kayaking

Weekend on the Water

One of my favorite memories as a younger person was when I drove to Montana (from Portland) by myself to hang out with my friend Rachel. She lived near Glacier National Park and it was very cool and empowering to go on a road trip all by myself (I think I was like 23 or so at the time). I drove for hours in my Buick LeSabre (classy) to Spokane, Washington, spent the night in a motel 6-type place and then the next day drove the rest of the way to see Rachel in Montana. It was a GREAT trip with lots of stories (some we will never share with anyone 😀 ) and it was just me on the road with good music and my Road Atlas (yes this was before GPS and smartphones).

(The above photo was me in Montana!)

Over the weekend I got to spend some quality time with my bff Rachel! A few months ago we made plans to have a girl’s weekend somewhere half-way in between Portland and Seattle. I’ve been looking forward to this for months! A weekend away to do girl stuff and recharge…sign me up!

We booked a really adorable guest house on AirBnB. Rachel found it and I highly recommend it! It was pretty remote–you are about 30 minutes from anything, like if you forget your chocolate (like we did), you to have drive 30 minutes to the nearest store. But despite not being near anything, it was the ideal location. It was right on the water on Harstine Island near Shelton, Washington.

You cross over a bridge and then you are on the Island (probably 30 minutes or so from Olympia?) and you are surrounded by trees and the water and quiet waterfront homes. We barely saw anybody out, maybe a few fishermen on the water, that was it.

There was one bedroom and then a loft bedroom.

There was comfy furniture for movie watching.

The bathroom was nice, but slightly weird. 😉

The deck overlooking the trees and water were absolutely amazing! And the house had all these big, beautiful windows overlooking the trees and Sound.

There was a pool that Rachel and I were really excited to use but sadly, it was closed up for the season by the time we got there. Bummer!

Friday afternoon I left Portland and unfortunately I a) didn’t get to say goodbye to Logan because he was still napping when I left and b) hit rush hour Friday traffic trying to get out of Portland so it took longer than expected to arrive, but it was fairly nice and easy drive once I got out of Portland/Vancouver.

Rachel had already checked in and was doing some work remotely and just relaxing. When I arrived we cooked dinner (steaks and baked potatoes and lots of wine) and stayed up way too late gabbing and catching up.

I got the bedroom downstairs and the bed was glorious and so comfy! I might have slept at an angle, taking up the entire bed, because I could. 😉 I slept so good. It was so quiet and peaceful and comfortable.

Saturday I got to sleep in!!!!!!!! Wooooo hooo! I slept in until almost 8am. The bed was so comfy and I didn’t want to get out of bed but Rachel made coffee and I could smell it so…yeah I got up. 😀 We had breakfast (eggs, toast, bacon, coffee, juice) and then we went kayaking!

I didn’t take any photos of us kayaking, which I’m bummed about, but I was worried about my phone so it was just better to leave it behind. Rachel went in on a kickstarter years ago with Oru Kayaks, which are kayaks that fold up into something compact and easy to transport. So it was pretty fascinating to watch her put together these kayaks that were essentially folded up into boxes. It’s a pretty ingenious idea!

So it took about 30 minutes to put the kayaks together and then we were in the water. I can see where the process of putting them together could be kind of a pain in the ass…Rachel admitted that it’s her least favorite part of it and has discouraged her from using them more often, but also admitted that when her and her husband used to go all the time, it was a lot quicker to put the kayaks together because they had more practice.

I can see this being a good alternative to people that don’t have an ideal way to transport or store, traditional kayaks.

Anyways, we got in the water right in front of where we were staying. The sky was perfectly blue, the sun was out, the air was cool but not cold. The kayaks worked great and we didn’t sink or tip over (even though they were a little wobbly) and we didn’t get wet at all. We kayaked around for about an hour. It was really fun and kind of the perfect way to spend the sunny morning. We saw some gray clouds off in the distance so we decided to turn around and head back. We literally missed the rain by like maybe 10 minutes!

The beach was rocky and had a little bit of sand. There were tons of oyster shells and barnacles, lots of seaweed.

We had lunch outside on the deck overlooking the water. We made big, crunchy salads. It was delicious. The water was calm and there was a light breeze mixed with some rain sprinkles.

Then we kind of spent the rest of the afternoon lounging on the couch watching chick flicks and watching the alternating sunshine and rainy stormy weather outside the windows. It was really chill and relaxing.

Dinner was baked chicken and baked potatoes. Then more chit chatting and hanging out. 😀 It was great!

It was such a good way to spend the weekend. It was definitely chill. I didn’t really work out. The kayaking was fun, and sort of active, but not really a workout. I could have maybe gone for a run, but I didn’t feel like it. It was just nice to relax and honestly do nothing for a change.

Sunday we had a leisurely morning. I made breakfast, we drank a ton of coffee. I walked down to the water because it looked like the tide was out and I wanted to explore a bit. The tide was WAY out! The below pictures was right where we were kayaking the day before!

A lot more seaweed that morning. It was a really quiet morning. The water was like a mirror and there wasn’t anyone else out on the water or beach but me. It was so nice.

I wish we could have spent a little more time relaxing Sunday morning before packing up. It was such a delightful little spot to spend time!

