Posts Tagged With: kayaking

Water, Wine, and Friends – Girls Weekend, Poulsbo, Washington


View from Suquamish Clearwater Casino Resort Patio

A sunny weekend, dark blue waters, drinks on the patio, and old friends – what more could a girl want?

Joanie, Brenda and I have been friends for over 20 years but because we were all busy raising families during that time, we never really thought about going away together. But now we’re there. So for our first Girls Weekend, we decided to head up to Poulsbo, Washington.

Poulsbo (pronounced Pauls-bow) was settled in 1892. In case you’re wondering what on earth kind of name that is, it’s Scandinavian. The location on the bay with the Olympic Mountains in the distance reminded the first settlers of Norway. The town has made a great effort at keeping the heritage alive in the architecture of the buildings as well as the local events, such as Lutefisk dinners, and the big one – The Viking Fest held in May each year.

We stayed at the Suquamish Clearwater Casino Resort, mainly for the location and nice rooms. It’s situated right on Puget Sound across from Seattle and the patio looking out over the water is beautiful and classy. We could walk down the beach and look for critters or rocks. We could just sit outside and enjoy a drink from the hotel bar right inside the door. It was perfect. We did go into the casino to enjoy the buffet and play some Keno.


Kayaking in Liberty Bay

Joanie had researched activities to do and we all wanted to kayak. So the next day awoke with some fog so we were a little worried that our kayaking plans might not work out. But we headed on down to Liberty Bay to Olympic Outdoor Center and the sun started coming out. It turned out that we were going to be going out in 2-person kayaks and tour the bay looking for wildlife with a guide. Since there were three of us one of us had to share a boat. Luckily, there were three young men who were there to go out in the kayaks as well. Two of them were from California and were visiting their friend who had moved to Tacoma. Brenda joined one of them in a kayak.


Seal Sunning on the Docks

I love that feeling you get immediately when you hit the water and start floating. It’s so freeing and relaxing. We slowly paddled out and away from the marina to start looking for wildlife. Birds were everywhere. Seals were lying around and I swear they were smiling as we floated by. “This is the life,” they must be thinking.

The water was smooth as glass, the temperature was perfect, the company was fun. We got everything out of that experience that we wanted. Our guide was friendly and knowledgeable and, turns out he is a local chef by night.


After paddling around the bay for about an hour, we headed back and then went into the little downtown area of Poulsbo (also known as “Little Norway”) and its adorable little shops. Craft, antique, nautical décor and yarn shops, bakeries and restaurants were set up in the historic old buildings. Of course we were good tourists and supported the local economy by eating lunch and buying trinkets and souvenirs!

We headed back to the hotel for more drinks on the patio and another delicious dinner in the casino. Later were amused by a bachelorette party that had WAY too much to drink and provided interesting entertainment (what happens in Poulsbo stays in Poulsbo?)

On our way home the next day, we decided we had so much fun that we started making our plans for the next Girls Weekend. So if you’re looking for a place for a quick getaway, Poulsbo is the place to go. The range of activities available in the area will keep you entertained and occupied for that weekend trip, whether it’s with family or with those cherished long-time friends.

Categories: Boating/Kayaking, Outdoors, Washington | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Fishing, Kayaking, and Walking at Carlisle Lake

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Kayaking on Carlisle Lake

It’s not much of a lake. It’s only about 22 acres. Carlisle Lake used to be a mill pond for the Carlisle Lumber Company. The mill shut down in 1942 but the smoke stack from the mill is still standing on the site. It’s quite the landmark. David was very excited when we flew over it one day on our way back from Las Vegas because he could see the smokestack from the jet.

The lake has been stocked with trout since 1953, and Coho Salmon are raised in pens in the lake. It is a cute little lake, and perfect for a quick afternoon fishing trip or kayaking. We can stick our kayaks in the back of the pickup and be there in 20 minutes, then spend a few leisurely hours kayaking from one end to the other while Josh does catch-and-release fishing. Most of the fish that we have caught are small and bony but some people have caught larger fish.

