September 5th: Stillaguamish River delta


I'd explored the Stilly's delta twice before, but that was five years ago, so I drove up to its Boe Road access and put the kayak in. The water was pleasantly busy with a handful of other paddlers and fisherfolk. As I paddled along the river's south bank, I was glad the winds were taking a rest.

Down the Stillaguamish.

The northern entry to the slough. Interestingly, the slough is visibly lower than the river, with water flowing down across the bar.

Bad timing today. I wanted to paddle with the tidal current up the south-side slough like I had before. But at the slough's north entrance the low tide revealed its gravel bar blocking the way. I beached the boat on the bar and ate brunch, idly calculating how long I'd have to wait for the tide to rise enough to paddle over it.

The southern entry to the slough. Both the Twin Sisters Range and Mount Baker are theoretically visible here.

Too long. I climbed back aboard and paddled down the left coast of the river a quarter mile or so to the southern entrance of the slough. It was blocked, too, and looked to be an even longer portage.

I didn't want to have to get out and drag the kayak at both ends of my slough, especially with no current up it to scoot me along, so I turned around and paddled back, upstream now, stroking hard against both the current and, at first, the just-turned tide.

I explored a bit where the river's western outlet branches off the larger southern outlet. But the tide was too low to even see the other north-side sloughs I had hoped to revisit.


The wind stayed down and the rising tide now opposed the river's sluggish current, so it was an easy paddle along the north bank (making a kind of loop) and back to the ramp. See an annotated satellite shot from Google Maps.

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