JUST THE FACTS MA’AM
Distance: 10mi or so
Challenges: LOW, some obstacles
Equipment: Navigable by canoe
GENTLY DOWN THE STREAM
We put in at a wide shoulder along Green River Rd. SE across from the Auburn Golf Course.
Dwellings of scrap wood and ragged plastic sheets stood out amongst the trees and down to the shoreline.
As we drifted by, a hard looking woman took her place next to a pile of BMX bikes and squinted at us against the glare of the sun.
A light smoke carried the scent of cooked food, and probably a lot more…
Take it in!
The hum of an irrigation pump signaled our arrival into the receding farmlands of the Kent Valley.
The levees grow high and wild with invasive vegetation, and the river narrows yet runs deep. The occasional log or gentle curve might change it up, but much of the float through here is rather calming and serene.
Waterfowl love the peace and privacy these green walls provide, you may wish you had packed a field guide.
Hundreds of thousands of human beings live, work and consume within throwing distance of the Green River as it flows through Auburn, Kent and Tukwila…
Predictably, garbage is everywhere!
Cans and bottles spanning years of American consumerism stand out amongst the rocks and gravel of the river bottom.
Furniture, vehicles, clothes! The river is like a big, wet thrift store.
New donations arriving daily!
Near Southcenter we spotted a pair of men wading in the shallows, their heads bowed into home made underwater view boxes.
Initially we thought maybe they were biologists of some kind, keeping a vigilant eye for rare local species like the “Duwamish Three-Eyed Roughy”, or the “Tukwila Brown Floater”.
As it turns out they were Garbologists, plying the waters for sunken treasure.
“Antique bottles, car emblems… Shit, sometimes wallets. You never know what’ll float your way”
The levees around Southcenter blocked much of the hustle, but the bustle was evident in the form of thumpin’ bass and top ten.
Passing beneath South 180th Street we drew stares from traffic bound gawkers.
“Yep, shoulda taken a canoe instead buddy!”
Much of this last section was spent paddling, expediting the current’s painfully slow hand.
Finally we passed by a wild eyed, but timid looking man under the last bridge.
“Hey dood! Which way is Seattle?”
No response, he was on some good stuff I reckon.
Just before the I-405 we took out, which is pretty much to say just before the Green becomes the Duwamish.
This was largely a slow, tranquil float, with a little bit of excitement here and there.
Despite flowing through some solid urbanism the river also passes through farmland and a couple large parks.
Birds of all kinds were in abundance, fish occasionally rolled, a coyote skirted away and a bald eagle just stood on a log, watching.
If you’re into the dystopian element of floating an urban river, this stretch offers that as well, but less so than say The Duwamish.
Your main issue will be parking.
Unless you plan to put in and take out at public locations, you’ll probably have to deal with a private lot.
I can’t speak for that except to say:
USE AT YOUR OWN RISK