Saturday, August 18, 2012

Killing Birds

'A' calls and asks me for a ride up to Smoke Farm.  She has a meeting and no car.  I have to take art up, so it is a kill two birds with one stone moment.  With the canoe is currently stored on the roof of the car and the Snohomish Estuary and the Stillaguamish River on the  driving route it could be a "kill three birds with one stone" moment.

After the meeting we entertain a paddle on the lower end of the Stillaguamish, but after a bumbling drive through bottom land farms we find that the boat launch is a DNR site and I don't have the required permit.  We head on to the put-in on the Snohomish instead.

Rather than repeat a trip into the Spencer Island area, we head down the river toward the sound.  As on our other trips, we have osprey in sight at all times.  At any one time there always seems to be 3 or 4 and at least one or two nests. We see kingfishers, sandpipers and great blue herons.  There are some caspian terns, but except for sea gulls, the osprey are the most numerous of the birds that we spot.

It is near low tide, maybe just a bit after.  The current is near slack in the river and we have a headwind.  We circle an island finding deer tracks in the mud of the recently fallen tide.  Our paddle is along old wooden sea walls and 20 foot high pilings where barges and log rafts were once tied.  It is all deteriorating and while it is industrial, it is old industrial and we talk about how we can still see what it might have been at one time.  The "industrial" is not opaque in this river.
We paddle on and with the motion well remembered in the muscles, we can watch for birds and seals (we see two) and take in new sights of a new terrain.  As we near the mouth, a distant crane leaning over a beached sailboat changes into two large sailboats that have been stranded by low tide, their owners milling about waiting for the rising tide to erase their poor seamanship. 

I tell 'A' that we should go over and portage our canoe past them.

Ahead lies Jetty Island, a sandy breakwater island made by piling and stranding old wooden barges and ships.  Neither of us have been there and with the weather calm we can safely head out across to explore.

Jetty Island

The island is wonderful.  It is a mix of dune and brush with some very large drift logs on the beach and derelict boats and barges in various states of exposure.

Western Red Cedar
What 'A' is looking at

 The island is visual candy and we wish we could explore more (it is 2 miles long), but we can't.  We return to the canoe and head back up river on a strong flood current and tailwind that makes the return pass as quickly and easily as this sentence.

1 comment:

Richard Powell said...

What a great place. Love the photo of the log with the swirls. My kind of art.