Archive for November, 2009


With the Giants having a much needed bye this Sunday it gave Kathy and I the opportunity to take advantage of the unseasonably warm November 15 weather and do a paddle without the fear of the Tivo missing the football game. After several days of a light misting rain caused by the nor-Easter that impacted shore counties of New Jersey more so than our neck of the woods Sunday, November 15 proved to be a nice, warm, dry day. Since we didn’t get any real rain I was afraid water levels would not be too high. With this in mind I decided today’s paddle would leave from the Essex County side of the Passaic River from the South Orange Ave. parking lot. This turned out to be a wise choice. Going north of South Orange Avenue in the Passaic represented all new territory and if the river was clear sailing, I would be able to complete this portion of the Passaic up to the turn around point I experienced on my October 21, 2009 paddle when I went as far south of Route 10 as I could without portaging around some downed trees.

IMG_3413_edited-1We thought last Sunday’s paddle would be the last of the year, with winter approaching. Kathy cleaned much of the gear up for the winter but it was the 65 degree weather that got me out for the record breaking 19th time this year. It was Kathy’s 17th time out. I bet this record proves difficult to beat in the years coming up. We really turned it up a notch this year when it came to going on kayak trips. The real question now is, does Kathy remove the Kayak holders from her car or do we see if we can get even one more paddle in? Whatever the outcome is, today’s weather and paddle were well worth the effort, though it was a short paddle; one hour and fourth-five minutes. When nature calls, nature calls and while kayaking after drinking a pot of coffee in the morning, nature has a tendency to call and call hard.


Click here to view my Picasa Google Web Album of the best of the pictures from this trip .

Being November 15, the autumn colors are all but gone. Only a few trees had leaves remaining and there was an occasional smattering of color but it was nothing to write on a blog about, so I will stop. Other wildlife we encountered was a deer on the other side of the river from us when we first pulled into the parking lot. I didn’t get a picture of it. We also saw on blue heron which was at the turn around point. I managed to get a few shots of it as it took off. I think one or two of those may be cool after I enhance the colors a bit. I think that was it for wildlife. There was a large bird spotted but not photographed nor confirmed with respect to what type of bird it was.


We didn’t see anyone on the river or on the shorelines with the exception of a couple of fishermen who had many poles planted in the mud at our put in point. That added just a little more tension to the whole put it experience. Fortunately it went smoothly as I gently slid Kathy in nose first in the shallow muddy bank. I was able to do the same technique by myself. Allowing the gradient and the mud to gently glide me into the river. This was one of our better put ins.


There was plenty of debris in the river. The downed trees, beverage bottles, athletic balls and one propane tank. We never had any problems getting around any of it, to or fro, until we reached the turn around point. If we wanted to ram thorough that debris blockage we could have, but it was time to turn around and getting back through it the other way is not always as easy as it is the first way through.


On the way back up river we saw nothing new and exciting. We did veer at a fork in the river into a drainage basin of some of the Vreeland Ave. businesses. Kathy turned amazingly well in that tight tributary. We then continued back upstream. Kathy got into photographing some moss, that was the excitement of it all. The sun was in our eyes they whole way back. When we eventually reached the put in point at South Orange Ave. and decided to end the trip. Nature was calling.


I rammed the shoreline with my kayak and scooted up the bank for an easy exit from my kayak. Kathy also had no problems getting out of her boat the sideways manner. It took us about 30 minutes to clean, pack and load the kayaks. On the way home we stopped at Micky D’s for a small snack and then went to Trader Joes and picked up a whole bunch of good stuff. This is one of the great benefits of the South Orange Ave. put in.


When we got home we quickly unloaded and got the dogs packed for some fun at the Denville Dog Park. November 15 is Rag’s birthday and our anniversary with her so we wanted the dogs to also enjoy the nice weather. They had lots of fun with many other small dogs at the dog park. They got stinky, but that’s okay. That is what dogs do. When we got home Kathy gave them both baths while I prepared dinner. Oh well, it’s Sunday night and I have work tomorrow but fun memories of kayaking and playing with the dogs are fresh in my mind as enhanced by my blogging about the day’s activities. Until we paddle again.