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Interesting Things in Carlisle Lake (yes, we put it gently back)

There is a trail going all the way around the lake and people have made trails down to the water so you can fish from the bank and you don’t need a boat. It’s a great lake to take little kids to since it’s not only easy for them to fish, you can run them on the trail around the lake and tire them out.

Onalaska Alliance, a non-profit group, was formed to restore the lake and surrounding area.  The previous owners, the Southwest Washington Development Association, donated the land, which measures 72 acres, to the group. The Alliance intends to develop it for better recreational use as well as an environmental education aid. This past summer they received a grant and paved the parking lot. It’s a fabulous upgrade because it used to be a pothole-filled gravel and dirt mess. They now plan to clean up the trail around the park. Future plans include a fishing dock and wheelchair accessibility.

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David and Josh

Getting there: Take exit 71 off of I-5 and head east on Hwy. 508 for about eight miles. When you see the grocery store/gas station on your left you will take a left on the street right before the store. The street will take you about 2-3 blocks north and you will end up in the parking lot at Carlisle Lake. You can also look for the smokestack as you get into town.

Categories: Boating/Kayaking, Fishing, Historical, Keatons Out and About, Outdoors, Parks, Washington | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lake Scanewa, Lewis County, Washington

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Beautiful Lake Scanewa is great for boating as well as fishing! (Photo credit: David Keaton)

Lake Scanewa (sku-NEE-wuh) is a 610-acre reservoir located in Lewis County, Washington, south of Hwy. 12 between the towns of Morton and Randle. It was created by the Cowlitz Falls Dam and is stocked with trout and hatchery salmon. Cowlitz Falls Day Use Park is located on the east end of the lake. By the way, don’t go looking for the falls – they don’t exist anymore. There is a boat launch, picnic tables and restrooms (although not much better than port-a-potties).

We like to go to the day use park because you can do so many things right there. You can fish (starting June 1) from the bank for salmon or trout. There is a small lagoon where kids can swim plus it is blocked off at the beginning of fishing season and stocked with trout for kids to catch. This year’s Kids Fishing Derby will be on Saturday, June 8.

Often you can see the trout jumping and the silver flash of huge salmon rolling around in the water. But nothing is more exciting than hooking that amazing salmon and slowly reeling it in and landing it. And nothing is more heart-breaking than when it gets loose…

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He said his was bigger. But I think he just measured wrong…

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My first salmon! (Photo credit: David Keaton)


You can launch your boat from the boat launch and troll around the lake or up the river, with hopes of increasing your chances of catching that big salmon.





But to really get up close and personal with the area, a kayak is the ideal method of transportation. You can get right in to the shallow tight spots that you can’t get to any way else. We even found a small stream just slightly wider than the kayaks and took a ride up it until it got too tight and we had to turn around. You feel very intimate with nature when you can do something like that.


Another fun thing to do is watch the fish delivery. To stock the lake, Tacoma Power employees must go downriver to capture the fish near Barrier Dam and load them into a big truck. They then transport the fish past the dams, which have no fish ladders, and stock them at various sites including Lake Scanewa. You can also check out Tacoma Power’s website at to see how many and what kinds of fish they stock each week.


Tiny islands (Photo credit: David Keaton)

Tacoma Power releases the fish several times a day, including on the weekend. It’s fascinating to watch the truck back up to the boat dock, open the hatch, and dump out hundreds of fish. It’s quite the sight – and quite the tease for fishermen!




Getting there: From Morton, take Highway 12 east to Savio Road (If you get to Randle, you’ve gone too far). Turn right and go to Kiona Road. Turn right and follow Kiona Road to Falls Road. Turn right and continue to the Day Use Park on the left.

From Yakima take Highway 12 west past Randle to Savio Road (if you get to Morton, you’ve gone too far). Turn left and go to Kiona Road. Turn left and follow Kiona Road to Falls Road. Turn right and continue to the Day Use Park on the left.

Categories: Boating/Kayaking, Fishing, Outdoors, Parks, Washington | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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