Thursday, April 18, 2013

Franks Tract & Sheep Slough

 Today I had the privilege of paddling with Charlie Pike, the author of Paddling Northern California. Charlie is  updating his book and the new edition is due out next summer. We paddled a little more than eight miles, round trip, from Sunset Harbor to Franks tract and the mouth of Sheep Slough.

The weather was warm and the wind was predicted to be less than 10 knots. We launched at slack tide at 10:50 and paddled through Sand Mound Slough on our way to Franks Tract. When we reached Franks Tract the wind must have been blowing more than 10 knots as there were white caps and 2-3 foot wind waves coming from the west. While admiring Franks Tract we spotted a seal close to the levee and watched him swim away. We continued our paddle to the mouth of Sheep Slough on a quest to find landable beaches. We finally found one hiding behind the tule near "Bear Ass Creek."
Yep, there was a sign and it looked official. Not sure I want to know how it got that name.

After a quick lunch we hopped back in our boats and spotted another seal swimming nearby. It may have been the same one we saw earlier but it was a treat to watch him swim happily around. We headed south into Sheep Slough and saw a barge named "Ellis Island" tied up to a pier on Quimby Island. To the west of Quimby we saw some sort of structure that had seen better days. The paddle behind the many small islands was nice and calm as they protected us from the wind.

We headed back to the launch through Sand Mound Slough and stopped to watch three river otters playing at first on the muddy shore and then watched them wrestle each other in the water until they noticed our presence and disappeared. It was a blessed day!  I look forward to paddling with Charlie again and buying his updated edition of Paddling Northern California!

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