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Blake Island, central Puget Sound, WA 20–21 Aug 2022

alexsidles

Paddler
Joined
Jan 10, 2009
Messages
615
Location
Seattle WA
[Cross-posted on alexsidles.com]

I took my two-year-old son, Leon, for a one-on-one camping trip, just the two of us all weekend. We went to Blake Island, Seattle’s nearest kayak-camping spot.

00 Route map.jpg

00 Route map. From Weather Watch Park in West Seattle, the distance is about five miles (8 km) each way.

The kayakers-only campsites on the northwestern tip of Blake Island were all occupied by a women’s group, so we paddled around the corner to the powerboaters’ sites. Even at the height of summer, there were a handful of campsites that remained unoccupied.

Leon and I spent hours in the grassy field up the hill from the campsites, catching and releasing thistledown. Leon called the puffballs “floaties.” He loved watching them soar up to treetop height.

In the forest, Leon spotted a deer, which he correctly identified as a mama deer. He was very proud of his discovery and identification of the deer, which he made without any assistance from me. He insisted we return several times throughout the weekend to see if the mama deer was still “hiding in the woods.” It occurred to him, too, if there was a mama deer, there must also be a baby deer and a dada deer, but we never did see any deer after that first glimpse of the mama.

Leon was playing down on the beach, in the shade of an alder tree, when a yellowing, autumnal leaf dropped from the tree and landed on his arm. This was a revelation to Leon. Like a two-year-old Isaac Newton, he began to study the tree that had interrupted his afternoon. He saw that a large number of leaves were falling. This observation led him to notice that the boles of some of the trees were leaning over, as if the entire trees would also someday fall. Having independently discovered gravity, he spent the rest of the weekend pointing out trees he thought were likely to fall and in which direction.

01 Leon kayaking to Blake Island.JPG

01 Leon kayaking to Blake Island. Currents throughout this stretch of Puget Sound are negligible.

02 Leon helping with tent poles.JPG

02 Leon helping with the tent poles. Leon was thrilled to spend every waking minute with dad for two full days.

03 Osprey surges from water.JPG

03 Osprey surging from water at Blake Island. This species forages by plunging bodily beneath the water to capture fish in its talons.

04 Osprey with flatfish.JPG

04 Ospray with flatfish, Blake Island. Forty-five minutes after catching this fish, the osprey returned and caught another.

05 Leon at sunset Blake Island.JPG

05 Blake Island sunset. In the middle of the night, I woke up to hear a barred owl calling.

At breakfast the next morning, Leon sprayed himself with milk. In his newfound spirit of scientific inquiry, he investigated the emotional impacts of this development.

Leon [dripping milk]: You’re not happy, Dada.​
Alex: I am happy.​
Leon: No. You’re mad.​
Alex: I’m not mad.​
Leon: Oh, yes you are.​

The spilled milk was of no consequence. Rachel had packed at least four changes of clothes for Leon for a weekend outdoors.

We spent our last morning on Blake Island reading in the tent, catching crabs on the beach, and searching the forest one last time for mama deer. Then it was a slow paddle back to Seattle, through which Leon slept most of the way.

06 Leon reading in tent.JPG

06 Reading in the tent, Blake Island. We slept without a rainfly, there being neither drizzle nor condensation in the dry August air.

07 Departing Blake Island by kayak.JPG

07 Departing Blake Island by kayak. At low tide, the powerboater beach is much nicer than the kayaker beach.

This was Leon and my first weekend alone together. Much as we love camping with Rachel and Maya, it was a delight to have no other company but one another.

Alex

[Cross-posted on alexsidles.com]
 
Wonderful adventure, Alex. Your son is going to play mind games with you and your moods:cool:;)

I hope you have many more like this, and longer as you progress. Looking forward to the day he asks for his own kayak.

Gero
 
Wonderful adventure, Alex. Your son is going to play mind games with you and your moods:cool:;)

I hope you have many more like this, and longer as you progress. Looking forward to the day he asks for his own kayak.

Gero
Yeah. He has that look, doesn’t he.
 
Wonderful adventure, Alex. Your son is going to play mind games with you and your moods:cool:;)

I hope you have many more like this, and longer as you progress. Looking forward to the day he asks for his own kayak

Thanks, Gero and Jon. I have so much fun on these family weekenders.

Both my kids will eventually want their own boats, and my wife and I also prefer singles. Transporting and storing four boats, ouch! Looks like I'll have to go the trailer route!

Alex
 
When my daughter wanted to get out of her SOT's and have me own SINK I built her an Arctic Tern 14. It worked really well for her.
 
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