Day 2 – NYC to Peekskill/Verplanck

photo-4Paddling out of crazy hectic NYC waters into the reaches of the river where green areas now outnumber clumps of houses helps settle the mind. My distracted nature loves the city, but finding myself in the respite of a more natural setting makes me realize how important it is for me, anyway, to ground myself in nature.

After Ed Acker, president of our East Coast Outrigger Racing Association, hosted my canoe overnight at his home club’s,  NY Outrigger, boathouse we got a total skunking from NYC media, which I totally expected.  It was also kinda nice-it made getting out a lot less cacophonous and stressful. So Ed and I hit the water at 6:40. Poor guy was feeling under the weather, and he had to get off the water at 8, so he joined me for the paddle to the Jersey side where I could hide a bit easier from the raging current coming down the Hudson. From there I poked along, exchanged a few texts and then a phone call from Julie McCoy of the Inwood Canoe Club.

The Inwood Club is a perfect little hang out on the Hudson. It’s sent a fair number of paddlers off to the Olympics, although none recently. According to Julie, the Hudson was dotted on the NY side with lots of little boathouses along the river. I wish and hope we can bring that back. Especially city dwellers, I think, could use some respite on the waters of the Hudson.

So Julie also joined me for a stretch, from a bit before the GWB until around the Harlem River. Then it was just me all alone in the gray of the day paddling silently on Hudson glass. A few rain drops broke the surface, as well as a dying fish in the throws of death-second one I’d seen and the first of the two I’d witness on the witness. Kinda crazy, these fish would swim wildly on their sides with their heads above the water, frantic circles before going quiet.

Not a whole lotta boat traffic, only issue was a ferry coming into a science center somewhere above Yonkers. I didn’t know how it would swing in to dock so rather than risk being in the way I took shelter behind what I’m guessing was a single use plastic display. When in doubt, look for something-a buoy, another boat, whatever, to hide behind!

My final destination sorta changed to about three miles or so below my original destination. Instead of Peekskill I found myself in the wonderful home of John Vargo in Verplank. He has a magazine, “Boating on the Hudson and Beyond” that is a wonderful celebration of the river, the folks that live on it and play on it, and the adventures that can be had on it.

He told me of a place I hafta duck into to check out-right after the Bear Mountain Bridge-the Popopolopin Creek. Apparently at the end of this creek is a beautiful waterfall and a pool called “hell hole.” Definitely need to come back with the family and check it out!

Better scramble now to get ready for this day!


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