It’s interesting to see what changes and what lasts. Working hard (sort of) on the next rendition of a paddler’s guide to the Salish Sea has me revisiting guidebook chapters that I first wrote 25 years ago or more. It’s funny, but the trips themselves haven’t changed: the water is still cold and wet, the wind still blows and the shorelines are filled with secret spots and pocket beaches that can only be seen from a watery perspective. Puget Sound, the Strait and the San Juans are still beautiful places, seemingly made for exploration at a paddling pace.
What has changed are the access points. Roads change names, a housing development is built and a launch point disappears. A chain-link fence closes off a cherished informal access area while a park is built a half-mile away that features a gently sloping beach, clean restrooms and ample parking. The local population has exploded in the decades since the first guidebook was written and the effects that this has had on being able to get to and from the water have been significant.
In a week or so, I’m planning a road trip to some of the places I don’t get to as often, to check the status of the directions that I have written now. I know they will change, but it makes me a little happy to know that, once on the water, it all comes back.