Thursday, September 04, 2014

Hudson River Paddle Part 10 - Day 5 On the River, Chelsea Yacht Club to Croton Point - Hudson Highlands!

Approaching the Highlands

Journal Entry, again somewhat embellished with more detail: 8/15 - My favorite part of the Hudson today, the Hudson Highlands! Took a million pictures (small selection here, there will be Flickr albums for the full trip later) even though I got off to a late start, because I finally got to meet Dennis and Arlene, my email friends at the Chelsea Yacht Club. 
Like an idiot, I'd forgotten to put their number in my phone, but when I arrived at the club, other members helped me out with the number and I left a message. Unfortunately I didn't get their responses until this morning, funny that my first stay in a house since I left Ithaca was also the first night with no cell reception! Fortunately they were able to come down in the morning and we had a good time meeting - they brought me breakfast biscuits and candy and I kept saying "I really should launch" and then talking for another 20 minutes. Well, one point of doing this solo was to set my own timetable and I really enjoyed meeting them, so why rush off?

Still had some ebb left despite the slow start - was down to Bannerman's Island pretty quickly and the lollygagging continued with a stop for the first two-hundred thirty-seven thousand of the million pix. This was my first up-close visit to Bannerman's ever - the one time I was supposed to go there was on a Manhattan Kayak trip - I was just getting over the flu, and I was supposed to go in a double with a friend, but he wasn't comfortable with the way the big Necky Amaruk sat on his car, and I was wiped out enough that I said I would be perfectly happy to just hang out in Cold Spring for the day, so he switched to a single. I've sailed past the island on schooner deliveries but never had a chance to really stop and admire. For those who aren't familiar with Bannerman's, the island is called Pollepel Island on the charts, but most people call it Bannerman's after the Scottish immigrant who built the "castle" that still stands there today (although in ruins) as an armory for his military surplus business. Great article in the Hudson River Watertrail Guide, or visit for lots more info, including how to sign up for a tour of the place. As you can see, though, Mr. Bannerman was a whimsical builder, this must have been quite a place to be invited to back in the day. 

Moving on down to Cold Spring, I found two visitors from the maritime museum on Lake Champlain, the C.L. Churchill and the Lois McLure (I had left blanks for the names in the journal, with a note that I'd forgotten the names but would be able to get them from my photos, which I did).

Cold Spring, West Point - such a stunning piece of the river where the water flings itself through a dramatic double bend. Storm King, Breakneck Ridge, World's End - love the names. 
Breakneck Ridge - there's a nice hike up this ridge, TQ and I did it as one of our annual Escape from Black Friday hikes a few years ago and it was a good one.

West Point

Paid for all the sightseeing with a long hard slog across Haverstraw Bay, lost the current again and the wind picked up in just the direction the Romany hates (I will whine about either one, that's a kayaker's right, but I would pick a plain old headwind over a quartering tailwind any day). Loaded the way she is, she's very headstrong, so rather than fight it we basically tacked down to the Croton Point campsite.

I was a little ticked off when I got there, stupid people had evidently been using the Watertrail campsite as a drinking spot, which would've been fine except that they didn't pick up and there was a lot of crap around (including a container of some really disgusting-looking orange liquid - scary). 

I did a little picking up before I set up camp, I'd picked up some trash on Esopus Island where it had first occurred to me that leaving my campsites better than I found them would be even better than just leaving them as I found them, but it was a lot more rewarding there because that one was pretty well cared for, the trash was mostly of the bottle caps and bits of paper variety, things that are easy to drop without noticing during a campfire - ten minutes of picking up and I was running out of stuff to pick up. This one, I barely made a dent. Note - I think I was crabby from the mileage, I hadn't actually realized it but at around 32 miles, this had been my longest day - when I woke up the next morning it somehow didn't look quite as trashed. Weirdest thing was where somebody had bagged up their trash and then just left it - what, you think the Croton Point Maid Service is going to come clean up after you? Sheesh. I did take the smaller bag up to a garbage bin - smelled like something dead in there but I didn't realize that until I'd picked it up and at that point I figured I would just hold my nose and get rid of it.

Dinner is pasta with sauteed squash, onions, sausage and cheese again - I thought I was going to do the dried scallop congee I'd planned for one meal tonight but I also thought I would be stopping to say hello to Bill at the Annsville Creek Paddlesport Center (and maybe buy the cheapest paddle they had in stock for a spare) and the idea was that I was going to start the scallops soaking there - except that I got there fifteen minutes after they'd closed - a gentleman who'd just come out from under the railroad trestle that leads from the creek out the river told me that they'd just been locking the doors when he launched (figured out when I got home that Bill runs tours out of the Norrie Point Marina facility on Fridays so he must shut down Annsville Creek to go do that). With no one to visit with there, I decided to skip unpacking to get to the scallops and just move on - pasta's easy, fast and perfectly tasty. Good call since it did end up being a bit of a slog to get here. Was getting cranky across Haverstraw Bay but cheered up once I hit Potato Rock (another fun name) and started looking for the campsite. 

Speaking of names, I almost forgot, my chartbook came in handy at Annsville Creek - a gentleman there asked if I knew if the cove just north of Indian Point was call Lents Cove. I didn't know off the top of my head but we looked at the book and there it was, Lents Cove. Turned out that his name is Lent and the cove is named after his family, who'd come to the area in the 1600's and settled there. Neat to be able to help him out.

Bedtime now - good dinner and a little wine after a long day, I'm pooped.

Yonkers tomorrow - I can see the Tappan Zee Bridge from here (woohoo!) so if the crazy winds of Croton that Susan warned me about don't get me, I'm hoping for a short day.

PS - Is it still "roughing it" if you had hot showers 3 days in a row?  

Google map, Day 5 - Chelsea Yacht Club to Croton Point, 32 miles


JP said...

What a great trip! The Hudson looks like a remarkably scenic plus interesting river to kayak down.

bonnie said...

Hey, a whole school of painters can't be wrong, right?

It was an excellent trip and I'm having a lot of fun doing these reports, I'm actually learning more about each section as I write them up, because I get curious about things and go look them up.

Moonstruck said...

Great sail from Chelsea to Bann3erman's Island. Ride the ebb, anchor and have lunch and a swim, then ride the flood back.If the wind is SW then a six mile spinnaker run... Fun!!!

bonnie said...

That sounds GREAT! Love the Highlands.

Just stumbled across some werther's candies in my purse today. Yummy.

Chris Hoppe said...

7 of us camped at the Croton Point Watertrail Site on Saturday night 9/13/2014. We spent an hour picking up garbage (including the bag in your photo) and clearing the beach above the high tide mark of logs. It is a much nicer site now. We were able to fit 3 2-person tents and a single on the sand above the tide.

bonnie said...

Nice work! I'd tried to pick the black one up but it was pretty heavy and I stuck with the smaller stuff.