Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Hudson River Paddle Part 5 and a half: Charts!

I'd hoped to do the post where I launch tonight, but I came down with a bad case of stuckattheofficeitis and then decided that since I was leaving so late anyways, I would stop by Dempsey's for a pint and a few tunes, so now it's a little late to do a full day's report (and the first day, as I mentioned was a VERY full day). But there was one thing I did to prepare that I hadn't mentioned yet (too busy babbling about eggs and GPS's and who knows what)  and that was charts! Aside from provisions, my main purchase for the trip was a waterproof chart book for the Hudson River. This was actually a really fun thing to get, I love charts and I've already actually done a few trips up and down the Hudson River between NYC and the port of Albany (schooner deliveries back when I was working on the Adirondack) so I found it really interesting to sit down with the book and see what I could match to my recollections of the trip. 

My basic guide was of course the Hudson River Watertrail Guide, which has black and white versions of the same charts with all of the Watertrail info overlaid onto them; it's NOT waterproof so you can't really carry it on deck, but what a lot of people do is copy the charts that they need and carry those in a chart case (or even just a large ziploc bag), but this is bigger and a little clearer and just really, really easy to use. Plus it's just a nice thing to have around - the club occasionally does Hudson River paddles and I've now got charts for anywhere we'd be likely to go. 

What I ended up doing was sitting down with the guide and the chart book one night and copying the campsites I was shooting for into the chart book.

These, for example, were the day 1 possibilities. There were 3 Watertrail campsites within a fairly short distance of each other; first one is Bronck Island - indicated by a little pencilled-in triangle (tent) -

And then there were Gay's Point and Stockport Middle Ground just a couple of miles to the south - these ones had camping and water (actually the island didn't, that was a goof-up because the two are part of the same park - water wasn't a big concern at this point, though, I'd filled all of my containers at Waterford and had more than enough for the first couple of days). 

Each chart with a campsite on it also got a little icon up in the upper right-hand corner so I'd know it was on there. This worked out very nicely.

It was funny, I actually ended up measuring distances by how many charts I was crossing, not how many miles I had to go. 3 charts was a long day. 2 charts was a nice day. Less than 2 full charts was a fantastic break. I think I only had one of those but, oh my gosh, it was after 2 consecutive three-charters and I practically did a little dance when I went to check the next day's distance and discovered that my campsite was on one chart and the next night's was on the very next chart over. Woohoo!

Here was Day 1! As usual, click on any picture for more detail. 

The chart book started at the Troy Lock, Waterford is a couple of miles north there. Here's the piece I was missing, my campsite is circled (just north of Peeble's Island) and so is the Troy Lock. 
The chart book actually runs from NY Harbor UP the Hudson, so I was doing it back to front, right to left. Troy Lock is in the upper right-hand corner of the right-hand chart on Page 24; I did that whole chart, the one on the left, 
turned the page and kept paddling. 
Page 23 - The orange arrow on the right points to the Bronck Island campsite - the one on the left, Gay's Point. 
My experienced friends in Yonkers had actually recommended Gay's Point; they said Bronck Island was actually tricky to find, but for various reasons, I'd gotten a much later start than I'd originally planned, I paddled through the entire flood, and by the time I was approaching the area where the Bronck Island campsite was supposed to be, it was approaching sunset and I was feeling HIGHLY MOTIVATED to find it, and I did. I have never in my whole life been so happy to see an laminated sheet of 8 1/2 x 11 paper tacked to a tree!
So that was Day 1, by the charts. Pictures from the actual paddle tomorrow - but here's one more, one of the reasons I got a late start. I'd taken a sketchpad along with the idea of doing a little drawing along the way. That didn't happen that much, I didn't really end up having that much free time (I'd also brought my tin whistle and a couple of books in case of being stuck in my tent for a day or something, those didn't get touched), but I did take the time to do a quick one before I launched on Monday morning. Grrrr, baby!


Pandabonium said...

Reminds me of my early days of cross country flying and learning to match charts with what I saw from the airplane. But in the airplane the view pretty much matches the map, whereas you are looking at things from the surface - 90° from the view from above - much more difficult.

bonnie said...

That's where the buoys come in! Everything's numbered.

Never would've found the Bronck Island campsite without the Watertrail Guide's instructions that it's about half a mile north of fixed navigation light #169. Once I passed 171, it was time to start looking!