Puget Sound Challenge – Day 12

Posted by Ken Campbell May 1, 2009 0 Comment 689 views

The rain kept up all night. Heavy at times, loud on the roof of the picnic shelter. When the morning arrived, the rain had lessened to a drizzle but the air seemed cold. Packing was easy, being out of the elements, and I enjoyed the morning cup of coffee even more than usual as I got all of my gear loaded into the drybags and ready to go.

The water was calm as I set out, across Whiteman Bay and points farther on. It wasn’t long before Herron Island came into sight and I paddled toward it. Studded with vacation homes, cottages and a few full-time residents, Herron Island still manages to be mostly green. There is tall fir and hemlock all over the island, and the understory is thick and lush in many places, so the houses tend to blend well, for the most part. There is one McMansion, however, up near the ferry dock, that is grossly outsized, an architectural obscenity of the highest order. (I have seen trophy homes in many places around Puget Sound and the San Juan Islands and I have encountered some truly gaudy specimens. But for sheer size, and as an artless monument to blind excess, without any saving grace or sense of imagination, this one here is among the most egregious examples of shoreline blight I’ve come across.)

I stopped for a snack at the top of the island and checked my photocopied chart with what I could see ahead of me. Stretch Island was my next landfall, about 3 miles away over open water. There was a slight current running against me, but I figured that most of that would vanish after I’d paddled past the entrance to Pickering Passage. The sky had cleared and it was getting warmer.

The paddle to Stretch Island took the better part of an hour. I got a boost from the breeze, which was building at my back. I stopped at Stretch Point, on a public beach at the top of the island. (This used to be Stretch Island State Park… I wonder if it’s been sold.) There are no facilities and camping is not permitted, but it’s a great spot to rest for a while, soak up the sun. The pea gravel beach is ideal for a midday snooze. I had dispensed with the drysuit by this time, and when I left the beach, headed for Allyn, I was down to a pair of shorts and a t-shirt. Felt like summer.

I got to Allyn in the mid-afternoon. There was a significant amount of mud to cross to get to solid ground, but it didn’t take too long before I was done. (I could have avoided the mud if I’d gone to the dock at the park, but I didn’t.) I had a couple of hours to wait before Mary and Micah came, so I walked around for a while, watched the chainsaw carver at work, bought a milk shake at Big Bubba’s, had a burger at the Boathouse Bar and Grill. It didn’t take long for me to get back into the groove of modern living once again.

This trip is done.

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