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Archive for July, 2010

I started the month on July 1 paddling the marshes of the Meadownlands and I ended the month on July 31 paddling the same marsh.  The main difference was this time it was with Kathy instead of going solo and the water was much calmer.  Kathy hadn’t yet paddled these marshes nor seen the boat access ramp at Millridge Park in Secaucus.

To view the photos I took from this trip in my Picasa online album go to:
http://picasaweb.google.com/lgindoff/20100731MeanderingTheMeadowlandsInTheHackensackRiverSecaucus?feat=directlink

Since this was the same paddle as the one we did on July 1, the Google Map I am presenting is from that trip.

This trip was about 4.5 miles and took 1:45 hours.  It is an easy kayak trip with the park being a great little put-in with the option of going left to the Hackensack or meandering the swamps. We chose the swamps to the river.

In many respect this trip was a bit boring as many kayak trip are.  We entered the water at 12:15 and exited at 1:45.  It was sunny hot but nice, not even too humid, yet, all this serenity was a little dull.  Sure we saw lots of birds, more than we would ever encounter on the Passaic in our neck of the woods, but nothing too exciting happened.   Nevertheless, we left the house at 11:15 got home at 3 and change so the logistics for a nice trip make sense.  With the New York City skyline looming in the background, it is tough to complain.  Since we have the week off, I’m leaving the kayaks on the car so we can do another quick trip if we want.  There will be much more to blog about so stay tuned.

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Kathy and I embarked on what ended up being a fun adventurous 5-hour kayak trip down the Delaware River that spanned 13.7 miles between the Water Gap and Belvidere, NJ take out.  We had done this trip plus a little more in June 2009 with the HRCKC but this is the first time we would try the Delaware’s riffles by ourselves.  The long short of it was we didn’t remember that trip being that long on the river as we encountered, but the time on the river was so comfortable, the 5 hours didn’t seem that bad.  Somehow I did the entire 5 hours without leaving my cockpit.  Kathy had the fortune, or misfortune in having to portage her way through some shallow rocky areas later on in the paddle.

It was a very nice to hot day on the river.  Weather was expected to the rain free, slight humidity and in the low 90’s.  The billowing clouds didn’t do much to shade us but they did provide for some very nice reflections in the water.  In addition, there were some really cool clouds to the east on the way home.

To view the photos I took from this trip in my Picasa online album go to:
http://picasaweb.google.com/lgindoff/20100711DelawareRiverWaterGapToBelvidere?feat=directlink

For us the real fun of this paddle resides in the many opportunities to go through the riffles and rapids.  There are 10 to 12 episodes of them and some you go through like a knife through butter and others you it wrong and get the kayak swamped by white-caps cresting over your bow.  It’s a blast.  Kathy’s first encounter resulted in her going right into a rock.  That got her heart pounding for the rest of the trip.  She certainly was relaxed and relieved when the whole journey was over.

Below is the timeline based on the picture’s time and GPS stamps

  • 12:29 – Boats unloaded at the Gap
  • 12:33 – First picture in the river
  • 12:44 – In the heart of the Gap (0.5 mies)
  • 12:57 – Past the first island (1.1. mies)
  • 1:23 – Approaching abandoned multi-arched railroad bridge (2.75 miles)
  • 1:41 – Note a possible put in at Columbia just before the Portland-Columbia Pedestrian Bridge
  • 1:44 – Go under the Portland-Columbia Pedestrian Bridge (4 miles)
  • 1:48 – Go under the N. Delaware Dr. Toll Bridge (4.2 miles)
  • 2:04 – See the power plant’s 2 smokestacks
  • 2:08 – At the power plant’s effluent release (5.4 miles)
  • 2:21 – Stop for lunch just shy of the railroad trestle where kids jump off into the river below
  • 2:42 – Finish lunch and go under the railroad trestle
  • 2:45  – Photograph multiple dare devils jumping off the bridge (6 miles)
  • 3:00 – Pass the Delaware River Family Campground on the NJ side
  • 3:29  – Encounter the first set of large islands by the Driftstone on the Delaware Campground and we take the skinny western channel (8 mies)
  • 3:44 – We merge back into the entire river (8.9 miles)
  • 3:49 – We encounter the next big island and we once again take the skinnier western channel (9 miles)
  • 4:07 – We merge back into the main river (10 mies)
  • 4:22 – Encounter next smaller island and take shallower eastern channel.  This was a mistake  as Kathy had to step out and portage a bit.  I managed to push my way through without getting out (10.75 miles).
  • 4:35 – We finally get out of the shallow channel and merge back with the river (11.3 miles)
  • 4:37  – We spot 4 heron just in front of use and I photograph them for a while
  • 4:42 – Last heron picture
  • 5:07 – I spot the Water St. Bridge in Belvidere.  The takeout is just beyond it.
  • 5:20 – We go under the Water St. Bridge in Belvidere (13.6 miles)
  • 5:22  – Last picture on the water before we go a shore (13.7 mies)
  • 6:19 – Picking up my car at the Water Gap Visitor’s Center on Rt.80 where we put in.
  • 7:58 – First picture at the Denville Dog Park

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Kathy and I decided to head to Red Bank, NJ this 4th of July weekend to enjoy their best in New Jersey firework display for the Independence Day weekend.  We parked and launched the kayaks from Chris’s River Plaza Marina, 483 West Front Street, Red Bank, NJ.  This is located 5 minutes off of Exit 109 of the Garden State Parkway, so just 1 hour nd 5 minutes from home without traffic.

