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
Follow us on Twitter and receive updates when we post (click the birdie).