Timeline of the trip based on time stamps in the photographs:

  • 10:57 am – Car is loaded
  • 11:25 am – Staring to unload kayaks at parking lot
  • 11:34 am – Kayaks unloaded ready for launch
  • 11:45 am – Kathy is safely in the river
  • 11:47 am – I am safely in the river with cameras unpacked
  • 11:48 am- Go under South Orange Avenue bridge
  • 12:28 pm – I spot blue heron sitting on downed tree in middle of the river which represents the turn around point
  • 12:41 pm – We start paddling back upstream
  • 12:48 pm – We take the right (wrong) fork in the river and end up in a drainage tributary
  • 1:26 pm – We spot the South Orange Ave. bridge
  • 1:28 pm – We go under the South Orange Ave. bridge
  • 1:29 pm – Last picture from the kayak prior to stowing away electrical equipment in preparation for landing.
  • 1:58 pm – Kayaks are loaded on the Matrix and we are ready to roll.
  • 2:05 pm – McDonalds for quick snack and break
  • 2:20 pm – Trade Joes for supplements
  • 3:05 pm – We are back in the driveway and start to unload
  • 3:35 pm – We are back in the car with the dogs heading to the Denville Dog Park
  • 3:48 pm – At the Dog Park snapping pictures
  • 4:40 pm – Last pictures at the dog park
  • 4:54 pm – Taking pictures of the colorful sunset on the way home
  • 6:20 pm – We are eating the gemelli pasta with cannelloni beans, spinach and sausage that I prepared.
  • 7:00 pm – We are done cleaning the kitchen and I am downstairs beginning to blog



Read Full Post »

IMG_3399_edited-1A super warm November 8 provided Kathy and I an opportunity to kayak late into the season. It was 65 out and sunny. Not a cloud in the sky and no wind to worry about. How Lucky are we on this Sunday? Let’s hope luckier than the Ginats.

This trip will probably be the last one for the year. For my inaugural kayaking season, this is my 18th paddle and Kathy’s 16th. That’s pretty good if you ask me and with that local experience I was still able to select a paddle where I encountered new territory as well as hitting two different rivers on one journey. This is a first for me .

Being Sunday, I DVRed the Giant game vs. San Diego and headed to the Passaic River. The plan was to put in at the Essex County Environmental Center on Eagle Rock Ave. in Roseland and to start heading downstream toward Pine Brook. We were going to head down stream to the confluence of the Passaic River and the Rockaway River. A left turn off the Passaic into the Rockaway has you paddling upstream on the Rockaway from its mouth. This segment of the Rockaway represented new territory for us.

To see a slide show of the photos from this trip go to my Picasa Google Web Album at the link below:

We have been on the Rockaway before but that was alway upstream from Boonton, this was at the very end of it and we had no idea if it would be navigable or not. It ended up being pretty wide and felt much like the Passaic. Eventually there was a downed tree that acted as a debris catch basin that made continuing upstream difficult. I worked my way through the muck but Kathy didn’t want to try it. It really wasn’t all that difficult.


I told Kathy I would explore further upstream for a little while she eats her tuna fish sandwich we got from Sorrentos before we disembarked. It was another remarkably cheap meal at $9.50 for 2 sandwiches and 4 doughnuts. I paddled further up the Rockaway as fast as I could gaining as much new territory as I thought I could with leaving Kathy alone on the river on the other side of the debris dam. I went about half the way between the confluence of the two rivers and the Sharkeys Road destination I was looking for. Unfortunately, I never made it all the way and turned around at a downed branch that I didn’t feel like going through. It was good to go on 2 rivers, almost 3 as I was just moments from the end of the Whippany River. One day I would like to see if I could complete this trip.


