Posts Tagged ‘Rockaway’

This Monday looked as if it were to be a nice day following the weekend, so with the autumn leaves beginning to turn, I decided to take the day off and take a solo kayak trip.  Water levels in the area are still low due to a lack of rain but I still wanted to hit the close personal meandering of the Passaic to catch some of the burgeoning colors.

I guess the trees that grow along the river bank are less colorful than the trees I see in the woods around my neighborhood because for the most part they were green and yellow with an occasional colorful tree.  Additionally, the sun never came out in a good way.  While I got some good photos, I’m still too early to catch the leaves peaking. Additionally, the low water level limits my solo kayaking abilities in the Passaic River to certain areas.  In any case, a successful day paddling  on the river is better than any day of work.

I grabbed a roast beef sandwich at the new Fairchild Market and Bakery on the way to the river and off I went.  I parked at the convenient Essex County Environmental Center at Eagle Rock Avenue and the Passaic River.   Unloading there was quick and easy and the launch was clean and easy.  Easy seems to be the word of the day and the Passaic without a current was easy to go down and up.  When I reached the Rockaway River I made a left turn and took that upstream for a half-hour so so.  I turned around and retraced my voyage.  Back to the Passaic, back under Route 280, back under Eagle Rock Avenue and I was back where I started.  I headed upstream, past the abandoned railroad trestle and turned around and headed home.

While I was marginally disappointed in the photographic opportunities of the foliage, I was pleasantly surprised by a good chance to photograph both a blue heron and a turtle.   I was afforded pretty close access to the two of these creatures before they moved on.

To view a slideshow of the photos taken or to purchase downloads ($0.99/download), prints or other items go to my SmugMug link below.  There is some nice foliage just on the brink of turning.  In addition, there are some good shots of a hawk, a heron and a turtle.

Timeline of the trip based on the photo time-stamps was:

  • 9:28 – First picture on the water
  • 9:33 – Crossing Eagle Rock Avenue
  • 9:40 – Go under the I280 Bridge
  • 10:19 – Reach Rockaway River and turn upstream
  • 10:53 – Reach furthest extent up the Rockaway and turn around to head home
  • 11:13 – Reach Passaic River and turn upstream
  • 12:09 – Go back under I280 bridge
  • 12:10 – Photograph blue heron
  • 12:19 – Go back under Eagle Rock Ave. bridge
  • 12:36 – Go under abandoned railroad trestle
  • 12:38 – See tremendously large flock of black birds
  • 12:49 – Reach furthest extent up the Passaic River and turn around to go home
  • 12:56 – Go back under railroad trestle
  • 1:07 – Photograph brown-tailed hawk
  • 11:11 – Photograph turtle
  • 1:21 – Last Picture on the water


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It’s an extremely hot and sunny Easter Sunday here in New Jersey, yet the rivers are still flooded from last week’s rains so I figured I would complete this 4 day weekend with my 3rd kayak paddling adventure.  Today I decided to enter the Passaic River at the Pio Costa industrial park off of Bloomfield Avenue.  This is a new launch site for me but I have seen it from the road and from the river and always wanted to try it.  Being private land I wasn’t too keen on the idea, but there is lots of room back there along the river behind the warehouses.  I read someone’s trip logs where they recommended this parking lot for access, so I figured I would take the chance.  Being Easter Sunday I assumed no one would be there anyway.

I quickly got unloaded which was expedited by my own stupidity.  I first took the straps off the Thule Hulla-Port J Carriers and then when taking off the stern anchor rope off the iBolt the entire kayak came tumbling off the roof and onto the asphalt parking lot.  Fortunately, the kayak seemed okay but I suffered a bad rope burn across my right arm.  No big deal but a scar to remind me never to do this again.  I kept going forward and got the kayak ready for taking off and got into the water at 11:15.  Ready for what would be an 8-mile kayak trip paddled in 3 hours.

