Twenty years ago, four friends with an abiding love of the Hudson River and its history stepped away from their families and their work to travel up the river in a homemade strip-planked canoe to experience the river on its most intimate terms. The team set off from Liberty State Park in New Jersey and completed the adventure nine days later just below Albany where one of the paddlers lived. They began with no itinerary and no pre-arranged lodging or shore support. There were no cell phones. The journey deepened their appreciation for the river and its many moods, the people who live and work beside the river and the importance of friendship in sustaining our lives.
Please join us vicariously on this excellent adventure. We'll be posting every Friday for the next several weeks, so stay tuned! Follow the adventure here.
We got up and out of our tents at 6:00 AM and fixed some oatmeal for breakfast. We busted out a new oatmeal carton so that we could get to the apple cinnamon packages. We broke camp and launched the canoe at 7:30. Just as we paddled past the north end of the island, two herons appeared having resumed their duties as island sentries. A flock of cormorants perched on a buoy observed our departure in silence. We waved to two campers on the east bank fishing for breakfast as the smoke from their campfire curled downward toward our canoe. After passing below Mills Mansion, we set our course for the picturesque Esopus Meadows Lighthouse. As we approached the lighthouse, we observed scaffolding and a “Save the Lighthouse” sign. Built in 1871, it was placed near the middle of the river to guide mariners away from shallow water extending all the way toward the west shore. The lighthouse was built above a round stone caisson on wooden pilings. Decades after it was built, it was hit by a ship. The integrity of the caisson was compromised causing a significant tilt and continuing dilemmas for maintenance and preservation.
The river makes a significant bend toward the east here. We cut back across the main channel of the river toward Sturgeon Point on the east shore in an attempt to shorten the distance to Kingston. The 1913 lighthouse at the mouth of the Rondout became our new heading and we again crossed the river diagonally to enter the creek. It was high tide as we paddled up the creek and tied up to a dock on the Strand just in front of the sloop Clearwater. After resting, we proceeded to Joe’s marina in Connelly where we tied up for the night. The weather report for tomorrow was ominous.
Disappointed at how short this one is? So are we! So don't forget to join us again next Friday for Day 7 of the trip. (it's a doozy!)
Muddy Paddle’s love of the Hudson River goes back to childhood when he brought dead fish home, boarded foreign freighters to learn how they operated and wandered along the river shore in search of the river’s history. He has traveled the river often, aboard tugboats, sailing vessels large and small and canoes. The account of this trip was kept in a small illustrated journal kept dry within a sealed plastic bag. The illustrations accompanying this account were prepared by the author.
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