Last week we took the club to the 'Up & Over' to another paddle that starts in a river and ends up in the Sound. This time we actually planned ahead a little and checked the tides (last time we didn't). What a difference that makes! We parked here, near Stanwood WA and in the Hat Slough, and paddled down the Stillaguamish river to the Sound and back and had a great time.
A couple of things about this paddle, number 1 - tides. We planned our trip just right so that we would make it to the Sound with around a plus 3 foot tide. I figured this would be deep enough for us to paddle through and not get stuck in the sand. It worked. The extra bonus to this was that when we started to come back, the tide was still coming in - thus sending us up river. We basically paddled down river with a slow moving current and then rode the tides back up...sweet.
The only bad thing about this plan would be if you wanted to keep going past the entrance to the Sound (to somewhere like Kayak Point). Once we made it out to the saltwater, since the tides were coming in, we paddled against a pretty strong current (like a river). Keep that in mind.
Also, this is a river. We paddled it in the Northwest summer which usually lacks the one thing we're known for - rain. Be careful what time of year you paddle rivers (I think that is pretty obvious but just in case). More rain means more water, faster water sometimes, maybe even more snags in the river too.
Then, there is the launch site. This one is a little hidden, especially if the tide comes in and on your return you literally rise a few feet. Check out the picture below - your launch site is just past the one tree before the other tree. The green one. See what I mean?
However, just remember you put-in just down river from a bridge (pictured below).
Finally, the parking lot. There has been some stuff written on local blogs and mentioned to us by locals at the site about the threat of break-ins at this parking lot. The moral of the story was don't leave anything of value in your car if you leave it here while paddling. For us it was fine and we saw more good people coming and going then sketchy ones.
~Paul, Amber, John ETC
We're always planning for future adventures here at the club - while exploring more of the 'Up & Over' we stumbled upon the boat-launch kayak put-in at the Everett Waterfront Marine Park. There are some launching and parking rules (check the link) but overall it looks pretty cool. It is definitely a busy place - lots of boat (power boats) in and out plus the Navy waterfront section is nearby, but, pick a quiet day and there is lots to explore in the area (especially up the Snohomish River). I've even heard there are some sunken ships around...
Another great post on the Everett marina & waterfront - here.
~Paul & Amber ETC
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
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