The water came right up to the  parking lot and I launched the kayak parallel to the shore and had no problem pushing off.  The current was pretty strong at that section, seems to be the case at the access points, and it took me a second to get my bearings and get the camera out.  At that moment I unexpectedly saw a police car pulled up to my parked car, looked around and pulled away.  I think he saw me in the river and wasn’t too concerned but it did concern me during the paddle that my car may not the there when I get back or it may have a ticket.  Neither was the case.

I was on my way snapping pictures to more so to mark the time rather than getting nice pictures.  Like the days before, the foliage was still in its winter hibernation and there was little color to see.  Paddling up the flooded Passaic was strenuous but I kept a steady paddle forging ahead.  After passing through the Bloomfield Avenue bridge and the Kevah school bus terminal I left civilization and the river’s current behind me.

There was no wildlife, no fish, just a few bugs and small birds but nothing to photograph.  Just me and my blue-tooth headphones.  I didn’t even have a new Adam Carolla podcast to listen to.  He was even on absent from Carcast, who was I going to listen to Sandy Ganz?  I resorted to listening to shuffled music and enjoyed it .  I even got an appropriate Brokedown Palace with all its reference to flowing rivers.

In 25 minutes I reached the mouth of the Rockaway River and made a right turn up it.  Kathy and I had ventured up this section of the Rockaway once before in November 2009 but much shallower water made the fallen trees an issue.  The flooded river today made all those type of issues non-existent.

In about 20 minutes since entering the Rockaway I went past the point I stopped and turned around in November and started exploring new territory.  That’s a bonus for me on any kayak trip.  My goal was to head toward the Whippany River and the area close to the MCMUA transfer station along New Edwards Road.

The whole area was flooded from the prior rains so what was and wasn’t river was tough to decipher at times.  I really appreciate my iPhone for all it does for me out there.  It plays music, makes calls, tweets in case of emergency and it gives me a GPS.  These are a great things and the GPS helps me keep track of my route and a perspective on my time.  It gets me to where I want to go pretty accurately and confidently.

I entered the swamp land that goes along north of Route I-280 and the exit ramp for Edwards Road.  Usually that wouldn’t be that flooded as it was and it was kayakable today.  I could see the swamp grasses through the water below me.

I found my way back to the river channel and came to the mouth of the Whippany.  That is where you encounter the Sharkeys Landfill (Superfund site) which is also the location of the Parsippany-Troy Hills Wastewater (sewage) Treatment Plant.  Just down New Edwards road is our transfer station.  It was further away from the river than I expected.

I took the left turn at the landfill and headed toward the terminus of New Edwards Road which is closer to the MCMUA transfer station. The river current picked up here in the Whippany.  All the flood waters from the other side of Ridgedale Ave. and I-280 was draining right toward me.  Like all the current I discuss in the Passaic , it is really no problem paddling through.  Choke points around bridges and concrete embankments is a way of kayaking.  The flood gauge at the end of the road read 7.16 feet.  I really don’t know what it means but I was there to read it.  Hopefully, I’l be here once again to read the gauge.  I guess I could read it from the end of the road, using it as an access point, and if it’s high enough, it’s worth putting the kayak in.  This area is obvious reliant on the level of the water more so than the Passaic.

I crossed under 3 bridges, 2 for I-208 and the last for Ridgedale Ave.  After that the entire area opened up to the expansive Troy Meadows which were flooded for as far as the eye could see.  On the western horizon I see the bunkers which tower above Powder Mill in the far distance.  While the Whippany follows the Troy Meadows to the right I took a tributary that feeds into the meadows to the left for a few minutes.

My paddle up the Whippany for today ended at a big power easement tower located near the end of Stmis Lane in East Hanover.  I turn around here and headed back.  My ass was hurting by then, I have been in the kayak a lot over the past few days.

On the way back I decided to tour the Rockaway River in between two cells of the Shakeys Landfills.  I discovered an old stone hearth standing majestically by the water.  There were also hunting stands darted amongst the river-scape.  I’m sure it’s landscape during drier times.  It’s going to be mosquito-scape soon.   There is actually a bridge that crosses the river from landfill cell to landfill cell.

It was just past this landfill bridge where I turned around once again to head home.  It was located behind the small strip mall offices located along New Road heading toward Route 46.  With turning around, the current, if there was any, would be with me.

