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Posts Tagged ‘Whippany’

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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