Taking the scenic route
BY JOSH SUMAN
With 50 years exploring the waterways of Seattle and the Pacific Northwest, Dan Henderson has a unique perspective on Lake Washington and the Mercer Slough.
Before the influx of technology and safety reform brought to paddlesports like kayaking and canoeing in recent years, Henderson and his crew would head off 30-foot waterfalls in rickety crafts not meant for even a fraction of the beating they received.
While Henderson no longer gravitates to the danger, his passion for paddlesports never waned and is something he and his company, Cascade Canoe & Kayak, continue to share with Eastside paddling enthusiasts.
“The people on staff love to paddle and are really good paddlers,” Henderson said. “I hope people leave us with a real love of the outdoors.”
From the Enatai Beach Boathouse, Cascade Canoe & Kayak offers rentals of single and double sea kayaks, single and double sit-on-tops and canoes for jaunts through the Mercer Slough and Lake Washington. For the more experienced, Henderson and Cascade host outings to many of the bays and inlets around Puget Sound, including Camano Island, the Ballard Locks and Nisqually Delta.
In addition to paddling as a recreational activity, Henderson has coached since the late 1980s, ascending to National Development coach with USA Canoe and Kayak. It is those experiences he channels when acclimating someone new to the world of paddling or finding new ways for seasoned kayakers to challenge themselves and interact with the region in the process.
Henderson and Cascade Canoe also use the boat rental program as an opportunity for customers to take boats on a trial run and will even apply the rental amount already purchased toward the sale of the boat.
“It’s really nice to get in a boat and paddle it to get a sense of how it handles,” Henderson said. “The chance to compare two or three boats makes it easier to make a purchase you will actually use a lot.”
For paddlers, it’s yet another benefit of having a local outlet for recreation on the water. But for Henderson, it’s just another way to extend his passion for paddling and an unparalleled perspective on the Mercer Slough, Lake Washington and the rest of the Puget Sound’s scenic waterways.
“It’s such a pleasant way to get out on the water,” Henderson said.
Cascade Canoe & Kayak
Where: Enatai Beach Boathouse, 3519 108th Ave. S.E. Bellevue
Rental hours: June 20 – Labor Day: Daily, 11 a.m.-7 p.m.; Sept. after Labor Day: Sat. and Sun. 11 a.m.-6 p.m.; May – June 19: Sat. and Sun. 11 a.m.-7 p.m.
Free presentations: July 19- Children, sport and the Olympic Dream; Aug. 2- Weather for kayakers; Aug. 9- Most frequent canoe & kayak injuries and prevention
Instructional Classes: Cascade Canoe & Kayak offers paddling classes geared for beginners to those hoping to become certified instructors. For a complete class schedule, visit www.canoe-kayak.com/classes.
Contact: 425-430-0111 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Issaquah Paddle Sports
Where: 2000 NW Sammamish Rd., Issaquah
Paddle Sports offers a similar program to Cascade Canoe & Kayak, including boat rentals, guided tours, lessons, races and camps, for those looking to navigate Lake Sammamish by paddle. Stand-up paddle boards, pedal boats, sit-on-top kayaks for as many as four and sea-kayaks are all available. Rental prices vary by boat style and range from $15-$30 per hour or $50-$80 for a full day and all rentals are on a first-come, first-served basis. Call 425-891-5039 for more information.