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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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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.

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

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.

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.

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:
http://picasaweb.google.com/lgindoff/20100623KayakingTheDelawareRiverFromPoxonoToTheGap?feat=directlink

  • 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

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