So we packed up and refolded the kayaks and hit the road. We decided to make this weekend an annual thing. We’re going to alternate who picks the spot each year. I have to say, I’m already super excited for next year’s weekend!!!!!

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I left off in my story with Pike Place Market and chocolate (yum). After that Rachel and I drove to her friend Phil’s house in Burien. He lives right in the water at Three Trees Pointe with an amazing view of Puget Sound and the Cascades. I would never tire of that view.

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We were at Phil’s house to go kayaking. It was my first time and I was so glad I went with experienced kayakers. I was a little nervous because I didn’t know what I was doing but my fears were cleared up almost immediately. It was so much fun!

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They gave me a mini lesson and then the three of us set off in the Puget Sound. We stayed fairly close to shore and never went deeper than 5 feet or so. I never felt unsafe while I was out there. We paddled down (South of Phil’s house) with the wind at our backs and the water pretty calm. I was starting to get the rhythm and hang of paddling and was actually doing pretty well!

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I had no sense of time and no sense of distance while we were out on the Sound. The sun was warm and there was a cool breeze and we just paddled down the coast. After a bit we turned around because the wind was picking up and the water was super choppy.

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Any skill I developed on the paddle down, went out the window on the way back. We were paddling into the wind, the water was rough and no matter how hard I paddled, it felt like I was going backwards!! It wasn’t as bad as I make it sound–it was still fun just REALLY HARD WORK. I was getting tired, even though I’m in pretty good shape. The rough waves started splashing into the kayak, the salty sea water drying into salt on my face, hands and legs.

We finally made it back and I let the kayak just drift a little by the shore. I was tired but not ready to quit yet. Two little kids sharing a kayak paddled by me and then we got a visit from two sea lions! They poked their little heads out of the water and looked at us curiously. It was such a cool moment.

Rachel and Phil were still paddling up the shore to meet me so I got out of the kayak and did a little shell collecting while I waited. It turned out we were out on the water for two hours. Longer than we planned or thought we’d do! Rachel got pretty sunburned and I got a little sun burn on my legs. Oooops!

After that we said goodbye to Phil and then went back to the hotel to check into our new and upgraded room to clean up. Our new upgraded room was fantastic!

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It was about 3:30 at this point and we had just enough time to go out to Woodinville for some wine tasting. Rachel ordered us a car from Uber — something I’d never heard of before but it turned out to be pretty cool. It’s like a car service you can book on your iPhone app. I’m glad we got a car service to go wine tasting.

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Woodinville is a great place for wine tasting because there’s so many wineries and tasting rooms right next to each other. Part of it is very walkable, too, so you don’t need a car once you get out there (which is a good idea). The first place we went to was Mark Ryan and we weren’t huge fans of their wines. Rachel and I split our tastings (also a good idea).

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The next place we went to was Village Wines, which turned out to be a wine store and tasting room–which meant they didn’t waive the tasting fee if you bought a bottle and the wines weren’t just from Washington. I liked several of the wines I tried but didn’t end up buying any. I was super surprised that my favorite wine I tasted there was a Merlot (Novelty Hill Merlot). It was rich and smooth with hints of chocolate.

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Guess what? You get pretty tipsy when you drink wine after kayaking for 2 hours and skipping lunch! Ooops! We got some food at Village Wines to help with that. We got the hummus and veggie plate and an order of their tortellini. The pasta was cold and seasoned with a lemon aioli sauce. It was my favorite snack! I loved it.

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The next place we went to is my favorite winery in Washington. It’s called Brian Carter Cellars and I’ve been there twice now and wish both times that I could buy every single one of their wines.

The first wine we tried was the Oriana (51% Viognier, 35% Roussanne, 14% Riesling). Rachel does not like white wines but even she loved it so much she bought a bottle! That says a lot, I think. I bought a bottle of Oriana because I loved it to so much. It was slightly sweet and very crisp. I tasted pear and melons. It was such a refreshing, light wine on a hot a summer day.

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The service is always friendly and like I said, the wines are delicious. Our last stop was to Trust. It was a fun tasting room and I bought a bottle from there, too! I needed more snacks because skipping lunch and having wine instead was a bad idea!

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I’m really glad we took a car service. It was easy and made it a much more relaxed experience; no stress! Man, what a busy day! Saturday I worked out, had a great breakfast, checked out Pike Place Market, went kayaking, wine tasting and then back to the room to totally crash!

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On Sunday it was much more relaxed. Rachel and I had our free breakfast, went to the Fremont Sunday Market and then to the Ballard Locks.

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Rachel and I parted ways and I went to my Grandma’s house to spend some time with her. We went through some of her old photo albums and just hung out. It was so nice to spend some time with her and I wished I had more time.

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My Grandma was so glamorous looking!!  After that I had a late lunch with my parents for Father’s Day, had time to get a swim in and then picked up Michael. Okay never-mind, Sunday wasn’t relaxing, it was just as busy as Saturday! We didn’t get home to Portland until 10pm. Exhausting weekend? For sure. But so much fun and definitely an adventure!

QUESTION: Have you ever been kayaking? What was your favorite experience?