Breakers from the landfill. They look ike they are made with a fabric cover.

When I finally started going down the Rockaway and approached the confluence with the Passaic River, I got lost a bit in the flooded jungle but my trusty GPS and the high water level told me not to worry. I ran into the Passaic River a few hundred yards upstream from where I had left it.  You wouldn’t nor could you do that if the flooding wasn’t as severe as it was.

Once I picked u the Passaic River it was just a matter of hauling ass to the take out point.  I had to piss and my ass was killing me.  I addition, the sunny 75-degree weather was beating down on me.  In no time I made to to the take-out point and was pleased to see my car there.  I also saw another car there which belong to these two river hobo types that were fishing in the river where I parked.  As I approached the area they asked if I was getting out.  When I confirmed they moved their rods out of the way.  This was a steep, parallel to the shore exit which was going to be tricky and I was not excited about doing it in front of two people.  Fortunately, I drifted into the shoreline, backwards and one of the guys pulled me out of the river back first.  I got out dry and clean.  Fifteen minutes later I was packed up and heading home.  New territory and a new launch site.

The timeline of the trip based on photo time-stamps as well as tweets was:

  • 10:39 a.m. – Leaving my house with kayak on roof
  • 11:01 a.m. – Parked at Pio Costa parking lot on Bloomfield Ave ready to unload
  • 11:09 a.m. – Kayak on side of river ready to go in
  • 11:13 a.m. – Tweet from the bank of the river that I’m going in.
  • 11:15 a.m. – In the water taking my first picture
  • 11:19 a.m. – Go under the Bloomfield Ave. bridge.
  • 11:27 a.m. – Going past Kevak Korner bus company dispatch yard in Montville
  • 11:49 a.m. – (1.25 miles) Tweet that I’m at the mouth of the Rockaway River and baring right to go up it.
  • 12:10 p.m. – Reach the the furthest extent point from 11-8-2009 trip, from here on is new territory
  • 12:15 p.m.  – Enter flooded swamp along Edwards Road exit ramp off I-280
  • 12:25 p.m. – (2.5 miles) Tweet That I’m at the Sewage treatment plant and the mouth of the Whippany
  • 12:27 p.m. – Enter the mouth of the Whippany as I make a left at the sewage plant toward New Edward’s Road and I-280.
  • 12:32 p.m. – Reach New Edward’s Road terminus and read flood gauge which read 7:16
  • 12:36 p.m. – (2.85 miles) Go under I-280 and Ridgedale Ave. bridges
  • 12:55 p.m. -(3.4 miles)  Tweet that I’m at the turn around oint off the Whippany near Stimis Ave.
  • 1:05 p.m.  – (3.95 miles) Go back under Ridgedale Ave. and I-280 bridges
  • 1:08 p. m. – go back past New Edwards Road terminus.
  • 1:15 p.m. – (4.30 miles) Back at mouth of Whippany where it meets Rockaway at sewage treatment pant sign.
  • 1:26 p.m. – (4.85 miles) Approach Sharkey’s Landfill bridge that spans the Rockaway.
  • 1:29 p.m. – (4.95 miles) Reach turn-around point on Rockaway River as I explore the landfills.
  • 1:34 p.m. – Tweet that I’ve explored Sharkeys Landfill and am heading back.
  • 1:40 pm. –  (5.6 miles) Heading away from landfills
  • 2:00 p.m. – (6.7 miles) Tweeted that I’m back on the Passaic River.
  • 2:15 p.m.  – (7.84 miles) About to go back under the Bloomfield Ave. bridge
  • 2:18 p.m. – Take the last picture from the river before stowing the camera away in preparation for landing
  • 2:23 p.m. – (8.00 miles) Kayak on shore
  • 2:34 p.m.  -Kayak on and ready to go
  • 2:35 p.m.  – Tweet that the car is packed and I’m driving out of Pio Costa parking lot.

MCMUA Transfer Station just down the road.

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IMG_3399_edited-1A super warm November 8 provided Kathy and I an opportunity to kayak late into the season. It was 65 out and sunny. Not a cloud in the sky and no wind to worry about. How Lucky are we on this Sunday? Let’s hope luckier than the Ginats.