This marina was a great place that had plenty of parking, help, porto-Johns.  It’s cost $10 per kayak to launch from there and it was well worth the money.  Easy in and easy out and I would do this trip in a heartbeat once again from this location.  In addition, we arrived at 4:30 and we could have arrived at 6:00.  Just a great way to beat the crowds and get a front row seat to the fireworks show, all by kayak.

To view the photos I took from this trip in my Picasa onine album go to:
http://picasaweb.google.com/lgindoff/20100703FireworksOnTheNavesinkRiverAtRedBank?feat=directlink

While we heard about this kayak trip from the HRCKC and we baled on it last year at the last minute due to a bad decision based on foul weather perditions that never came true, we did this trip without participating in the official HRCKC trip.  This meant we just went right to the marina, tailgated their by our lonesome selves and we paddled joined kayaks and hung out just the two of us and it was wonderful.

Kathy wrenched her back two days ago and wasn’t up to full strength.  Nevertheless, this was just like a 1 mile paddle so there was no stress.  Just a perfect peaceful night under some pretty impressive fireworks.  The weather was just picture perfect, no wind, no humidity, not hot or cold.  Just right.  Then watching the fireworks with an unobstructed view on a reflecting Navesink River makes for a picturesque and powerful sounding event.

This is a salt water river, which is new to us, and the first thing you notice when you get into it was the abundance of jelly fish.  All over the place, so you don’t want to go into the water.  We also saw ducks, egrets and other birds.  Kathy and I paddled up river a bit, a half mile each way up and back, before heading to the fireworks zone where all the partying was going on. In total the trip was 3 miles, including one mile exploring upstream before the show.  the  All the mansions on the water had huge parties going on, replete with band all laying Springsteen, Bon Jovi and other Jersey jingles.  It is truly quite the event Red Bank puts on.

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Millridge Park Launch Area, Secaucus, NJ

Kathy and I took off on this beautiful July 1 to enjoy the weather and a kayak paddle somewhere local to us.  Just out of nowhere, doing nothing, Kathy wrenched her back and was out of commission as far as sitting a a kayak for a few hour goes.  It was a real bummer as she couldn’t do a trip but I didn’t let that stop me.

I headed to the Millridge Rd. Park in Secaucus to launch my kayak.  I figured I would meander around the channels and marshes in the are areas behind Secaucus into Mill Creek.  The previous time if left from here on May 17, 2010 I only really hit up the Hackensack River and only touched on the channels I would check out today, so for the most park, todays 5 mile paddle was new territory.

Going through the marsh areas gave me an opportunity to see several nice birds.  As I entered the water and started paddling I immediately scared a blue heron out of the tall reeds and only got pictures of it flying away from me.  I saw a few ducks here and there.  I think I saw a hawk circling above the swamp amongst a large flock of smaller birds.  I also encountered a few white looking heron types of birds that would also flee as I approached them. Luckily for me, that was often against the wind giving me an opportunity to photography them as they were fighting the wind, taking off, hovering and the landing.  Finally at the end of the trip I saw several cormorant hanging out on the pilings in the river.  This was a good bird experience being amongst the marshes.  That was the only wildlife I saw.

To view the photos I took from this trip in my Picasa onine album go to:
http://picasaweb.google.com/lgindoff/20100701MeanderingTheMeadowlandsInTheHackensackRiverSecaucus?feat=directlink

As I got into the Hackensack River to head back to the boat ramp the winds really picked up.  The water got very choppy and was fun and refreshing as the waves occasionally splashed onto me even though I did notice the Hackensack definitely leaves a muddy film on you.

It was a nice 2.5 hour paddle that covered a lazy 5 miles of reeds, muddy water, New York City skyline vistas and bird-life.  My only regret is that Kathy wasn’t there to enjoy it with me.  She would have enjoyed this trip.

The time line according to the time stamps is as follows:

  • 1:20 – First picture in the water
  • 1:28 – Spot a blue heron
  • 1:53 – Paddle past the Secaucus Municipal Utilities Authority waste water treatment plant. (1 mile)
  • 1:56 – Photograph my first white heron looking bird.
  • 2:03 – Paddle around 4 tall radio antennae and see some birds.
  • 2:18 – Take mill creek to the end at Rt. 3 (1.75 miles)
  • 2:31 – Photograph a hawk flying around a bunch of small birds (2 miles)
  • 3:09 – Photograph 4 white herons for a while as I approach the Hackensack River (3 miles).
  • 3:22 – Enter channel off of the Hackensack River by the Turnpike’s eastern spur north of Rt. 3 (4 miles)
  • 3:28 – Enter the windy and choppy Hackensack River (4.3 miles)
  • 3:37 – Photograph cormorant on pilings in the river. (4.85 miles)
  • 3:43 – Last picture on the water.

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