Sometimes I just want to put the kayak in the water somewhere, anywhere, and just stretch those paddling muscles, without making a big project of it. One of my favorite places is very near Highland Garden House, but needs a little luck and planning to pull off. About 5 miles west of Mt. Vernon is the Padilla Bay Trail. This trail runs along the dike that keeps the salt water from running into the adjacent farm fields. There is a parking area at each end, but you will be starting at the south end. Head west on SR-20 toward Anacortes, at the LaConner-Whitney road, turn right. You will be heading east for a bit, then north. The parking area is about a half mile, on your left.
In order to put your boat in at this location, the tide for Swinomish Channel ent., Padilla Bay, needs to be 6 ft or higher. It can be coming in or going out, but coming in is better, as it makes getting your boat out of the water easier!
Pull as close to Little Indian Slough, on the left, as you can. You just slide your boat over the grass and into the water.
This slough meanders west and north and then becomes Big Indian Slough. You have a choice now, if it is windy here, it will be even windier on Padilla Bay. You can turn left and expore the upper reaches of Big Indian Slough, very cool, and calm; or turn right and head north and head into Padilla Bay. This Bay is very shallow, so try to stick to the deeper channels. I like to do this trip when the tide is coming in, less chance that you will get grounded in the mud! This is also the time where the birds are feeding on the sand flats and is very interesting.
Try to time your adventure to be pulling out when the tide is 6 ft or higher. The mud here is world-class goopy!
’til next time,
Highland Garden House, 501 E. Highland Ave., Mount Vernon, WA 98273