This trip will probably be the last one for the year. For my inaugural kayaking season, this is my 18th paddle and Kathy’s 16th. That’s pretty good if you ask me and with that local experience I was still able to select a paddle where I encountered new territory as well as hitting two different rivers on one journey. This is a first for me .

Being Sunday, I DVRed the Giant game vs. San Diego and headed to the Passaic River. The plan was to put in at the Essex County Environmental Center on Eagle Rock Ave. in Roseland and to start heading downstream toward Pine Brook. We were going to head down stream to the confluence of the Passaic River and the Rockaway River. A left turn off the Passaic into the Rockaway has you paddling upstream on the Rockaway from its mouth. This segment of the Rockaway represented new territory for us.

To see a slide show of the photos from this trip go to my Picasa Google Web Album at the link below:

We have been on the Rockaway before but that was alway upstream from Boonton, this was at the very end of it and we had no idea if it would be navigable or not. It ended up being pretty wide and felt much like the Passaic. Eventually there was a downed tree that acted as a debris catch basin that made continuing upstream difficult. I worked my way through the muck but Kathy didn’t want to try it. It really wasn’t all that difficult.


I told Kathy I would explore further upstream for a little while she eats her tuna fish sandwich we got from Sorrentos before we disembarked. It was another remarkably cheap meal at $9.50 for 2 sandwiches and 4 doughnuts. I paddled further up the Rockaway as fast as I could gaining as much new territory as I thought I could with leaving Kathy alone on the river on the other side of the debris dam. I went about half the way between the confluence of the two rivers and the Sharkeys Road destination I was looking for. Unfortunately, I never made it all the way and turned around at a downed branch that I didn’t feel like going through. It was good to go on 2 rivers, almost 3 as I was just moments from the end of the Whippany River. One day I would like to see if I could complete this trip.


End of the line for this exploration.

On the way back home we didn’t see too much more exciting. The sun was lower in the sky and provided a nicer and warmer glow on the few colors that remain on the trees this late into autumn. Even with the warm glow and colors, it wasn’t the most picturesque trip. The photo below was about as good as it got but that’s not to say it wasn’t a beautiful day and trip.


DCC_4990_edited-1As far as wildlife, it was very limited. We only saw boring birds, pigeons on the Eagle Rock Ave. bridge. A large flock of back birds few back and forth across the river. We saw what may have been a hawk, and both Kathy and I saw deer but we were not able to get any pictures of those. I saw a few ducks and it appears as if the geese have all flown south of us by now. That was it, not turtles, no fish. Kathy saw this bird I have pictured to the right flying in front of her. I only saw it land in the trees. I hung around for a while to see if it would take off again but it never did. I don’t know what type of bird it is but it looked bigger than the standard birds we had been seeing all day. My hunch is it may have been a hawk, so if anyone ever read this and knows, don’t be bashful to let me know.



On my solo portion up the Rockaway, I did see 2 guys in pickup trucks with a dog on the river side. It looked as if they were up to no good, and I was right. As soon as I left the area the gun shots started to fly. I can’t imaging they are allowed to do that. In any case we all came back safe an sound.

DCC_5016_edited-1I have to also mention that there was quite a bit of pollution on this trip. Kathy picked up one of those heart shaped balloons and trailed it with here all trip. Doing her part in the litter pick up, but there was too much to pick up. We saw debris caught up in all the downed trees. This included the preponderance of water bottles, sporting balls, occasional construction debris, a tire, a propane tank, a gas can, a few abandoned cars in the woods. In the end, it was the debris that got clogged in a fallen tree that ended Kathy’s, and for the most part, both our trips into the unknown.


Getting out of the boat I used the “ramming the shore” technique with some good speed going in head-on and then I scooted up a few inches making getting out easy, dry and clean. The water level was lower that it has been for the past few weeks and therefore the shore line had a mud factor but we nicely dealt with it and it turned out not to be much of a factor.


