PNW Summer Adventure: Kayak Camping on Skagit Island

Friday was a milestone in our household: Matt’s final day at a job he really did not like. We had a cinnamon roll date to celebrate, and then took a final water taxi ride home together in the sunshine excited and light with this dark cloud lifted. What is next for him? We are not sure! For the moment house projects, relaxing and job searching. The goal? Take a break and figure out what he could really enjoy.

We spent the evening in a mad dash of packing, sorting, organizing and loading the car for a weekend adventure. Sea kayak camping!

The 6:25 boat pulled in with a stunning sunrise. We celebrated with a stop at the Original Bakery for bran muffins. Driving in Seattle is usually a miserable experience, but at that early morning weekend hour we zipped through town and up I-5 all the way to Deception Pass. And got their earlier than the rest of our group so we waited. And poached good waterfront parking spots.

When Ryan and Matt (not my Matt, another one) showed up with boats and dry bags it was another yard sale of stuff to pack up the boats. Everything fit, and when we were loaded and suited up it was time to push off! Our first real kayak adventure! Matt and I were in a double and Matt and Ryan each had a single.

It was a 2 mile paddle out to Skagit Island from the marina, and when we landed on the beach the campsite was occupied. Luckily the people camping were on their final day so we just hung around until they left. The site was epic!!! When we read “primitive site” we were expecting bare bones, and it turned out to have an outhouse, picnic table, fire ring AND waterfront views from the tents. SO AWESOME! There was a trail around the whole island and it was our private retreat for the next two days.

The first night we cooked dinner, made a fire (regretted that we did not bring smore’s stuff), played games and then I went to bed early. The boys all stayed up to play more games, watch stars and saw bioluminescence in the water!

We woke up to fog. Beautiful filtered light on our private island. Freeze dried breakfast pouch was on the menu and coffee from our inherited camping coffee pot. Nothing beats good coffee when you are camping!

With camp set we were able to go on a daytime paddle without extra weight. We took off around the North side of the Kukutali Preserve, and then headed south to Hope Island. A beach provided the perfect relaxing spot for lunch, exploration and naps before we headed back to Skagit Island. The scenery was beautiful. The water was nearly calm as a lake. Perfect paddling day.

After landing boats back on our island we headed out for a hike. The trail took us through thick salal, alongside waterfront cliffs, through a madrona forest, a dry desolate rock face and finally back through thick salal to our campsite. Great trek! The boys collected firewood while I took photos.

So now what do we do? Downtime on these camping trips is always the best part. The boys immediately all turned into 8 year olds tackling projects. Matt and Ryan went about making fire with sticks. My Matt moved driftwood around the beach to make a raft. He eventually called out for someone to come play with him so I joined my sweet husband on the raft in the FREEZING cold water of Skagit Bay. We had a ball!

Dinner that night was another camping freeze dried meal (I was really excited to try these!) of spaghetti and meat sauce. It was great! That was followed by more games, sunset watching, campfire and beach star gazing.

In the morning I woke up to eagle calls overhead. No fog, just brilliant sunshine that made the tent unbearably hot. Guess that is the price you pay for waterfront property!

We took the morning slow but eventually packed the boats and headed back towards Deception Pass and ultimately, home. After tying the boats up, sorting out wet gear and packing the cars, we celebrated a great weekend with burger and shakes at the Chuck Wagon Drive-In in Mt. Vernon. Great end to an epic weekend.


Now we are off on another adventure! The gear has been aired out, laundry done and the car packed once again. We are off to the North Cascades for a wedding and our 2 year anniversary weekend camping!


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