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Archive for August, 2010

I had the day off from work and it was a sunny hot day so I decided to take Rags along with me a kayak trip.  I didn’t want to do much but get Rags on the water with me, get some bonding time in a hopeful take a few nice pictures and enjoy some peace and tranquility on the river.  I got all of that and no more.

With the summers lack of rain I was expecting the river to be low and it was as low and I have ever seen it.  Getting the through the railroad trestle just south of the Essex County Environmental Center’s launch area off of Eagle Rock Ave. was tricky due to the low water level.  Additionally there was also a fallen tree that was difficult to get through a bit further up the river.  Both of the these obstacles were much easier to deal with on the way back home.

This trip was virtually the same one we took with Scraps and Rags on April 26, 2009, which was Rags first tip on the kayak.   Since I was solo today and since it was hot and sunny outside, Rags was calm and well behaved.  She never did leave the comfortable bow of the boat I set up for her except for the one time she fell into the water.

To view the photos I took from this trip in my Picasa online album go to:
http://picasaweb.google.com/lgindoff/20100831KayakingThePassaicRiverWithRags?feat=directlink

As far as wildlife, we chased a couple of blue heron but only got photos of them flying away from me.  Rags and I saw a few deer on the Morris County side of the river.  One of the deer was depressingly and obviously lame.  Thanks G-d Kathy wasn’t with me on the paddle cause she would have had me calling 911 to help the poor thing.  I also saw a lot of turtles sunning themselves on logs.  Like the blue heron, the turtles are tough to sneak up on and get a good photo of.  Fortunately, Rags the dog wasn’t going anywhere and I got some good shots of her.

In total, we were on the water for about 2 and one half hours.  It was easy and relaxing and we pulled over in the shade about an hour into the paddle and ate a roast beef sub I got from the new Fairchild Bakery and Deli on the way out.    That is about it for now.

Time line according to photos is:

  • 1:30:  First picture in the river
  • 1:43 Approach railroad trestle
  • 1:54 Catch blue heron taking off.
  • 2:10 See lame deer on Morris bank of the river.
  • 2:35 Cross power east-west easement
  • 2:47 Come to turn-around point
  • 3:30 See healthy white tailed deer on Morris riverside
  • 3:36 Approach railroad trestle
  • 3:48 Approaching Essex County Environmental Center
  • 3:49 Last photo on the water
  • 4:10 Pulling out of parking lot.

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Enjoying a “staycation” this week, Kathy and I decided to take the Wednesday in the middle of it and head down to the NJ shore.  Kathy was having a hankering for sun and pizza, so I wanted to combine that desire with my own desire to kayak a new body of water.  They kayaks have been stored on my Fit’s roof-rack all week anyway and they were desiring to get off the roof and onto the water.

What the heck, leave the dogs at home and drive the 2 kayaks down to Seaside at Exit 82and check out some new kayaking and then stroll the boardwalk.  It was a plan.  The forecast was for clouds, humidity, 90s and good chance of rain plus heavy down pours in the afternoon.  None it materialized and it ended up being a very nice day from a weather perspective, maybe a bit windy, but it is probably alway windy down there.

To view the photos I took from this trip in my Picasa online album go to:
http://picasaweb.google.com/lgindoff/20100804KayakingTheSedgeIslandInBarnegatBay?feat=directlink

NJ’s Island Beach State Park cost $6.00 for the car on a weekday, $10 on a weekend, and we chose parking lot 21A which provides kayak access down a sandy trail to the bay side.  You have to unload your kayak there and park the car up by the bathroom.  Not a long hike, but a walk nevertheless.

The wind and the tide became apparent when we got in the water. We had to start off initially by going against it all so the way home would be easy.   Although Kathy was belly-aching about it the whole way, it was the right move and not too strenuous when all was said and done.  It was under 2 hours and most of it was sitting stuck on a sand bar.  Other times it was choppy with strong winds and currents.

The paddling and the effort got us to the Sedge Island area where we encountered lots of birds, including many osprey, cormorant, pipers and gulls; I think.  High tide was schedule to be around 3:30 and we were in the water just after noon so the tide was coming in and soon to crest.  It made it a challenge to paddle to the Sedge but at least we had water to float on.  At low tide the Sedge must really rise up from the sea as it is a series of sand bars.  You see clammers standing in the shallow Barnegat Bay waters only ankle high; competing with the birds for the abundant shellfish.

It was a cool experience and one worth doing again especially considering the combo of a day at the beach, boardwalk food and some kayaking. With a value meal like that I may get down to the NJ shore on a more frequent basis.

The timeline of the day is as follows:

  • 12:02 – Preparing to launch
  • 12:14 – First picture in the water
  • 12:23 – Cross bay and get to first sand sedge island with lots of birds
  • 12:48 – Most strenuous paddle against wind and tide  to get to dead end channel
  • 12:54 – Reach end of dead end channel
  • 1:00 – Float onto sand bar and photo lots of birds on the sedge.
  • 1:30 – Leave the sedge and head toward home
  • 1:49 – Last photo on the water
  • 2:27 – Car is packed and parked at the lot 21A bathroom
  • 2:32 – We are on the beach with the cold water on the other side of lot 21A
  • 3:08 – On the Seaside Boardwalk
  • 5:57 – Waffles and ice creme on the boardwalk and it’s the Garden State Parkway for us.
  • 7:45 – Home to feed and walk the dogs and blog.

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