Archive for June, 2010

This was my birthday paddle so I was able to convince Kathy to venture on to the Delaware River.  She was apprehensive kayaking alone with me on a moving river but the current was ultra calm and the trip was more of a paddling exercise than a float down the river.  We were  fortunate and the weather was beautiful for the day.  Temperature was in the low 90’s with only medium humidity but billowing clouds provided us with a comforting shade for most of the trip.

The northern portion of this trip down the Delaware was new territory for us.  Our plan was to go from the Poxono launch area, located about 9 miles north of Route 80 on the New Jersey side to the Delaware River Water Gap Visitors Center located just south of Route 80.   In total the trip was 9.5 miles and we accomplished it in just under 4 hours (3’55”).

We paddled the Worthington State Park to Water Gap portion of this trip last year but that was a long trip with the HRCKC.  Today’s trip down the Delaware was the first time we took advantage of having kayak racks on both vehicles. This made the trip quick and efficient.  That was crucial since the trip up Old Mine Road along the river was slow and treacherous, fill with huge craters.

The exciting moment of this trip was the spotting and photographing of a bald eagle.  We first saw him on a branch about 8 feet above the river and then he flew out into a tree branch about 20 feet above us.  Fortunately, I was able to photograph it until it flew off.  Kathy also caught a few shaky moments on the video.  This is only the second time we have seen a bald eagle on a kayak trip, we saw one on the Raritan River in Pisctaway the first time.   That’s why you have to got to every paddle.

Shortly after seeing the eagle, we saw a single blue heron flying along the western river bank  It eventually glided to a landing on the eastern bank of the river.  I was able to silently float up to it and get a few photographs of it standing on the river’s bank before it got wind of me and jumped up flapped off across the river.  Fortunately, I was able to capture it as it flew across the Delaware to the Jersey side.  These may be some of my best photos of blue herons I have taken to date.  The river and the bank framed the bird nicely as it flew across the river.  You can see it flying both flapping its wings as well as opening and closing its beak as it flies.

The only other wildlife we saw were a turtle sunning on a rock and a mallard duck hanging out by itself on the other side of the river.  We did eventually see an abandoned baby duckling so who knows if these two were looking for each other. All this wildlife was in a pretty concentrated area of the river, so if we ever come by this area again we should take notice and pay attention.  When you come to the island just south of the PA boat access point, take the western channel because this is where we found the turtle, eagle and heron.

The timeline according the photo stamps is provided below.  Additionally, to see the majority of the photos I took, check them out on the Picasa Web Album at the ink below:

  • 12:28 – Kayaks unpacked and ready to go
  • 12:36 – First picture in the water
  • 1:03 – Pass the new expansive picnic area on the Jersey side
  • 1:21 – Pass the boat launch areas on the PA side
  • 1:27  – We take the western channel around and island where all the wild life was.  Here we see a turtle.
  • 1:32 – First spot the bald eagle and take pictures.
  • 1:45 – Last picture of the bald eagle.
  • 1:47 – Spot a blue heron
  • 1:50 – Last picture of the blue heron
  • 2:16 – Pass Worthington and see a duck
  • 3:05 – We see kids jumping into river at old bride abutments
  • 3:20 – Go under Route 80
  • 3:45 – The furthest downstream extent.
  • 3:50 – Last Picture on the water.
  • 3:56 – Out of the water getting the car from the parking lot

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Kayaks are on the pad and ready to launch.

It was the Monday of Memorial Day 2010 and Kathy and I took advantage of the nice  weather to try another new paddling location in New Jersey, the Monksville Reservoir.  It is located just south of the New Your / New Jersey border by Ringwood just north of the Wanaque Reservoir.  We had never been here before but I read good things about it so I figured let’s give it a go.  It’s located about 45 minutes from our home up Route 287 and there is a nice parking lot, not so nice port-o-potty and a nice boat ramp.  Considering it was Memorial Day weekend and the weather was almost perfect, it won’t get more crowded than today, so there is lots of parking and an additional north boat ramp with access in that part of the reservoir.

Once in the water it was clean and only blue at times.  Close to the shore, where we spent most of our time there was some murk.  The water went from calm to choppy.  With grey clouds overhead and a changing weather pattern, the paddle home proved to be rough and against the wind, presenting itself to be quite a work out.  We made it home but not before seeing a couple in a row boat tumble into the tank fighting the wind.  Actually, while difficult, I never found it the wind or the weather on the way home challenging or threatening.  It was like riding a bike up hill.

In total the trip was a 6-mile loop that took us 3.5 hours from 12:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.  While a nice reservoir, I don’t know it’s worth the trip for us of going past Split Rock or trying other new reservoirs, if that’s what we want to do, like Round Valley.  It ended up being a nice, not so relaxing 3.5 hour paddle.

Some cool things we experienced was an area of dead tree branches in and out of the water just north of the bridge at the north western end of the reservoir.  I called this the forbidden zone, referencing the area of destitute in the Planet of the Apes, but past the Forbidden Zone was a lovely brook that the reservoir emptied in to.  We saw a nice family of while swans or somethings the 4 or 5 swanlets swimming behind the proud parents.  We also saw ducks that wanted to be photographed and cormorants bobbing for food in the distance that didn’t what to have their pictures taken.  There were lots of boats on the water with many fisherman.  Some had gas powered motors in small boats that ruining the peacefulness of the lake.

Time line based on photo time stamps:

  • 12:24 .m. – Boats on boat ramp ready to launch – Time to find the port-o-potty
  • 12:39 .m. – First photo in the water
  • 1:19 p.m. – Make it to power line (1.5 miles)
  • 1:39 p.m. – We approach northern boat ramp (2.5 miles)
  • 1:43 p.m. – We go under Greenwood Lake Turnpike bridge
  • 1:59 p.m. – We enter the Forbidden Zone
  • 2:14 p.m. – In as deep as we can go into the Forbidden Zone (3 miles)
  • 2:34 p.m. – We go back under Greenwood Lake Turnpike bridge (3.5 miles)
  • 3:02 p.m. – Back under the power lines (4.5 miles)
  • 3:48 p.m. – Last picture on the water (6 miles) , unfortunately I left the camera on and drained my battery and couldn’t take too many pictures at the dog park when we got there after we got home.
  • 4:08 p.m. – Pulling out of the parking lot
  • 5:38 p.m. – First picture at the dog park after the trip, see http://DenvilleDogPark.com

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