Getting the kayaks cleaned and loaded was pretty quick and easy. So in all we were on the kayaks for just under 3 hours, we got to eat a Sorrentos for breakfast and lunch and got home in time to watch a depressing Gaint loss to San Diego who came back in the last minute to drive and 80 yards to defeat the Giants by 1 point. Really a terrible loss. Good thing I had the great paddle to lessen the mental damage. What a great year of kayaking. See you in the springtime.


The time line of the paddle went as follows:

  • 10:45 – Boats are on Kathy’s car waiting for Kathy to get out of bed.
  • 11:28 – Kathy is out of bed and packing the car
  • 12:38 – I have the boats unloaded and at the riverside waiting to get in
  • 12:45 – Kathy is in the water paddling while I am still a shore
  • 12:50 – I am in the water taking photos.
  • 12:55 We cross the Eagle Rock Ave. bridge
  • 1:05 – We go under the I-280 bridge.
  • 1:46 – We reach the confluence of the Passaic and Rockaway Rivers.
  • 1:56 – I cross the debris blockage that marked the furthest extent of Kathy’s paddle.
  • 2:11 – I reach the furthest extent of my trip solo up the Rockaway and turn around to rejoin Kathy
  • 2:25 – I have rejoined Kathy on the other side of the debris dam.
  • 2:31 – We reach the Passaic River and head upstream
  • 3:19 – We go back under Route I-280
  • 3:28 – We go back under Eagle Rock Avenue
  • 3:30 – Last picture before putting the camera away, putting my seat tray up and preparing for landing.
  • 4:00 – Kayaks loaded and heading back home.
  • 6:58: – Giants up by 6 with 2 minutes to go with San Diego on their own 20.
  • 7:02 – Giants Lose by 1. Four-game losing streak after 5- game winning streak.


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DCC_5855_edited-1This was our first adventure with the Hackensack River Canoe and Kayak Club (HRCKC) and with the trip being the Rockaway River, it made it a nice close journey for Kathy and I.  The club cost $25 for the two of us for the year and today’s trip made the annual dues pay for themselves. It gave us an opportunity to meet a whole bunch of nice people who are into the same thing we are into.  For instance, while Kathy was hanging out with some of the women at the put-in point while the men were shuttling the cars at the beginning of the day, she realized that  most of the couples on the trip were long-term couples but yet,  not married just like Kathy and I.  Maybe we did find our little niche.  Finally, this trip showed us two new launching sites for the Rockaway which we had not experienced or specifically knew about.

The put in point at Jakson Ave. park in Rockaway Borough

The put in point at Jakson Ave. park in Rockaway Borough

DCC_5853_edited-1We arrived at the Jackson Avenue park in Rockaway Borough about 9:20 and there was no problem figuring out where to go.  The lineup of a dozen cars with kayaks, canoes and boat racks gave us a strong indication we were in the right spot.  We quickly parked, unloaded and staged our kayks for launching.  It probably took another 30-45 minutes for everyone else to arrive and for Phil, our trip leader, to organize the shuttle to Tourne Park where we would park most of the cars, eventually shuttling on 3 cars to the Giffith Park take-out point.  There is limited parking at Griffith Park and when our convoy rolled into the Tourne parking lot, it showed how this idea was a good one.  We almost filled up the Tourne with our12-13 car convoy, which impressively fell into place as we automatically loaded the parking lot. On the way back to Rockaway, I was in the shuttle with Frank, Judy, Mark, Walter, Bob and the name of our driver who I forget.  He had a canoe on his roof and seemed very experienced but he wasn’t going on the trip with us just shuttling members back and forth.  This was very nice of him.  We eventually saw him peering over the armada floating down the Rockaway at the start of the trip as he grabbed a view from the wrong side of a fence on the first bridge we went under.


When we got back to the launch site, most of the boats were carried to the shoreline by the people hanging out.  Getting in the water at this site would not be totally dry. It was shallow and along the shore was too shallow to just jump in a paddle.  I pushed Kathy into clear water with great difficulty but I had to step into the river and launch from it.  Not a big deal.  It was clean water and not mud, so it didn’t impact the cleanliness of my interior too much.  We hung out for 15 minutes while we waited for everyone to get into their boats and down the river we went.




