Puget Sound Challenge – Day 11

Posted by Ken Campbell April 30, 2009 0 Comment 534 views

I didn’t have to go until the afternoon. Currents were running strong in the wrong direction all morning, so I went to the Y with the boy. A little swimming practice… neither of us seem to be able to get enough of the water.

When I did start out from Titlow Beach, it was almost 1:00 PM. The ebb was still moving, but losing force quickly. I was able to cross to Point Fosdick, where I stopped for a few minutes. As I rounded into the channel between the peninsula and Fox Island, the wind came up and the water, which had been all silk and long undulations, became rowdy. I dropped to a seated position and swapped paddles, ferrying across the last of the ebb until I got to the Fox Island shore. The sky, which had been gray and threatening, had blown clear by the time I finished the crossing.

Working my way along the shore, I passed mansions and shacks, old nethouses and modern boathouses, but not much open space. It’s not a wilderness, this Fox Island.Not without its charm and beauty, but a long way from how it used to be. By the time I got to the bridge, the current was strongly in my favor, and I was whisked beneath the roadway with not much effort from me. I pulled in to the shore at the sandspit across from Green Point. I’m sure it was private property but I needed a break. Some food, crackers and cheese, but without the crackers, which I’d apparently forgotten.

The subsequent crossing of Carr Inlet was a dream. The wind had vanished and the current here was dispersed over a wide and deep channel. The surface of the water was like glass, an immense mirror that missed nothing. The distant puffs of cloud, the shape of the land in the southern distance, the curve of McNeil Island, the repetitive motion of my arms and shoulders, the swing of the paddle… all of these, and more, were there in the water.

I haven’t measured it yet, but I’ll bet the crossing from the tip of Fox Island over to Pitt Island is about 3 NM. I glided that entire distance on what felt like velvet, noiseless and smooth. I stopped briefly on Pitt Island, then rode the current down the passage toward Filucy Bay. Off to the east, Eagle Island was wedged between McNeil and Anderson like a jewel; farther south, the sky was black with clouds.

I rounded the tip of the peninsula just after 7:00 PM and started working on up the shore toward Joemma State Park, and finally arrived at about 8:15 PM. Just as the rain hit. Thunder and lightning, and very large rain drops. I hied myself and my belongings up to the picnic shelter, out of the weather. I was the only person there, as far as I could tell and, as it was growing dark, I decided that I’d forego the tent in favor of sleeping right there, on top of one of the picnic tables.

Turned out to be a good move. As it happened, I didn’t get the boost throughout the day that I thought I would from the current, and there were a few times that I was bucking a wind, so I got to the park a little late. I ate my freeze-dried Katmandu Curry in the dark, drank a beer and went to bed. I fell asleep to the drumming of the rain on the roof and the rustle of the madronas.

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