainy weather...no seriously, sometimes our gloomy weather gives some great photos and well, it definitely wasn't crowded out there.
I launched from a little public shore on 28th ave NW, just around the corner from the Habitude Spa in Ballard, just east of the Ballard Locks. Being east of the Locks means that you're paddling in fresh water. If you keep paddling east you'll eventually hit Lake Union (with great views of Downtown), the University of Washington, and Lake Washington.
A nice little paddle with a great launch site - it had parking, easy in kayak put in, easy out. Kayaking the Lake Washington ship canal is a Seattle paddling must - you just might wait for a little more sun in the forecast;)
P.S. It totally cleared up and got sunny in the afternoon.
A few months ago we kayaked across Lake Washington, from Matthews Beach to the shores of St Edward park. This time we drove over to the park and hiked down through the woods to the beach, inflated our kayak, and paddled the shoreline.
After a couple mile hike down to the water (if you go remember you still have to hike back up:) it took a few tries to find a nice place to launch the kayak...one site didn't have enough a shoreline, another had a bee hive.
After a nice paddle we hiked back out and toured the ex-seminary. What a cool place with an amazing history. Check out a great Seattle Times article on the place here. A short list of fun-facts: they now apparently film scenes in horror movies in these old decrepit buildings (which look great from the outside), the story mentions one state park employee that still lives there in a carved out apartment and his kids ride bikes through the old (spooky) library, the apartment walls won't hold a nail since they're so old and stone, and they once found ooze coming from the walls in some of the rooms - they had it tested and it turned out to be nicotine left over from years of smokey priests!
All in all a great little visit, one downside, if you park in the lot you have to pay for the day. I guess I'm used to arriving by water:)
~Paul & Amber ETC
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