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Up the Hudson I go

June 8, 2011

June 2, Carriage House Marina.

I went for breakfast at a local hangout. I came back to the marina at around 10. Lance and his guys told me I could not leave since the wind was from the north west. Any wind from the north turned the bay into a death trap for small boats and the wind was already steady at 25 miles per hour with steep gusts.

In the afternoon, the wind got a lot worse and it became apparent that I would really have gotten in trouble. My problem was that the wind would come from the north until the tides would make it difficult to make it in a single day. The ebb would be too late and I’d be forced to go through the harbor, the New York Harbor at night. This was too much for me. I simply could not stand being stuck there for an undetermined amount of time.

I decided to continue my trip from Jersey City. I’d keep this crossing for later in the summer. I simply did not have the resources to delay that long and I was not going to risk my life at this point. I don’t mind taking some risks but this would have been irresponsible.

It’s perhaps a little childish since I don’t have to do any of this but I am still extremely peeved by this turn of events. I was looking forward to a proper passage but those five miles will have to wait.

June 4, Croton Island NY

At 5 am I rose from deep sleep. I could feel the gravel under my tent. I was in the Liberty Harbor Marina Campground. The campground is a huge parking lot. In a funny reminder of the original purpose of the asphalt enclosure, the camping sites are referred to by their original dry storage numbers. It’s a wonder to find a campground at all in Jersey City. It’s right next to the Path train, it overlooks downtown and the Statue of Liberty.

My challenge that morning was to get the kayak back into the water. The water was a good ten feet from the ledge of the basin. I used the gas dock staircase to lower everything. Fortunately no one pumps gas so early in the morning.

The low tide was at 5 am. I left the dock at 6: 20. It was already obvious that the water had risen. It was theoretically flooding. Truth is, I still had a stiff current against me. I was moving less than a mile per hour. My level of disgust was so elevated that I had thoughts of calling it quits and taking a plane. At 9 am, I was at Pier 73, less than 2 miles from my starting point. My campground was another 30 miles away.

I stopped at a marina next to pier 73, and talked to some guys there. The first one was a pissy Italian citizen wearing a night robe. He was standing with his radio at hand on the stairs of his small sailboat. He gave me quite a bit of shit for stopping at the marina without proper authorizations. He called me all sorts of things including irresponsible for not having my radio at hand. The marina was a tiny one with maybe 30 boats no larger than 40 feet so I had not felt it necessary to follow such protocol. Fortunately the dock master did not care one bit about the tantrum and felt pretty much the same way I did. He encouraged me to continue and predicted that the current would change as I approached the George Washington Bridge.

I followed the docks until I got a National Security Announcement that said they’d shoot me and would track down and bury my friends and family alive if I did not move away. They added that the Coast Guard was notified and that they would no doubt me on a rake or water board me or some other unpleasant thing. It was quite fitting to be hear that sort of nonsense in front of the Statue of Liberty.

The current slowed down close to the bridge and soon it started going my way. It felt so good to go forward. The wind was in my face and weak but I was now going 4 miles per hour. I covered the distance to the Tapanzee Bridge in a few hours. The Tapanzee has long marked my way home as I was going over it. It felt the same way going under. I felt like the bulk of my trip was over.

Groton Island is not an island; more like a presqu’ile. The campground is on the other side of it. The paddling trail does not provide the correct point of entry but I managed to find the office.

I never would have thought it possible to reach Groton Island before 7. The wind picked up something fierce after the Tapanzee. This made it possible for me to go against the current. Hopefully I’ll be this lucky every day.

June 5, Beacon

I used the Hudson current to do 22 miles in 5 hours on a windless day. It’s pretty nice to use the flow. The Hudson is now very beautiful. I passed in front of the West Point Military College. A lot of chemical type factories are also on the shores. It made me wonder how healthy the 50 pound sturgeon that jumped five feet in front of my boat must have been.

I camped on a paddle trail designated site. It was a dump. A huge barrel of trash was overflowing all the way to the water.

Some nice people, Kim and Nate, invited me to take a shower at their place. It was nice of them since I think I may have touched poison ivy. One of them, John, took me on his bicycle taxi. Now that’s service.

Beacon is truly a nice city. I really enjoyed its coffee shops and restaurants. I will stop here in the future.

12 Comments
  1. Rene,

    it is good to see that you are surviving. I wish that I would have the time to do the next section with you. I grew up on the Hudson and spent many summers in the Adirondacks. Call me if you are ever back in the lower Chesapeake.

    Paul
    DogsLife…

    • Thanks Paul,
      I feel pretty good about being in Troy right now. I’m week away from Canada!

  2. Mike Cavanaugh permalink

    Rene’ When does it look like you will hit Albany? If possible, we (Alan and I) would like to meet up and show you some local hospitality. I know a place with the best chicken wings and a good beer selection right near the Hudson at the Locks at Troy.

    • What’s your number again? I actually stopped at Troy.

      • Mike Cavanaugh permalink

        518-375-5744 – I will be in Watervliet Friday Morning

      • I get – we are unable to complete your call at this time…. Tried yesteday and today. I’m at the Waterford Welcome Center (Troy).
        Give me a call 954 501 9735

  3. Christy permalink

    Hi Rene’, I work at Fort McAllister State Park in Georgia and have been following your nlog since you left. Your adventures have been very interesting and entertaining! Congtatulations on your progress. Clair and I and the rest of the staff wish you the best of luck! Christy

  4. Christy permalink

    Hi Rene’, I work at Fort McAllister State Park in Georgia and have been following your blog since you left. Your adventures have been very interesting and entertaining! Congtatulations on your progress. Clair and I and the rest of the staff wish you the best of luck! Christy

    • Hi Christy, of course i remember you and Claire! Still peeved that I could not convince you girls to join me on this little trip 😉

    • Hi Christy, of course i remember you and Claire! Still peeved that I could not convince you girls to join me on this little trip 😉

  5. doug permalink

    doesn’t the Hudson current flow against the direction you are going?

    • I was expecting a battle myself but every 6 hours the current goes up for about 6 hours. It’s entirely tidal. It’s counter intuitive but hey, who’s complaining?

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