Mike meet Leif. You both have tons of mutual class V friends from Leif's stint in the Fort. That being said, I was once part of an email list titled "B'ham's the shit". It was one hellva great couple weeks of kayaking with the boys. Clearwater creek 5 minutes away is 5-star mank crew boating. Robe canyon is 5 star boating that Todd Gilman once described as similar to Gore, but much prettier, less human influence and 20 or so rapids like Gore/Tunnel. So kinda like Gore, but way better. Those run off/on all year long. The Nooksack is also right there and supposed to be the goods, but I've not been. You're right on the border to BC. There's shit tons of excellent kayaking right there. I'll be moving to the neighborhood in January 2013 - see ya there then!
for all the talk of awesomeness out here, winter boating in NW washington is actually slim pickens more often than not. i dont boat much from december to feb. mostly shredding epic snow &/or salt. but if you're jonesing for some splash & you're in b'ham, robe is definitely your best option. just gotta watch the gauge, as it'll pop in & out a lot in an average winter. that river is so good. you might get some MF nook action, & definitely some NF nook, which are closer to b'ham, but not as good as robe. you'll prolly be able to get on the seymour in vancouver throughout the winter. sometimes ernies - which is close to seattle - comes in. sometimes the stuff out on the OP - which is close to nothing & smells like skunks - comes in. sometimes you get a ragin' pineapple & everything's all blown & too high to even consider, but those happen mostly november & march. it's all short day trip stuff in the foothills though, cuz our daylight hours are super short in the winter .. plus it's cold.
I live in bellingham and ive never had so many days on the river, I love it up here. The MF nooksack is great class 5 just 30 min from town, the NF nooksack is a sweet class 4 section about 45 min from town, then Robe canyon as Todd G said is only about an hour away. Squamish is only about 2hrs away, we have some incredible boating up here.
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