Kayaking on the Hudson

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Hudson River Trip - Day 5

Day 5
We set off into the fog at about 6am.  We could easily make Croton Point by noon, but we need to stop in Peekskill at 9am and wait for some fellow ADK paddlers who are going to join us for the rest of the day.  We arrive early in Peekskill and we wait for Shari and Ellie, as the current dies then changes.  Our long stop means we will be fighting the opposing current the rest of the way.  
The Bear Mountain Bridge is a welcomed site as we paddle toward Peekskill

Crossing Haverstraw Bay takes forever.  The opposing current is full on against us now.  Each stroke burns my arms.  This simple 16 mile paddle has turned into a long, tough slog that will end with 20 miles paddled.
Our kayaks take a break as we cross Haverstraw Bay - the widest part of the Hudson

Jean-Claude lands on the beach with Shari and Ellie.  They need to catch the train back to Peekskill so they can get their cars.  Jean-Claude will stay with their boats until they are all set.  Meanwhile, Russ, Dave and I will go ahead and find the designated campsite that we read about.  

Now the weather is turning.  The river is whipped up into choppy waves.  The wind is blowing and south of us we can see lightening and hear thunder booming down from a pitch black sky.  The wind is blowing north-right in our faces, so it is likely this weather will be on us in less than an hour.  But where is the takeout?  We find only a platform about 8 feet above the water.  Dave climbs up and disappears for what seems like an eternity.  He comes back empty handed.

Russ finds a small trail leading off of a beach.  I follow it up to a road, but find no campsites.  Just then, a park ranger drives up.  I ask him where we can go and he tells me there is a landing site around the bend.  We load up and paddle around the corner where the ranger is waiting to wave us in.  Of course, there is no place to land; nothing but downed trees.  We haul the kayaks up and hike the quarter mile to the campsites.  We all decide the beach was better and no further away, so it’s back in the kayaks to the beach, then unload all of our gear and haul it a quarter mile to the campsites.  The showers that we were looking forward to are no longer in operation.  There are no bathrooms either, just a port-a-john.  
This is the "designated kayak" landing at Croton Point - what a joke!

We haven’t seen Jean-Claude in a long time, but we are sure he will find us eventually, and the thunderstorms have held off.  Russ and Dave hike into town (a 35 minute walk) for Chinese food.  I cook dinner at the campsite and discover that the defunct women’s bathroom is still functional.  There’s no shower, but there are flush toilets.
The small beach was okay for landing, but we had to haul our kayaks up on the logs so they wouldn't float away when the tide came in.

I turn in for bed completely exhausted.  I try to read a little of the book I picked up in Saugerties, but my eyes keep falling shut.  Finally, I give up and go to sleep.  I look at my watch and the time is 7:58 pm.  What was supposed to be our shortest day was by far the toughest day yet.

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