Organizers of two of Western Washington's most popular paddling events — Paddle Kitsap and Paddle Bainbridge — have announced the dates for this year's on-the-water adventures.
Paddle Bainbridge will be July 13-14 and Paddle Kitsap will be Aug. 10-11.
Both events are annual overnight trips on the newly established Kitsap Peninsula Water Trail. Both are also are open to any human powered watercraft, including kayaks, standup paddleboards and canoes. Beginning to advanced outdoor enthusiasts of all ages are invited to join.
Paddle Bainbridge is a 27-mile circumnavigation of Bainbridge Island. The trip includes an exciting paddle on the swift waters of Agate Pass, as well as sweeping views of Mount Rainier and the Seattle skyline. Participants also often see seals, sea lions, porpoises and other wildlife.
Paddle Kitsap has a new route this year: Silverdale to Poulsbo, with an overnight stay at Illahee State Park. It is 20 miles this year — a shorter journey than the 35-mile paddle that was held during the event's first five years.
Both trips are fully supported. Food, shuttles and logistics are taken care of, safety boaters will be on the water for protection, and paddlers need only take a few supplies with them while on the water. Participants can use their own watercraft or rent from a local outfitter, and they can paddle on their own or with a group.
“These trips are so fun my family and friends come from Utah, Idaho and Seattle to join me,” said Spring Courtright, program director for Olympic Outdoor Center. “My mother, who is a local, also joins every one of these paddling trips.
"My favorite, though, was a 10-year-old girl who joined us one year," she added. "She sat in the front of a double and read books the entire time while her Dad paddled. I hope she at least looked up when they passed the sea lions!"
Courtright has paddled on the Kitsap Peninsula for 12 years and helps manage Paddle Bainbridge and Paddle Kitsap. She sea kayaks on every trip, and visits with each participant, sharing paddling tips as well as her knowledge about the natural and human history of the area.
Paddle Kitsap and Paddle Bainbridge donate a portion of their proceeds to the North Kitsap Trails Association, which helps preserve and protect water access in North Kitsap. The association created the Kitsap Peninsula Water Trail, a 238-mile water trail along the Hood Canal and Puget Sound with 90 public access points.
For additional information, photos and to register for Paddle Bainbridge or Paddle Kitsap, visit the Olympic Outdoor Center website at www.OlympicOutdoorCenter.com, call 360-297-4659 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.