Kayaking trips 2023

2023 Dec 23

Lake Washington, Dec 22

  • 25 mi along east side of Lake Washington

Renton to Kenmore: This completed my circumnavigation of the lake that I started in 2016. Melanie dropped me off and picked me up.

Put in at Renton. Clouds were hanging on the trees of Mercer Island, giving an effect of mysteriousness. Light rain until afternoon. Fingers quite cold.

Saw eagles, cormorants, ducks of all interesting kinds. I was surprised to see river otters (about half a dozen total), some sleek black (and curious about me), also a larger tan variety.

Broke for an early lunch at Meydenbaur Bay Park. Brought my camping stove, so I had hot chocolate to drink, however, I never actually warmed up then or later. Three people came and did a cold plunge in the lake; they were shivering by the time they left.

So many fancy houses! When I went by Bill Gate's, they were putting up a large scaffolding above most of the house (interesting!). A guard was watching and called out to me (probably because I was moving slowly). Ignoring him, I moved on.

Saw very few others on the lake. (two boats all day?) A small floatplane was practicing landings and takeoffs. It was strange to see it land, stop, and then race down the surface of the lake for a mile or more before climbing out.

It seemed like there was more house construction on the lake than before. One near Juanita had caught fire and the firemen were there putting it out.

The sky slowly cleared and the sun finally came out. Called Melanie before I got to Kenmore and we arrived there at the same time. Again, tired, but not sore. Long shower at home to warm up.

track along Lake Washington eastside

Camano & Goodwin, Nov 11

Another salt and then fresh water combination trip.

  • 8 mi along Camano Island north

Raining. At one point the rain was so hard that the drops were bouncing up from the water surface. Light glinting from these bouncing droplets started turning the water white around me.

High bluffs on island. A raft of ducks kept moving south ahead of me. Heard a loon. Kingfishers loudly complained at me. Saw eagles and a seal.

A gal at the water's edge by the Camano Island Yacht Club said there was a report of Orcas across near Penn Cove. Watched for them, but didn’t see any.

There was a beautiful bright full-arc rainbow on the way back.

track along Camano Island
  • 5 mi around Lake Goodwin

Lake Goodwin was bump-the-bottom very shallow around the north. In many places people had piled up rocks where it was particularly shallow so that boaters could beware. A good variety of houses along the edge. Two public parks.

track around Lake Goodwin

Mercer Island, Oct 22

  • 13 mi around island

I started this time from Seward Park. It was overcast with a slight breeze.

At about mi 5, the sun was setting with light coming from the West under the edge of the cloud cover. The light illuminated just the eastern shore of the lake; the lake in front was dark and the Somerset hill above and behind was dark. The thin line of the shore stayed lit like this until the sun went down. It was very strange that the clouds were so stable like that.

As usual, there was a constant stream of commercial airplanes on final to SeaTac airport down south.

When Seward Park came into view, it was a dark mound of trees - so very unlike the rest of shore with the lights of houses. The waxing half-moon was out in the twilight. In the light breeze, it made a shimmering column of light across the lake to me.

A faint light was visible at the edge of Seward Park. At first I thought it was just something reflecting the last of the twilight. However, it remained even as the light from the sky dimmed, so I checked it out. It was a flickering electronic candle tea light sitting at the very edge of the water. I left it because I thought it was amusing.

track around of Mercer Island

Lake Stevens, Sept 24

  • 7 mi around lake

After mi 1, I stopped to check out an old phone booth along the road. The phone was gone.

I lost my GorTex rain shell.

track around Lake Stevens

Lummi Island, Jul 27 & 28

Blog: Kayaking to Lummi Island

  • Day 1: 10 mi to Lummi from Larabee
track to Lummi
  • Day 2: 24 mi around Bellingham Bay
track from Lummi around bay

Spada Lake, July 15

  • 16 mi around lake

Did a full circumnavigation of the lake this time. The water was a bit low.

In mi 3 I was at the Sultan River mouth (east). The water was barely deep enough to enter. I took a bottle of the water home for Melanie to taste.

At about mi 5 there was a couple having a picnic lunch on a tributary gravel bar. (The only other boaters/kayakers I saw.) It looked romantic, but they did not look the most fit or prepared and it was remote with some wind against them for the return. I hoped the best for them.

Just before mi 9 (middle north) I was exploring an inlet. When I came out, a coyote was standing on a point, looking out to the lake. After a bit he turned toward me. For about 15 seconds we just watched at each other - about 10 ft apart. However, the wind was pushing me toward him and when I inadvertently tapped my paddle on the boat as I maneuvered, he startled and ran away.

track around lake

Ballinger, Green and Shilshole, June 19

Another fresh and salt water outing.

