instruction and tours
about nigel foster
contact us
sea kayaks
Video clips!

Skagit River run

A shared pitcher of beer at the 74th Street Ale House led our talk to kayaking. Monica suggested a winter float down a section of the Skagit River.

A few days later Joel drifted the route in a dory to photograph eagles, and scoped out the put-in and take-out places.

Following the chum salmon run, carcasses of spent fish ground at every gravel bank, offering a perfect winter feeding ground for bald eagles There are often more than 300 birds here.  

Monica, smiling and ready to start!

Joel drifting from the bridge at the put-in.

The river flows deceptively fast across large rounded pebbles, just occasionally kicking up waves large enough to spray the inside of my canoe. 

We saw about 40 eagles huddled in the trees above the river, blurred by the snow that made us paddle to stay warm. 

Kristin (left) Monica (center) and Jay...

and Joel Rogers

Kristin and Monica cruise past the exposed root ball of a tree stump. Stumps, and trees toppled by shore erosion drift downstream to snag on the shore or on mid-stream gravel banks.

Heaps of trees lined some sections of bank, stranded by falling water levels after the last flood.

Those trees that grounded in the middle of the river or on the outside of bends presented an obvious hazard, but such strainers were easy to avoid except in the narrower side-channels where the river braided.

The Baker River joins the Skagit near a town called Concrete.  Concrete was the result of a merger between the town of Baker on one side of the river junction, and a town that sprang up in 1905 around a Cement plant across the river, called “Cement City”.  When a cement plant was constructed in Baker in 1908 the two cities decided to merge. Concrete became the official name for the town after its incorporation in 1909. 

As you might expect, there are concrete landmarks nearby, notably the lower Baker Dam and the Henry Thompson Bridge. The bridge when it opened in 1917 was perhaps the longest single span cement bridge in the world, and the Lower Baker River Dam, completed 1925 and later raised to 293 feet, became the tallest hydroelectric dam in the world in 1927.

Jay shows up well in the camera flash... reflective tape would show up like this under search lights in a rescue situation.

An easy egress after a fun paddle!!

                          Kristin's story and her photos? See her planet krikri blog