Lake Union afternoon

Posted by Ken Campbell December 3, 2011 1 Comment 1272 views

I went to Seattle yesterday to do a presentation for the Washington Kayak Club. (I’ll get to that later.) I got into town early and took a couple hours to paddle around the docks and houseboat communities of Lake Union. Wilderness it isn’t, but it is a captivating way to while away a winter afternoon.
On a paddleboard, the floating neighborhoods come alive. I can take the SUP through narrow slots between the houses that would be difficult to negotiate in a kayak and my vantage point makes the whole thing feel more like I’m taking a walk through a gallery. The houseboats come in all shapes and stages of repair. There are some that look like they don’t have much longer before they sink into the black waters of the lake and others that are mansions, where I expect Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan are probably watching me through the window.

I paddle down the fingers of water then turn and work my way back out again. Sailboats bob next to their owner’s homes and most houses have a kayak or two, or a canoe sitting on their decks. There are actually quite a few SUPs as well, which surprises me, although it probably shouldn’t. On the lake, float planes come and go, and the Seattle skyline begins to sparkle as dusk approaches. I get back to the little park where I put in and haul the board back up to the car, change out of my water clothes and get ready for the evening, refreshed.
As for the slide show at the WKC, it was sparsely attended. There were a dozen there, out of a club membership that is reported to be over a thousand. But what does that mean, really? (I suppose I can take some comfort from hearing that the number of people that were there was twice as many as were at last month’s meeting. But still.) The folks that did turn out were great and I had fun flipping through the pictures again and telling stories about the best summer of my life, but the whole thing couldn’t help but be a little bittersweet. When it comes to sea kayaking around these parts, sometimes it’s hard not to feel like the last horse standing in the glue factory.

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