Star Ledger Paddle on the Hudson, July 19, 2003

The Plan

-----Original Message-----
From: Arnie Braeske
Sent: Wednesday, July 16, 2003 1:14 PM
To: Bruce Taterka; Linda Grinbregs; Sharon Russell
Subject: yakker phones

Low tide at Alpine on Saturday will be around 8:15 a.m. I'm thinking we should aim to get the boats in the water by 9:00. On the north end, high tide by Sing Sing and Croton is around 3 p.m., but the water should be slack enough to head back down a bit earlier, if we want to. Should be a good time and very scenic.

-----Original Message-----
From: Bruce Taterka
Sent: Wednesday, July 16, 2003 1:46 PM
To: Arnie Braeske; Linda Grinbregs; Sharon Russell
Subject: RE: yakker phones

This is a pretty ambitious paddling plan. If we push off upriver at 9, we have 6 hours before we can take advantage of the current heading back downriver. That means we're either paddling for 12 hours, or paddling against the tide or on slack water. Also, the wind will likely be from the south, which will have the compound nasty effect of pushing us farther upriver before we turn around and then slowing us down on the way back. You all sure about this?

- BT

From: Arnie Braeske
Sent: Wednesday, July 16, 2003 3:01 PM
To: Bruce Taterka; Linda Grinbregs; Sharon Russell
Subject: RE: yakker phones

Of course I'm not, but Columbus had more to worry about -- like falling off the edge of the earth. Seems to me it's a simple 15 up, 15 back. The Massachusetts trip and the Manhattan circuits were longer and much more strenuous than this is likely to be. There may be wind but I don't guess it will negate the positive effect of the tide: There's been a breeze on most of our Manhattan trips. Also, paddling at slack tide isn't the worst thing in the world. I'm guessing we could make the turnaround in early afternoon, if wanted. Of course there are always unknowns. But if I knew how the trip was going to go, I wouldn't go.

- Arnie

The Trip

-----Original Message-----
From: Sharon Russell
Sent: Monday, July 21, 2003 11:01 PM
To: Bruce Taterka
Subject: FW: Tidal thoughts

Hey Bruce,

Thought I'd forward you some pix that Arnie took, as well as a trip report.

The three of us pushed out from Alpine Boat Basin at about 9:30 a.m. Blue skies, sunshine and smiles all around. The tide was still moving out, at least it appeared to be. We were a little concerned with that as we headed north because the charts we read said the tide was supposed to be heading in at 9:00. We had headwind immediately, not too bad though. Just enough to slow us down, not enough to make us miserable. Enough to be challenging.

We crossed over to the NY side after about a half hour of paddling, hoping the wind would lessen from the cover over and hoping the tide would change as it was supposed to. The wind didn't lessen, the tide didn't change. GASP! We huddled to discuss our options and decided to continue north with hopes of making it to the Tappan Zee bridge before turning back. We realized we would most likely be against the tide on our return, as it was supposed to have turned already. We assumed the tidal chart we read online was incorrect and all we could do was assume it was a few hours off. It was too hard to tell with the wind which way the tide was going.... we knew from the charts that it should have been going north. But it wasn't helping us along any, so we were confused.

Fortunately, all three of us are happy to go with the moment. We were just happy to be on the water and didn't mind changing our plans as conditions warranted. And it was just an absolutely beautiful day. So we continued paddling north with hopes of at least making it to the Tappan Zee bridge.

After four hours of paddling into the wind we decided to cross back over to the Jersey side and head back. The bridge was just a mile or two away, but it didn't seem to be getting any closer. AGHHHH! We headed back screaming, "I'll get you next time!" to the bridge... that made me feel a little better.

Immediately, the paddling was easy. The scenery along the Palisades Cliffs was absolutely amazing. Heading back, the wind was in our favor and so was the tide! We hugged the coast and enjoyed the great scenery. There were some beautiful homes along Sneeds' Landing, which is just north of the Jersey state line. It was a quiet little area, and you could tell that was the norm as we saw a lady walking around her backyard in her birthday suit. She didn't seem to be too bothered by us.

We had already worked hard for the day and looked for a place to eat lunch. I gave Linda some emergency GORP to hold her over until we found a spot. We found a sandy beach area still north of the Jersey state line, but not far from it. We pulled our boats onto shore. I went to use the facilities and while assuming the position, heard the sound of running water (and it wasn't me!) I looked up and straight ahead of me about 40 yards away was a beautiful waterfall.

(It's hard to see the water part but trust me, it was a waterfall down a rock cliff.) The sky was opened above it and so a circle of sunlight was allowed in. I ran back to the launch area screaming that I found our lunch spot and we ate right at the falls. It was so amazing. Made all of our hard work worthwhile. The sun kept us warm there too. A great find... and one I think I could find again...which I plan to do!

We lunched there for about 30 or 40 minutes. A few hikers went by. It was fabulous.

We headed back and continued our slow lazy pace. I paddled the whole way back looking up at the Palisades Cliffs... I just couldn't believe how incredible they were. Plus, I was looking for Eagles and Falcons... I desperately wanted to see one. I must have paddled the last two hours looking straight up. Needless to say, the next day, my arms were not sore at all but my neck hurt for three days.

All in all, a very enjoyable day. Challenging, beautiful, good company, a hidden waterfall. Oh, and a naked chick, in case you're into that. Can't ask for more. :-)

- Sharon

Delaware & Hudson Canoe & Kayak Home