Monday, September 01, 2014

Hudson River Paddle Part 8: Day 3 On the River - Tivoli to Norrie Point

Southbound at 8 am. Kingston-Rhinecliff Bridge in the distance.

Day 3 was a lovely short one, and after two very long days on the river (for my NYC-area friends, imagine doing a Manhattan circumnavigation and then waking up the next morning and doing it again) I was absolutely tickled when I consulted my chart book prior to setting out and discovered that my Tivoli-area campsite and Esopus Island, the destination of the day, were on adjacent charts on the same page.
Broke out the bandages. Expected them to be off after an hour of paddling but Nexcare waterproof bandages turned out to kick lemu - these stayed on all day! 

Here's the journal entry from the day - as usual, "hindsight" notes in italics, and click on any photo for a better view:

Wonderful day today. Much shorter distance, plus I got up and on the water a little earlier,  which meant a little more time for poking around and looking at stuff. I went into South Tivoli Bay, so strange seeing it all green and filled with that awful water chestnut when last time I saw it was my iceboating trip! I took a picture of the little island for Bowsprite, am going to share it with her with a note saying, "Isn't this where the wreck of the Galatea happened?"

I'm camped on Esopus Island tonight. There's a whole flock of little doves flying around finding roosts for the night - the calm is intermittently broken by their whistling flight. Most of them have settled into a little stand of pines but a few are still looking for the perfect spot.

Anyways -- I also popped up into Rondout Creek to see if Tim (an old friend from my Pier 63 days, and owner and skipper of the historic tug Cornell) was around...

A flock of geese just landed to the north of the island -- shoot, I suppose I'll scare them off if I go get my headlamp (the sun was setting and my headlamp was in my boat, which was up near where I'd just heard the geese arrive - I went and got it quietly and managed not to disturb them, although I did send a few startled doves whirring off to find yet another spot)...

Tim wasn't around, but Cornell was, plus Augie and Gowanus Bay, plus another very old tug that looks like she's getting some TLC from Tim and friends - going to need a lot, though, she's a handsome old thing but her hull looks like lace in spots.

Cornell and Augie

Gowanus Bay

(Sue?) Ann Conners. From my low angle I couldn't see the first bit of the nameboard.

Gowanus Bay and Ms. Conners' side

Cornell again, on my way back out

I'm also stopping at EVERY lighthouse along the way!

Rondout Light

Esopus Meadows Light - The "Maid of the Meadows", last of the wooden lighthouses on the Hudson

Dinner was in Hyde Park with local friends Ralph, Donna and Susan (see long note below). 

Now back on Esopus Island, where the geese and the doves have settled down and the tree frogs are raising the roof!

Loved the slanted stones and twisted trunks that formed the eastern shore of the Hudson as I approached Norrie Point

Esopus Island camp. Camping here was one of the best pieces of advice my friends at Yonkers gave me; the official Watertrail campsite is at Norrie Point but Jack and Pat said it's a pretty long walk from where you take out to the campground. Esopus Island is clearly a locally accepted campground - there's a big, flat, open space at the north end of the island with a nice stone fire ring flanked by two picnic tables. A young couple paddled by and said hi right around sunset - they said they wished they were camping too!

And then there was the moment I turned around and discovered that I was under the keen observation of the Ninja of Norrie! :D

Weather continues to cooperate - it was supposed to POUR but it only drizzled, mostly (meanwhile, the town of Islip on Long Island received something crazy like 12 inches in an hour!!!!). More fine paddling weather. I'm so glad August isn't acting like August!

Another shot of the Maid of the Meadows

That's the end of the journal entry. Additional recollections and notes: Ralph and Donna are old kayaking friends who moved to the area from NYC after retirement; they were among the first wave of the NYC kayakers, who mostly started out paddling folding kayaks, many purchased from the old Klepper store in Union Square. There wasn't much on-water boat storage back then and access was largely of the "commando" variety, with folks who owned these folding boats toting them to spots on the river where it was possible - if not necessarily legal - to put them together and launch. We've come a long way, baby! There were some wild stories from those days. Ralph ended up writing a book for folding kayakers, The Complete Folding Kayaker, which continues to be popular. Susan is a professor at Bard College who I met after I noticed a postcard with a photo of a sea kayaker on it on an editor's desk at the office; I was headed for my desk one morning and did an absolutely classic double take as the image sank in a moment after I'd walked past. It turned out to be for an intriguing-sounding book called My Reach: A Hudson River Memoir, which had just been published at the time. I asked on the NYCKayaker email list if anyone had heard about it and it turned out that Susan was on the list - she introduced herself and told us about some readings, one of which I ended up going to. Marvelous book! Such a treat seeing all three of them, and introducing Susan to Donna and Ralph was fun.

I didn't mention this in the journal but the way dinner worked out was that I set up camp on Esopus Island, then paddled my considerably lightened boat over to the Norrie Point Marina. The dockmaster there was very welcoming, had me leave my boat on a dock by his office so he could keep an eye on it, and then pointed me to the shower & restroom building so I could clean myself up and charge my doohickies (camera, phone, radio). Very convenient, and a hot shower felt really good at this point.

Only downer of the day was that this was the day that the paddle I made at one of the workshops Chris Raab has done at Sebago decided that it liked this voyaging business so much it was going to keep doing it FOREVER. I'd had it tucked under the decklines while I was unloading and it kept getting in the way, so I shoved it up into some bushes where I thought it would be well out of the way of the wakes. Apparently it wasn't, or I hadn't lodged it as securely as I'd thought I had, because it was gone baby gone when I went to retrieve it a little while later.

I literally slept with my euro paddle after that - brought it into the tent every night when I set up my campsite - once the spare was gone, my attitude towards my one remaining paddle was, oh, something like -- This is my paddle! There are many like it but this one is mine! My paddle without me is useless! Without my paddle, I am useless!

'Cause really, I would have been in a pretty embarrassing situation if anything had happened to that one. Sad to lose the first and only piece of paddling gear I'd actually made with my own hands, though. Next time I make a paddle, I'll have to take better care of it.

Google map, Day 3. Actual mileage from Tivoli to Esopus would've been about 15, I added on a few more miles with my sightseeing and it ended up close to 19. So pleasant to have the extra miles be optional.

Note, added quite a while later - Good heavens, this post has been up for one month and it is already the 7th most viewed post in the life-to-date history of this blog. Is this linked somewhere really popular? I would love to know! Thanks! 


Jeffrey Anzevino said...

Did you see the inscriptions on the rocks on esopus island? Turn of the 20th century rock carvings of initials and dates of picnicers from days gone by.

bonnie said...

Missed those - rats. Maybe TQ and I need to go up there for a weekend...

Phil said...

The old tug at Rondout Creek, between "Gowanus Bay" and "Cornell" is the "Elise Ann Conners" built 1881.

bonnie said...

Thank you Phil! Glad to finally find that out. Even older than Pegasus!

bonnie said...

NY Times had a very interesting article featuring the Elise Ann Conners a decade ago - click here to read.