End of the line for this exploration.

On the way back home we didn’t see too much more exciting. The sun was lower in the sky and provided a nicer and warmer glow on the few colors that remain on the trees this late into autumn. Even with the warm glow and colors, it wasn’t the most picturesque trip. The photo below was about as good as it got but that’s not to say it wasn’t a beautiful day and trip.


DCC_4990_edited-1As far as wildlife, it was very limited. We only saw boring birds, pigeons on the Eagle Rock Ave. bridge. A large flock of back birds few back and forth across the river. We saw what may have been a hawk, and both Kathy and I saw deer but we were not able to get any pictures of those. I saw a few ducks and it appears as if the geese have all flown south of us by now. That was it, not turtles, no fish. Kathy saw this bird I have pictured to the right flying in front of her. I only saw it land in the trees. I hung around for a while to see if it would take off again but it never did. I don’t know what type of bird it is but it looked bigger than the standard birds we had been seeing all day. My hunch is it may have been a hawk, so if anyone ever read this and knows, don’t be bashful to let me know.



On my solo portion up the Rockaway, I did see 2 guys in pickup trucks with a dog on the river side. It looked as if they were up to no good, and I was right. As soon as I left the area the gun shots started to fly. I can’t imaging they are allowed to do that. In any case we all came back safe an sound.

DCC_5016_edited-1I have to also mention that there was quite a bit of pollution on this trip. Kathy picked up one of those heart shaped balloons and trailed it with here all trip. Doing her part in the litter pick up, but there was too much to pick up. We saw debris caught up in all the downed trees. This included the preponderance of water bottles, sporting balls, occasional construction debris, a tire, a propane tank, a gas can, a few abandoned cars in the woods. In the end, it was the debris that got clogged in a fallen tree that ended Kathy’s, and for the most part, both our trips into the unknown.


Getting out of the boat I used the “ramming the shore” technique with some good speed going in head-on and then I scooted up a few inches making getting out easy, dry and clean. The water level was lower that it has been for the past few weeks and therefore the shore line had a mud factor but we nicely dealt with it and it turned out not to be much of a factor.


Getting the kayaks cleaned and loaded was pretty quick and easy. So in all we were on the kayaks for just under 3 hours, we got to eat a Sorrentos for breakfast and lunch and got home in time to watch a depressing Gaint loss to San Diego who came back in the last minute to drive and 80 yards to defeat the Giants by 1 point. Really a terrible loss. Good thing I had the great paddle to lessen the mental damage. What a great year of kayaking. See you in the springtime.


The time line of the paddle went as follows:

  • 10:45 – Boats are on Kathy’s car waiting for Kathy to get out of bed.
  • 11:28 – Kathy is out of bed and packing the car
  • 12:38 – I have the boats unloaded and at the riverside waiting to get in
  • 12:45 – Kathy is in the water paddling while I am still a shore
  • 12:50 – I am in the water taking photos.
  • 12:55 We cross the Eagle Rock Ave. bridge
  • 1:05 – We go under the I-280 bridge.
  • 1:46 – We reach the confluence of the Passaic and Rockaway Rivers.
  • 1:56 – I cross the debris blockage that marked the furthest extent of Kathy’s paddle.
  • 2:11 – I reach the furthest extent of my trip solo up the Rockaway and turn around to rejoin Kathy
  • 2:25 – I have rejoined Kathy on the other side of the debris dam.
  • 2:31 – We reach the Passaic River and head upstream
  • 3:19 – We go back under Route I-280
  • 3:28 – We go back under Eagle Rock Avenue
  • 3:30 – Last picture before putting the camera away, putting my seat tray up and preparing for landing.
  • 4:00 – Kayaks loaded and heading back home.
  • 6:58: – Giants up by 6 with 2 minutes to go with San Diego on their own 20.
  • 7:02 – Giants Lose by 1. Four-game losing streak after 5- game winning streak.


Read Full Post »