Kinney Point, Admiralty Inlet, WA 25–26 Sept 2021


Jan 10, 2009
Seattle WA
[Cross-posted at]

During an earlier visit to Strawberry Island, Maya developed an interest in the nearby and much larger Cypress Island. I promised to take her camping at Cypress Head, but when the time came, the currents were flowing the wrong direction for a morning run to Cypress.

We needed an alternative with the same characteristics as Cypress Head: a campsite Maya hadn’t already visited, reachable across a short paddling distance, with plenty of forest, and not accessible to other people traveling by land. Kinney Point at the south end of Marrowstone Island was the perfect candidate. Best of all, my dad was able to join us, his first time camping with Maya.

00 Route map 80.jpg

00 Route map. In addition to Kinney Point, there is also camping at the Oak Bay Park launch point, but the kayak-accessible campsites at Oak Bay are in the middle of a gravel parking lot, undesirable for wilderness-minded kayakers.

Winter seabirds had begun to return to the inland waters. We saw many horned and red-necked grebes, some still with their red necks. There were rhinoceros auklets, pigeon guillemots, and common murres, as well as surf scoters and even a single bufflehead. A flock of thirty cackling geese flew overhead, heading even farther south for the winter.

It wasn’t easy to distinguish the Kinney Point campsite from the surrounding private property. Finally, I spotted a wooden kayak rack tucked into the trees. The campsite was up a short, steep trail at the top of the bluff.

Maya immediately began playing her favorite campsite games: hiding Chips, the most mischievous of her stuffed dogs, in the woods; romping around on the air mattress in the tent; and reading books and telling stories with me and my dad.

01 Chips ready to go.JPG

01 Chips, all excited to go kayak-camping. The morning before we left, Maya took this picture of Chips, one of the principal members of the dog pack.

02 Loading kayak at Oak Bay Park.JPG

02 Loading kayaks, Oak Bay Park. These folding kayaks are so massive we sometimes just carry our gear in cardboard boxes stacked in the cockpit.

03 Alex and Maya kayaking Oak Bay.JPG

03 Alex and Maya kayaking Oak Bay. The currents in Oak Bay run an hour or two ahead of the currents in nearby Admiralty Inlet.

04 Dad kayaking Oak Bay.JPG

04 Grandpa John kayaking Oak Bay. I forgot to pack my dad’s rubber boots, so he had to wear his tennis shoes to launch and land over the barnacles.

05 Maya in kayak Scow Bay marsh.JPG

05 Maya in the saltwater marsh between Indian Island and Marrowstone Island. The water here was so shallow a powerboater ran aground trying to shoot the pass.

06 Greater yellowlegs Scow Bay marsh.JPG

06 Greater yellowlegs. This time of year, it’s hard to tell whether an individual yellowlegs is migrating through or planning to spend the winter here.

My dad also caught the adventurous spirit. He slept out on the ground on the beach, a risky move in light of the thickening cirrostratus clouds. Just in case it rained, I pitched a one-person tent for him up in the woods, but the weather held all night.

Sunday morning, we all went for a walk in the woods. Kinney Point has never been logged, so the forest exhibits the classic characteristics of an inland shoreline mature forest: douglas-fir and western redcedar co-dominant; with plenty of alder and madrone coming up in the gaps; and a new generation of western hemlock saplings here and there. The shrubbery is particularly interesting, featuring unusual species such as beaked hazelnut.

The wind had picked up overnight and veered to the southeast. It was blowing fifteen knots before lunch, right at the limit of our comfort level. An hour or two later, the wind dropped to under ten knots, so we launched in the early afternoon and enjoyed a fast downwind run back to the car. Along the way, we passed a flock of fourteen oystercatchers foraging at the water’s edge. The rain finally came on about fifteen minutes before we landed.

07 Maya and dad reading Mog book.JPG

07 Maya and Grandpa John reading Mog and the Granny. From this blufftop picnic table, we enjoyed views of the bay and mountains.

08 Sunset Olympic Mountains.JPG

08 Sunset behind Olympic Mountains. The Olympics are our most attractive mountain range.

09 Maya and Biscuit in tent.jpg

09 Maya and Biscuit in the tent. Rachel’s extra-warm sleeping bag had plenty of room not only for Maya but also for the dog pack.

10 Dad hiking Kinney Point.JPG

10 Grandpa John hiking Kinney Point. About two miles up from the campsites, the trail eventually connects across private property to a gravel road.

11 Maya hiking Kinney Point.JPG

11 Maya hiking Kinney Point. The woods were full of mischievous animals.

12 Kayaking Kinney Point to Oak Bay Park.JPG

12 Kayaking from Kinney Point to Oak Bay Park. The hulls of our folding kayas are so beamy they doubled as sails, propelling us before the wind at tremendous speed.

Before we even launched the kayaks to go home, Maya was already saying that we should come back to Kinney Point soon. We will, and many other places besides.


[Cross-posted at]