Jim's home | Paddling home

Skagit River trip - 2007

Back when I used to work at Bill Gates' digital image company Corbis, a coworker Carl Gronquist would organize these cool paddling trips where we'd ride the outgoing tide on the lower Skagit River, hang out on a sandbar that's only exposed at low tide, then ride the incoming tide back up the river to our put-in point. Lots of people would come. We paddled through many narrow passage ways where it's possible to get lost. Indeed people did get lost on the way back. You could get into trouble by taking a turn into a passage where the current would flow against you, and even get stuck. I remember one year a couple spent the night on a small island there. Anyway, so long as you stuck with the group it was safe and tons of fun. People would barbeque, play games, etc. A couple of times we brought water rockets with us and provided entertainment for everyone. This year we invited my friend Frank Kapland and my son's friend Sam Zimmerman with us.

From left to right, Sam, sons Evan and Max, at the put-in.

It got pretty hectic at the put-in since the tides made launching time-critical.

Max up front paddling, Sam behind him. Glowy things are the water rockets.

Frank Kaplan in our little kayak.

We loved these waterways.

Water rockets on the sandbar with observers. I tried to warn people that they should stay away, and keep their kids away from the launcher. There is some danger. We've had rockets explode with shards of plastic going everywhere. Hard to make people listen though.

Evan with a mondo rocket.

Boats and people on the sand bar.

Max piling sand on the stabilizing arm of the rocket launcher.

Evan launching a rocket.

What are you gonna do with those clams Frank?

The tide coming in and covering up our sandbar.

Sand castles that will never survive.

This only prolongs your ability to stay there for so long as the tide comes in.

At a certain point everyone just sits in their boats and watches the water flow in around them and eventually floating their boats. It happens very quickly and is lots of fun.

No more sandbar, so off we go.

Heading back through the narrow waterways.