While waiting to get going I took the cameras out of their water-proof bags and started snapping a few shots, so according to this record we were in the water at around 10:50 and started going down stream by 11:05.

It was a beautiful day, the clouds from yesterdays storms were blowing by us and it was slated to be very nice, warm, but not too hot , with only a chance of pop-up thunderstorms later in the afternoon.  The day started of cloudy and comfortable, it turned to sunny and comfortable to warm and ended with a spitting of a few minor, isolated showers just as we were getting off the river in Boonton.  It felt good.  The weather for the day was really nice and we made it just in time.  By dinner time a few strong thunderstorms materialized over Morristown which had strong rains for a few minutes at a time.  That would have been nerve-racking to paddle through.


DCC_5894_edited-1Back to the beginning, so we started going down the river 11:10 and the group spread out quickly.  Kathy and I were more toward the rear with a group of 10-12 for most of the first leg.  I tend to lag as I take lots of photos and unfortunately, most of my pictures of the group are from behind.  It’s usually the best side of most people anyway.  Juts kidding.  So I started snapping at 10:53 in the water, we took off downstream at 11:05 and started taking out for lunch at McCarter Park in Denville, at the Stewarts, at 12:02.  Not a long first leg, but it is a great place to stop.  Easy in-out, picnic benches, a Stewarts with a bathroom across the street.  Almost like a drive through.  Stewarts should serve people at the banks of the river in their boats like they serve people in their cars.

The first leg  was a bit tricky at times because it was so shallow.  We scraped along the bottom rocks and several occasions along the first 10 minutes, it was something to deal with but nothing where we had to get out at any point.  It eventually got deep enough after the first 10 minutes where this was no longer an issue.  The water was clear, much clearer than the Passaic and you could easily see to the bottom with the ubiqitous abandoned tire stuck to the bottom of the river.  The look of the ugly mess in the water wasn’t as unsightly and upsetting as the ubiqitous discarded plastic water bottles that form at every strainer in the Passaic.  There was little on-shore littering on the Rockaway, which was nice.





DCC_5915_edited-1Going with the group meant most of any wildlife has fled by the time you reach where they were before the might armada upset their peaceful habitat.  Geese and ducks were about all I saw.There is nothing thrilling about geese except they do stand still long enough to give you a nice photo-op.  Kathy said we saw and I got a few shots of a cormorant, but I thought it was a goose.  Maybe if someone knows, they can confirm it in as a comment.

As far as the folliage goes it was fully green but there were few other colors to see but  the green of the trees, the hazy blue of the skies and the scummy blackish blue hue of the water.  Kathy, as usual, was the most colorful item out on the water.  Her kayak, PFD and paddles psychodelicate an otherwise overly bland natural environment.




Take out for lunch at McCarter Park in Denville.  There is Stewarts across the street.

Take out for lunch at McCarter Park in Denville. There is Stewarts across the street.

Kathy and I went to Stewarts for a bathroom break and an order of fries and a Coke.  We hung with Joe there and eventually joined the rest of the group at the McCarter riverside park where we ate our BJ&J sandwiches.  We listened to stories of other riversides from other HRCKC members during this break.  It’s good to hear about where you can go and what is around and what others have done.  It was a long lunch, probably as long as the initial leg but very satisfying.



We put back into the water at 1:05 and headed down the stretch of the Rockaway that Kathy and I have yet to explore.  This is going north through from Denville into Mountain Lakes and ending up in Boonton.  The cool thing is you go through all these towns without actually going into these towns.  There are some beautiful backyards that have riverside property in this area.  A few mansions but most were just very nice homes.  We went past the hospital, St. Clares I believe, and wound our way through a golf course.  I had to scream “four” at one point as a golfer hooked a ball into the middle of the river.








As we approached Boonton, the river widened and we found other paddlers on the river enjoying its inherent fun.  Families with kids were having water fights amongst their boats and a father with a gaggle of kids was using someone’s dock and rope swing that pendulated over the Rockaway presenting a whole lot of fun.



