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
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