How to Social Distance Puget Sound Style

You don’t think of sea kayaking as the tool for virus busting but it may be just the perfect tool for social distance.

Social Distance Outdoors

I’m not sure what to make of this health crisis we find ourselves in. I watch the daily news and I’m shocked by the actions of those that seem to find some justification to ignore the advice of our health experts. How hard is it to social distance or wear a mask? How is it our constitutional right to kill others? You have to shake your head at the stupidity, but that’s for another time and place to address.

Luckily we still have the outdoors and can enjoy it responsibly. Most of the trails, beaches, and areas we enjoy exploring are off the beaten path with us rarely crossing paths with others. Now we just carry a mask to slip on if we do hear someone coming down the trail.

The real challenge seems to be keeping repetition from dulling the experience and with that in mind, we pulled our long-neglected sea kayaks down from their storage, cleaned them up, and tried to remember how to secure them on our vehicle for the drive out to our local put-in on the South Puget Sound.

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Ketron Island

For this inaugural paddled we wanted to keep things short and close to home. For that, we decided to head to one of our old haunts Ketron Island.

This small wedge-shaped 220-acre island has always had an interesting history for the south sound, but if the name sounds familiar it’s more than likely due to its recent history as the crash site of the stolen Bombardier Q440 passenger plane from SeaTac airport.

In the latest census, there were 17 residents listed on the island which only sees a couple of ferry runs a day. Over the years there have been many schemes and plans for the islands, but like the rusting ferry slowly dissolving into the beach none have ever been realized.

You don’t think of sea kayaking as the tool for virus busting but it may be just the perfect tool for social distance.

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Looking down on our campground from atop Tower Rock. It's a straight 2000' straight drop from here. ...

Driving up to Mosquito Meadows I noticed a dark shadow and gap just off the forest road. This small but picturesque waterfall on Pinto Creek was the reward for pulling off to investigate.⁠ ...

Heading out to Gifford Pinchot National Forest to explore a few new areas. ...

After a week of sitting on the shoreline waiting for the weather on Augustine Island and her volcano, we finally had our chance to paddle over to the mainland. Fortune smiled at us that day! ...

A kayaker making his way across Coldwater Lake with the crater of Mt. St. Helens in the background. ...

On May 16, 1898, the North Head Lighthouse was put into service as the primary navigation aid at the mouth of the Columbia River and still stands as a sentinel overlooking this treacherous body of water, the confluence between the Columbia River and the Pacific Ocean. ...

This root was near our campsite. I was intrigued because it looks like an entire forest wrapped around it. ...

Mt. St. Helens seen from Windy Ridge. ...

Cispus River with Tower Rock in the background. Our camp was locate on the banks of the river. ...

River bank of the Cispus River inside the Gifford Pinchot National Forest. ...

Headed back to Mt. St. Helens for the weekend. Hoping to visit some of our favorite places as well as discover new ones. ...

Buck Creek is one of the many waterways that feed the Suiattle River. We spotted this view during our last Wild and Scenic Rivers fieldwork. ...

During our recent Wild and Scenic River Survey we had the opportunity to do a bit of exploring. Here's Buck Creek which drains into the Suiattle River. ...

Theresa taking a sample for the Wild and Scenic Rivers project with Adventure Scientist. We'll be heading out to the Suiattle River this weekend for another round of data. ...

Looking out over Crescent Bay from Tongue Point. We recently experienced the lowest tides in a decade here in Washington. ...

Most of the island is privately owned but there is a small section of Washington DNR beach that sits on the SW corner of the island. That’s where we headed for our lunch break. It was a cloudless day with ample sunshine. The kind of day which goes a long way in making up for the short gray cold days we endure during the winter.

We were both pleasantly surprised by how comfortable we felt in our boats. Much like seeing an old friend where you take up right where you left off despite the time in-between visits.

We ended up spending all day on the water and Ketron. The upside was that we never had to share any of this with others. With no effort, we were the models of social distancing. We were in our own little bubble completely isolated and protected from the world of pandemics. Turns out the shorelines and waterways of Puget Sound make the perfect social distancing environment.

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