I got to go paddling three times during our stay at Belfair State Park. Yippee! Sooz made this possible by agreeing to hang out with Wally and Tyler while I was on the water. This will surely cost me — and that’s only fair — and it was worth it.
This end of Hood Canal is fairly shallow, and the summer sun warms its waters to temperatures far more comfortable than you can find in most of the region, at any time of year. The water was also surprisingly clear for midsummer. Paddling alone, I stayed fairly close to the shore. I haven’t practiced self-rescue techniques for a while, so I thought I’d stay where I could swim (wade?) into shore if needed. Not needed though. What I mean is, I didn’t sink, and I didn’t dump. Good.
You can’t tell from the pic, but it was a little breezy and I was a little tentative on that first paddle — my first in more than a year. I didn’t venture too far, instead making “laps” back and forth in a half-mile area. It was fine. Getting back on the horse…
On our last full day at Belfair, I met a small contingent from the South Sound Area Kayakers — an Olympia-based club I’ve paddled with, sporadically, for many years — for a 12-mile paddle up to another state park and back. Great fun, and nice to catch up with one fellow I met years ago and who has done some amazing paddling trips lately. There was also the mandatory late arrival who held up the launch, forcing the group to carry their boats out farther and farther as the tide receded. We survived, and stopped for lunch at Twanoh State Park.
On this paddle we saw a few wild things… cormorants, a kingfisher, a few harbor seals, some Great Blue Herons, and the usual surfeit of gulls, traveling incognito. At the paddle’s end, I managed to find the deepest, muckiest mud for my landing spot, and a paste of salt and mud affixed itself firmly to Oscar Diggs’ hull. Cleaning it, a day later, was arduous, but also a good chance to catch up with neighbors who happened by.
So, yeah. Kayak camping used to involve careful stowage of just the right amount of food and camping gear into the boat, paddling off to some exotic locale, and then sleeping in a tiny tent on increasingly hard ground (that is, the ground got harder as I got older). Now, it’s sleeping in Toto’s deluxe master bedroom and toddling out to the water when… I feel like it. Not saying one approach is better than the other — neither is. But it’s nice to have the choice.Sharing is caring!
Following is daring.