  • 2.25 mi around Lake Ballinger

The island is low and quite marshy. There was evidence that locals had made a shelter and camped on the island. :-)

track around lake
  • 3 mi around Green Lake

I didn't go on to the island here, but I could see a fire ring from evening parties in the past.

track around lake
  • 6 mi at Shilshole

If the wait for the Ballard Locks had been short, I would have gone through because that is interesting. However, not much was happening and I had limited remaining time. No sea lions by Ray's.

track near Shilshole

Deception Pass, June 10

Did a combination of fresh and then salt water. Some of these smaller lakes are not a full trip in themselves, so I combined them. Didn't even take off my dry suit in the car in between.

  • 3 mi around Lake Campbell

Lake Campbell has a good-sized rocky island that I wanted to climb. Good views and lots of goose poop. Nice little lake.

  • 4.8 mi in Deception Pass area

I parked at Bowman Bay thinking I might play in the Pass. It was, however, already flowing the wrong way. I did not want to get sucked through and have to walk back a long way to my car. I thought I would instead paddle out against the flow and re-enter Bowman Bay. However, the flow even out in the open was strong enough that I ran out of energy. So I went to return the way I came.

For a while I thought I would not be able cross the flow fast enough to avoid being pulled into the pass. Then I was across and I carried my boat back into the Bay.

I went north a bit instead in the placid water there. It is amazing how what is so close is so different!

track by Deception Pass

Kachess Lake, May 6

Blog: Kayaking Kachess Lake

  • 11 mi around north end of Kachess Lake

Water was low and dirt banks were exposed. Went up on island (mi 8).

track around Kachess Lake north end

Mercer Slough, April 29

  • 5 mi through slough, with Melanie in single kayaks

A lovely calm day and a leisurely paddle. Saw turtles sunning, and ducks of course. Some trees down partly across water and lots of water plants. As always, surprisingly quiet for being within an urban area.

track through Mercer Slough

Kirkland area, April 23

  • 9.5 mi along waterfront

The houses of the wealthy Points Communities are always interesting.

track along Kirkland area points communities

Edmonds - Kingston, Mar 25

  • 14 mi loop across Puget Sound

I parked at Edmond's Marina Beach park and paddled south about 3.5 miles, by an oil tank farm and to a floating research measurement buoy. A dad and young daughter on standup paddleboards were going the same way. Chatted with them.

Across to the penninsula and then north to the WA ferry terminal. Walked on to the ferry (free) for the ride back across (now was dark). Paddled back down to the park.

The park was gated shut and my car was inside. A guy on the other side saw me and surprised, asked why I was there. He had a key for the gate and came to let me out, admonishing me for being there. Note to self to remember this!

track loop between Edmonds and Kingston

Ballard Locks through

  • 15 mi from Lake Union through Locks and back

Looked at the house boats on Lake Union, going down many of their water "avenues". Had a couple conversations with people there. Stopped at NWOC; asked about mitts, but they didn't have what I was looking for.

West on the ship canal the boats are always interesting: large and small, fancy and decrepit. Sunlight was about gone when I got to the Locks.

The Locks are often a long delay because of limited staffing. The wait to go down was short this time. I experimented for the return by going around them. I had brought my boat wheels and walked pulling my boat on the wide paved bike trail from Shilshole. It had been a wet day, so only met a couple of people on the quiet streetlight walk. I turned at the Nordic Museum to the street-end water access.

When I arrived back at the Fremont Bridge, it was opening. "For me?", I humorously thought.

But then I noticed a quiet deep engine sound, then also an obscuring of lights from across the lake. A large construction materials barge was being pushed quickly along. It was black and I simply could not see it until it was right beside me. I was by the edge of the canal out of the way, but experienced a startle of fear when I realized why that bridge had opened.

track loop of Lake Union through Ballard Locks

Sammamish River, Jan 7

  • 17.5 mi down down Sammamish River

One-way trip: Melanie dropped me off and picked me up.

Lifted my boat over the weir at the outlet of the Lake Sammamish. The steep section there was navigable (unlike the first time).

The straighened sections of the river in the Sammamish Valley are kind of boring because the bank is high and the view is limited. However, in cumulative, the trip is kind of a contemplative experience.

While waiting in the dark at Log Boom Park for Melanie to arrive, I put my boat on the grass, got in, fitted the spray skirt and relaxed there in warm comfort.

track down Sammamish River