Though it hasn’t rained much in weeks, I decided to take this trip at the headwaters of the Passaic River, accessing the river at Lord Stirling Road in Basking Ridge. I knew I would have trouble navigating this part of the river with such low water levels, but with the leaves in full color, I decided to compromise on length to take advantage of the beauty of the moment.
The foliage didn’t disappoint on this trip. The trees were red, orange and yellow and they reflected psychedelically against the smooth and still Passaic River. The only real thing harming the beauty of the reflections on the water were all the leaves that have fallen making their way downstream and the occasional cloud that blocked the sunlight.
As soon as I got in I realized the water level was super low because the lagoon area by Lord Stirling Bridge was just a river and not the typical lagoon. I immediately headed upstream into the Great Swamp but that trip was very quickly interrupted by a blow-down that I decided not to portage around. I had only gotten into the kayak 5 minutes earlier. If it was this bad at this juncture I knew I would be just as bad further up. In the end the trip was a very short 2.5 mile loop.
I turned around and went downstream. First I saw a Blue Heron hanging by the bridge, he never flew away and then I went under Lord Stirling Bridge. This was definitely the nice part of the trip as the multicolored forest lazily hung out over the river’s edge. As the sun came in and out of the clouds the colors changed subtlety in front of my eyes. It was like a flash back to a Grateful Dead show. There were many blow-downs along the way but I was able to got in, under and around them. Eventually, I turned around at one of the more challenging ones about a mile and a quarter down the river and headed home. I probably could have gotten through it without portaging if I wanted, but enough was enough. On the way back the sun was shining the best and I got some of the best photos of the day. I have to be happy with the photos I got on this day. In comparison, I did this same basic trip on October 29, 2009, exactly one year earlier so you can compare the trips.
This trips timeline is as follows:
- 12:16 – First picture on the water
- 12:26 – See Blue Heron
- 12:30 – Go under Lord Stirling Bridge
- 1:06 – Reach furthest extent down the river and turn around
- 2:05 – Last picture on the river
To view a slideshow of the photos taken on this trip or to purchase downloads ($0.99/download), prints or other items, go to my SmugMug link below. There is some really nice foliage in these photos to look at, so check out the pictures. You can vote on your favorite photos so let me know what you like.