Hudson River lengthThe Hudson River Length
The first blows were unpleasant, and the nostrils of our rented boat moved for a while across the middle length, while I headed unsteadily around the estuary of Catskill Creek and into the flow to New York City. If a river flows by the building, I want to take it with me.
So, what about the Hudson, the giant waving thing most New Yorkers overlook? Also, the pictures in my mind were irresistible: me in a small paddle boat, going home from the far northern side, down at last the long and hard currents under the George Washington Bridge and the western side of Manhattan; to the western side the palisades, with the shades thrown over the waters in the evening by the hot summer daylight over New Jersey; to the eastern side the commuter train along the western side of the Highway towards the Bronx.
It' s possible to do that, I have learnt deerskin or not, but for me it hasn't worked quite as well, because there were difficulties to reconcile the pictures with my ambitions, to paddle only one week-end long and the logistic, such a trip with rusted abilities and, which is crucial, to undertake without canoeing.
None, Mr Cronin added, has the Hudson a horribly roaring waterfront civilization that would stimulate exactly the kind of effort I had suggested. At the end, he suggested the Catskill area, where the river is quiet and broad and attractive in landscape, can usually be crossed by boat without the risk of the winds emanating from white caps or vessels that stir up a menacing trail, and with reasonably available facilities on land.
Lower Hudson, Mr Cronin repeated, is ideal for canoing, but canoers don't use it often. In any case, he didn't know where I could hire a kayak and nobody else I could talk to. Hire paddle boats on the Hudson River, way north-west via Albany in the Adirondacks, where white water lovers are tempted by a 14 mile lock between the Indian and Boreas Rivers, known as Hudson Canyon.
On the Delaware in the south-west you can hire canoeing, but none of the equipment I phoned was willing to take a boat to the Catskills for several lessons, and I didn't even ask if they would let me do it myself. A shipyard in Catskill was willing to buy me a new aluminium boat for $700 and then buy it back after the voyage for $500.
However, for a journey like mine I was told that an aluminium ship would be about as luxurious and supple as a bath tub. At the end I was fortunately able to rent a kayak and it was a beaut. We equipped ourselves -- buoyancy aids, canoes, watertight luggage containers and card coverings -- at Cold Brook Canoes, a car park in Boiceville, N.Y., about 16 leagues from the highway, where the owner Ernie Gardner wouldn't let us go without being sure we knew what we were doing (we were lying a little), and without proposing that we should be paying 25 dollars to join the Hudson River Waterway Association, a group of boatmen and environmental activists who called the river a
The Hudson River Waterway Guide, a kilometre-long guide to the places of interest on the river between Troy and the battery, along with proposals for places to relax, go swimming, camping or storing your boat for the nights while you are looking for amote.
An explorer by the name of Peter Lourie canoeed the 315-mile stretch of the Hudson from Lake Tear of the Clouds on the slopes of Mount Marcy in the Adirondacks to the battery in 1990 and written a volume about it, ''River of Mountains'' (Syracuse University Press, 1995). The north half is a real river with a powerful current," Mr Lourie said about the Hudson, "but the lower half is tides, a Levian branch of the ocean, an outlet, a sunk river from the glacial era, not a regular river at all.
The Hudson descends almost 4,300 ft in the first 165 mile from Lake Tear to Albany. The Hudson only falls a meter from Albany to Manhattan for another 150 mile. Explaining why Mr Lourie had a leader in the north and why he could canoe the lower Hudson alone.
It is broad, basically quiet, directly tradeable. Nevertheless, it must have been quite a prey, mainly because of the Atlantic tide, which reaches beyond Albany. They are fighting the generally slow-flowing currents to the extent that Craig Poole, chairman of the Waterways Council, said in the guideline that it would take month to get to Manhattan.
'' Every eight mile the tribe was borne with the currents and low tides downstream, he continued: "The tides could push it up to seven and a half mile. The name of the river in India - Muhheakunnuk - is interpreted by Mr Poole as'great water in constant motion''.
'' Mr. Lourie's interpretation is "water that runs in both directions". By the way, it is the changing tide that agitates the river bottom sediments that are causing the typical mud-brown colour of the river. Indeed, the river is quite clear today, especially in comparison to the time before the 1972 federal law on safe waters.
A tidal chart, which is available in most yacht harbours and in the navigator, is absolutely necessary. I must have been more or less right; the waters were slowly, but we didn't seem to be combating it. The river was not windless, the river was glazed, and the feeling of constant motion was reassuring, if not intoxicating.
I remained near the reeddy west bank for a while, worked on my J shot and tried to keep in synch with my mate, who worked out her own pace, first on one side of the paddle, then on the other by bending her shoulders. It was ours at that moment, and it was wonderfully calm, the river sloshed almost unnoticeably through the waters.
Only wild animals were seagulls cleaning themselves on the river buoy. A bay in the West - Inbocht Bay, as the chart put it - made us feel for the first in the open sea, and it was encouraging to see a look-ma-no-hands. So we started to wonder how quickly we were on our way, how we could remotely see the maps and the river (after all, there was no kilometre counter on the canoe), how far we could get in a single was.
In our eagerness to take some time off, I guess we might have lost a few things -- some quiet, torrents covered in vegetation and twisting, wild animals in the swamps, exploring some island (the navigator says Magdalen Island, right under Saugerties, contains ruined India and Middens) -- but by noon the journey had become a journey that had become a joy to go on its own, not unlike walking or cycling.
It was a river. Around midday we took a rest and towed the boat to a pebble stretch just off Kingston-Rhinecliff Bridge, where we promptly slept and were woken up an hours later by some rough ripples that washed around the shore as the flood changed.
