We have to paddle 26 miles today, so we are up at 5:00am and on the water by 6:15am. It is raining lightly, but the air temperature is a nice 70 degrees—not too hot, not too cold. We paddle the next six hours in the rain with only two short breaks. We are soaked and as soon as we stop, we instantly get chilled. Paddling keeps us warm. Visibility is terrible, maybe 2 miles. At least the wind is not too strong and it’s at our backs.
By noon, we’ve covered the 26 miles and reached Highland. The landing at Highland is under construction. There is a big pile of dirt, an old boarded up building and a small, flat patch of scrubby grass that is now under an inch of water. No one is looking forward to camping here. The building has a porch, so we climb up and Dave and I change into dry clothes and rain gear. Russ and Jean-Claude elect to stay in their wet clothes. I am badly chilled and the dry clothes are a welcome relief.
We walk about a half-mile up the hill to the local gas station/Dunkin Donuts/Subway and spend the next few hours eating, and staying dry. At around 3:30pm, we wander out to find the rain has all but stopped. We take a quick walk on the Walkway Over the Hudson, then hike back down to the kayaks. We are well rested and it takes us no time at all to make the decision to push on. Jean-Claude has a friend who offered to let us camp on his lawn and his house is only another 9 miles downriver. Dave and I change back into our wet clothes and we shove off.
|View of the Mid-Hudson Bridge from the Walkway Over the Hudson|
The next 9 miles is an easy paddle at a very relaxed pace. By waiting out the afternoon, we’ve caught the second southerly current for the day. Unfortunately, there is no place to take out when we arrive. We unload all of our gear onto land and carry it, piece by piece to the backyard that will be our camp tonight. After some negotiating, we get permission from the marina down the street to put our kayaks up on their docks. As an added bonus, we get to use their showers! (Our only one this whole trip). It is 9pm by the time we settle into our tents and we are exhausted from paddling over 35 miles in one day.