Seizing summer’s sweetness in a cool corner of the world | Editorial

While much of the country has faced scalding temperatures for the past month or so, we in the maritime Puget Sound region finally got our taste of summer. And what a sweet taste it’s been.

There was Shakespeare in the Park on Saturday, live Cajun music at that same park Monday night. KVI Beach and Dockton, where children, teens and a few brave adults swam, were hopping. The Farmers Market was happier and livelier than ever.

And for two of us here at The Beachcomber, this weekend marked a long-planned kayaking trip to Blake Island. How lucky for us that our overnight expedition occurred on the hottest couple of days to date this year.

Blake has long held an allure — a beautiful dot in the Sound, sometimes hidden in the mists, other times a beacon of green. Nearly every time I’m on a ferry heading for Fauntleroy or Southworth, I look for it. I find its presence calming — a quiet island in booming Pugetopolis.

But I’m an inexperienced kayaker; neither my husband nor I had crossed open waters. So a friend, veteran kayaker Robert Teagardin, led the way; reporterNatalie Johnson and her boyfriend came, too.

It was thrilling to cross Puget Sound, where even on a calm day the swells seem big. My bright yellow kayak rode those waves beautifully. Indeed, it felt at times like I was on a carnival ride, the up and down a veritable roller coaster.

We arrived at Blake to find it not exactly the quiet little berg it seems from afar; sailboats and motorboats, some quite large, had claimed many of the moorings, their crews a noisy lot. Still, a beautiful shoreline campsite awaited us, under a towering fir where a bald eagle sat and next to a point dotted with native shoreline flowers.

We set up camp, took a short walk and by candlelight ate pasta with pesto, drank wine and swapped stories about various adventures.

The next day, we explored Blake’s interior; trails criss-cross it. We made our way through forests of fir, alders and maples, finally emerging on the southern edge, where we walked through a madrone forest. It was a gorgeous site — the cinnamon-orange trunks of the madrones against the backdrop of a dark blue channel and a cobalt blue sky. Sailboats glided past. Just beyond the water, we saw our own island, Vashon, looking peaceful and alluring, a carpet of trees in the distance.

By the time we climbed into our kayaks for the journey home, the temperature had climbed to 90, and we splashed water on our face and arms to stay cool. As we drew closer to the ferry lanes, we realized the Southworth ferry was about to set sail. Robert said to raft up and let the ferry captain decide how to avoid us. We did, and the ferry gave us a wide berth.

Back on land, we celebrated our expedition with a meal at La Playa, where we sat on the deck, watched the ferries come and go and relished a warm summer evening — a moment both precious and fleeting.

— Leslie Brown, editor


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