GRIZZLY ISLAND: SUISUN MARSHBy: Tim Mena • timgmena.com
Grizzly Island Wildlife Area sits in the middle of the Suisun marsh- the largest contiguous estuarine marsh in the United States.
The Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers, along with their tributaries (the Feather, American, and Mokelumne rivers) drain into these wetlands before getting drawn out through the San Francisco bay and finally meeting the Pacific Ocean at the golden gate. Needless to say there is plenty of water to navigate in these wetlands.
We put in at dawn hoping to beat the heat and the inevitable delta breeze. It was forcasted to be 95 degrees even though we were well into October. As we paddled through the glassy waters of Hill slough we were accompanied by the sounds of lark songs, mallard's wings flapping, striped bass (maybe even some sturgeon) surfacing, and of course that wonderful sound of our paddle blades cutting through the still water.
We emerged from the meandering Hill slough and entered the big waters of the Suisun slough. Here we were greeted by river otters playfully bobbing in front of the canoe as Great blue herons and Snowy egrets kept a watchful eye from the banks. Overhead, red-tailed hawks soared with hopes of finding lunch and white-tailed kites hovered waiting for left overs. Tucked into the swath of tule and cat tails were numerous duck clubs ranging from ramshackle shanty to palatial cabin. In a short time these clubs would be full of camo clad, 20 gauge toteing occupants. To the east we could see the small rolling cluster of the Potrero hills against the clear pale blue sky.
As we neared the end of our 9 mile stretch we could see our take out at the Montezuma bridge. With a .5 knot ebb against us and a light wind with us, we were able to surf in on some tiny waves. With the seemingly endless potential for exploration we will definitely return for some more slough canoeing.