Our waters clambered to the bank and almost wore the paddle away; our bathcloths got wet. We fought the floods for the remainder of the morning, which was a strange feeling because the river doesn't seem to fall on you. A lot of folks had been telling me before the journey that the river would be so full one week-end, especially on Labor Sunday weekends (which was when we were travelling) that it could be hazardous for a boat.
However, it never did, although there was plenty of river transport, and the mere magnitude of the two ships that happened to us was daunting. This was a meeting place for teenagers at dawn - "a poor element," he said - and the kayak would be gone in the mornings. There, we went to the Hidden Harbor Yacht Club, a privately owned yacht harbour, and had to talk quickly before the commander, Spencer Rohrlick, permitted us to be the first canoeist ever to get out of a row.
I have an attachment to those who like water," the member commented. It was immediately better on the sea, the mornings calm again and the river, for a while, nice calm. With the blessing of a subsequent wind and the trust that one day's experiment gave us, we quickly drove around a river turn characterized by the Esopus Lighthouse, which was constructed in 1837 and reconstructed in 1872 and is now being renovated, for which a shield on the side is a moaning appeal for fund.
However, it was quite cold in the early afternoon and we landed on Esopus Iceland, at the top of another curve in the river known as Crum Elbow. In a bay on the leeward side of the lake, the waters were flat and clean, and the bottom of the river was so dirty that I dropped a boot in it.
It' a beautiful place (only affected by the grey paint on the cliffs of the island), the anchored yachts of the Poughkeepsie Yacht Club are visibly swinging like rocking cradle in the waters on the east bank. Things were a little more thrilling the next day when the winds picked up and the first true ripples appeared in the river.
However, just off the northern side of Poughkeepsie, where two viaducts cross the river, the flood began to move and the ripples that had worked in our favour began to roll. Crawling past the Marist and Vassar college boat houses, we eventually traversed the first of the decommissioned railway bridge and stopped at a city park for a break, where the jets hire licence made a great deal.
I had the first urban experience on my journey. Under Poughkeepsie the east coast of Hudson becomes quite picturesque - a motorway follows the path, and some industry facilities also impair the views - so we traversed the river with a hubristian thrust and searched for the opposite bank, which was indeed more amen.
My thighs were good and tanned at that point, and my mate had to dip a T-shirt in the sea and put it around her face to ward off fainting. There was a railway line following the river bank and there was nothing above it but forest. A city named Milton could make a stop -- there is a wine cellar on the bank, he said -- but the wine cellar was shut down and all that was there was a run-down marina and some propantanks.
A further invite to get out of our Canoo. Next day my associate had a meeting in Manhattan and took the Beacon rail, and it was up to me to collect the vehicle in Catskill, take back Route 9W to collect and drop off the mayoe. I' ll be planning better in the near term, borrowing a second vehicle, planting it downstream and aiming for it.
Maybe I'll just keep my head down the drain. Took a whole morning in one or the other of the cars to return the kayak to its legal owners and take me to the town, long enough to miss my short Hudson trip, which didn't seem so ephemeral anymore.
Find information on places listed in the Hudson River kayaking articles and a choice of other resources for your kayaking itinerary. Provides daily scenic tours by kayak on the lower Hudson River that circumnavigates Manhattan and New York Harbour, as well as week-end excursions on the Hudson North, above Warrensburg.
Rates vary from $19 per passenger for a one-day journey to $25 per passenger for a two-day one. Food is extra. Non-members can travel. Rental: $25 per rental per night, $20 for each extra night (including lifejackets, paddle and paddle for the transport of canoes). One or more nights canoeing on the Hudson River: $75 per passenger for daily excursions; $180 to $300 for several nights, according to the number of people.
Canoeing on the Mohawk River near by is hired every minute, with all necessary equipment: $10 for two persons for up to two lessons, then $3 per lesson. In order to take a kayak to another goal, the price is daily: $30; $20 for the second and $10 for each subsequent one.
Provides white water rafting on the Croton River and one-week excursions in Canada from mid-May to the end of September. Weekends: $100 per week. Weekly excursions: $400 per week. Next week-end of training in CANUU is September 28th and 29th. You can buy boats, sea-sails, book and video cassettes.
Free kayak hire daily: $39.95. Including all necessary gear and transport of the rafts to the Hudson River. Canoeing tours on the Hudson River, from Warrensburg to Lake Lucerne. Canoeing: $80 per passenger, $60 for each extra passenger (including gear and lunch). Also canoeing tours overnight: $100 per passenger, $80 for each extra passenger (including food and equipment).
Canoes are available for hire every night, $25 (including lifevests and gear, but extra cushioning for transport by car). There are also night and full-time canoeing tours on the Hudson River. Excursions: $125 per capita; $90 per capita for two persons; $75 per capita for three persons and $65 per capita for four or more persons.
A retail co-operative offering kayak hire. Non-members per day: $40 per person (maximum $50 for two or more days), including two buoyancy aids, two canoes, and a paddle to carry the boat in your own vehicle. $150 security is needed and a debit or debit cards are needed for renting canoes. "TRANQUIL HYDRO-CANO GUIDE":
The HUDSON RIVER WATERWAY GUIDE is available to members of the Hudson River Waterway Association. river of mountains: a chaoe journay down the hatson,'' by peter lourie. ASSOCIATION AMERICAN association american cannoe, 7432 alban station boulevard, suite B 226, springfield, va. 22150; (703) 451-0141. Provides brochures, movies and video cassettes for waterproofing.