A flag on an island in the middle of the river indicated the Boonton dam and the take out was near.  It just began to rain at this point.  It was just a few sparse drops but it served as a reminder of how good the weather was to us.  If we did this trip and hour and a half later we may have been packing up in a deluge, but fortunately, this was not the case.




At about 2:40 we started to stage for final approach and landing.  It took 10 to 15 minutes to get all of us out of the water.  It is great how everyone helps to get the boats and the people out.  By about 2:50 I was out of the water taking a few photos of the dam that marked the end of the trip.  I picked up one of the shuttles back to the nearby Tourne Park paking lot and quickly drove back to and parked at Griffth Park.  We got the boats up on the roof and away we went.  The boats were not muddy at all and required little cleanup.



When we got home we decided to keep the car packed for another trip tomorrow on Memorial Day Monday.  This time with the dogs who were home all day.  When we got home at 3:40 I immediately took the spare ribs out of the fridge, created a dry rub and got them on the grill for dinner to be eaten 4 hours later after they slowly cooked with a bottle of Keesha 2006 Pinot Noir.  A well deserved break after  a great day of paddling.  Time to day it again tomorrow but this time with the pooches.

Your humble poster, Larry.

Your humble poster, Larry. Please pardon all mistakes.

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IMG_3065_edited-1Kathy and I were planning on joining a paddle sponsored by the Morris County Park Commission tonight on the Rockaway River, leaving from the Tourne Park.  Of course calling the morning of the paddle found us unable to join the group, even with our own kayaks.  It was a nice day and I was planning on doing the kayak trip so I took a half day and Kathy took a few hours off and we decided to do a paddle on our own.

I researched and decided to select a piece of the Rockaway River, this to be our first time not going on the Passaic River.  How exciting.  It seemed as McCarter Memorial Park on Bloomfield Avenue in Denville would be a good launch point.  I read one article that said so.  It was close.

We decided to try the trip with one car, paddling up stream for a while and then back down.  It seemed easy enough of the Passaic River so why not the Rockaway?  Finding a parking spot at the Park was easy and access to the river was close and convenient as can be.  Path led from the street in the park right to the river.  In addition, there were big rocks at the river’s edge that made getting in and out of the kayak clean and easy.




So getting into the river was easy, getting up stream right away proved to be quite an effort. This wasn’t like going against the gentle current of the Passaic.  This was a slightly less than gentle current and  it took some muscle.

We got into the river at 4:40 and the initial paddle was tough to get to the first area that you could rest a little.  I wasn’t sure we were paddling forward for a while, but you do make progress, although much slower and and with a lot more effort.  Much like riding up hill.  We went on for 30 minutes almost straight where we had to paddle steadily throughout the whole time.  With a few areas that were really tough to get though some rocky areas.




It was nice in that I figured out that I could attach the mini-tripod to the bottom of the camcorder and stuff that down the chest of my life preserver.  It held it pretty still and in a good location.  So check out the video because it is pretty cool.


I wasn’t thrill with my pictures and there wasn’t much to take.  This was our first trip where the river was lined with green trees as opposed to trees with no leaves.  Nevertheless, it wasn’t beautiful.  We saw a few geese, babies and ducks.  One heron, but that was it.


We got to Gardner Field where there was a lot of  baseball, soccer and fishing going on.  Kathy wanted to quit but I wanted to go on.  There was a tough point to get through in front of the park and I convinced Kathy to  do it.  She did it like a pro.  We then headed under one more bridge and headed under route 80.  Going under all the bridges with their constrictions to the river proved difficult but doable.  We proceeded about 10 minutes past Route 80 and we turned around, just around 6:10.



The way home while easy, still required paddling and what ever hassles there were getting there were  just small ripples on the way home.  It took 35 minutes to get home and we disembarked on the rocks by the car.  Getting out was nice, clean and easy and so was loading the car.




We finished the trip with the natural progression to the Stewarts that was staring at us while we packed the car.  My meal of burger and fish sandwich was good while Kathy’s  double Italian hot dog was unsatisfying.  We got home and the unload into the house was easy.

Our first new river, how exciting and we discovered kayaking can be a workout.

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