Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Hudson River Paddle Part 9: Day 4 On the River - Norrie Point to the Chelsea Yacht Club

Oh what a beautiful morning! Trusty Romany ready to go at Esopus Island.

So for my NYC friends who are confused about how I got to Chelsea that fast, that's Chelsea-on-Hudson, not Chelsea the Manhattan neighborhood! And to confuse things even more, I had actually made it to Red Hook the day before and just kept going: 
Red Hook Boat Club

Oh, and as long as I'm going back to Day 3 -- You know how I was being so observant of the wildlife the night before, with the doves and the geese and the froggy chorale that sang me to sleep? I'd mentioned one more critter in a postscript that I missed yesterday and I'll just throw that in now:

"Note: Would someone please tell the daddy longlegs that tents aren't all that neat? They all want to come in, if they're lucky I'll spot them and evict them before I pack up!" What is it about those guys and tents, anyways?

journal doodle - "camping is cool!"

Journal entry for Day 4 was a little on the truncated side but I'll add in the bits I left out - this was the night I'd arranged to ditch my boat with the welcoming folks at the Chelsea Yacht Club and I was writing at my old friend Annmarie's house, where I think I was distracted by seeing newspapers for the first time in a week(that was when I learned about the weeks' dual tragedies, Robin Williams and the events in Ferguson - such sad news, one shocking, one so very sadly unsurprising). On a happier note, once Am finished what she was working on for the day (she works from home and had interrupted herself in the middle of a project to come pick me up) we had some good catching-up to do. Here was the journal entry du jour - again, italics indicate notes added while blogging:

"Cheating" tonight! I paddled to the Chelsea Yacht Club where I ditched my boat and came home with Annmarie. Last night I got taken out for dinner, tonight I'm taking her out, we're going to Farm to Table (a really nice restaurant in the town of Fishkill - I had the ribs and oh were they delicious). I know it's not roughing it but I just don't see Annmarie enough (she's one of the first good friends I made here in NYC and was the one to introduce me to the Irish music that I'm enjoying to this day) and I couldn't paddle past without dropping in.

I had a nice straightforward paddle today - on the water at 8 or a little before after a bit of a walk around Esopus Island. Ate breakfast (2 apples and a Kind Bar) on the water. 

Waning moon, still out in the morning (click on the photo for a better view, as usual) - I'd camped under the full moon on my first night on the trail and then of course there was that gorgeous moonrise at Bronck Island, 2nd night out

Paddled under the Walkway over the Hudson (boy, one of these days I would like to actually walk across it)  

and the Mid-Hudson Bridge -

Past a gravel crusher big enough to be a landmark on the chart -

 Past stately homes (and more of that dreadful water chestnut)-
Made great time until just before New Hamburgh, when I lost the current and the headwind picked up again and it was back to "e.w, e.w., e.w" (remember that from Day 2? effing wind, effing wind, etc.) only without as many punctuations of delight. Ralph and Donna live in this stretch and they were saying it's not quite as interesting as some areas - having done it I can sort of see what he means. It's basically very pretty but except for the Walkway, there aren't as many "sceneenick" (TQ's joking mispronunciation) highlights as there are on other stretches. Great weather though until the wind kicked up, and even then it was still pretty, just those last couple of miles were long!

Released my inner drama nerd to slug through it - "Beyond the Barricades" from Les Mis turns out to be a good paddling hard against the wind and current song, and since I was paddling solo (TQ would ditch me quick if I started belting showtunes in an endurance situation - not his cuppa tea at all, no no no) it didn't matter that I couldn't remember anything but the chorus.

Forgot to mention -- I wasn't sure I was going to be able to paddle at all today, I kept waking up in the middle of the night (on Esopus Island) and hearing what sounded like a gale going on outside. I could never quite bring myself to crawl out from under my warm fleecy blanket to investigate, but I was thinking this might turn out to be the day for the books and the tin whistle I'd brought along to entertain myself if I got a day where I had to stay put. By the time I woke up for real in the morning, it had settled down nicely.

And that was the end of the journal entry - I think that was when Annmarie finished her work and I put it down meaning to finish up later (only we stayed up pretty late talking while she baked a cake for a family reunion that weekend). The piece I left out was actually getting to the Chelsea Yacht Club, which was really nice. As I think I'd mentioned in an earlier post, this had been one of the first things I'd nailed down - there's a member up there who comments here as "Dennis G. Moonstruck", we've exchanged emails and gotten to be internet friends - with a couple of near-misses at actual meetings when he and Mrs. Moonstruck (Arlene) turned out to have been at the exact same place as TQ and I visited the next day. Anyways, when I first decided to do this, and I realized that the Chelsea Yacht Club was very close to Wappinger's Falls, where Am lives, I emailed Dennis about the possibility of leaving the boat there and he came right back saying "Absolutely, we have a safe harbor policy for transient boaters here, you can leave your boat on the beach, you can camp on the lawn if you want, you'd be welcome!", so with that cleared up I checked in with Annmarie and yes, she was going to be around and would be happy to come pick me up. I warned her that I might not smell so good but I said she could strap me to the roof of the car if I was too stinky - she countered with "I have a teenaged nephew who is a Boy Scout and goes camping, you'll be fine". In fact I had just had a shower the day before and although there was a headwind to fight, it was cool enough that I hadn't worked up enough of a sweat to defeat the deodorant, so everything was fine.

The one hitch was that as I'd been loading up my cell phone with contacts for the trip, the ONE number I'd forgotten was Dennis's, but when I arrived at the club the first person I saw, a gentleman who was putting a motorboat into the water at their ramp to work on it, gave me a friendly greeting - I explained who I was and what I was doing and he said "Of course, you can put your boat on the beach over there," I told him about wanting to get in touch with the Moonstrucks and he said there'd be someone who could help me with that at the clubhouse. There were a bunch of members over there who'd just arrived for an afternoon sail, one of them brought me in to see the directory, we called and left a message and then...well, more about that in the next day's journal, when we did finally get to meet! Anyways, the folks who were ther asked me if I needed anything - water, a shower - I said I'd wait to shower at Annmarie's but I did take some cold water and after the slog it was so nice to just sit at one of the picnic tables in the shade, watching the sun sparkling on the water and reading up on what I'd done so far in my Watertrail Guide.

Chart symbol for Chelsea was a little sailboat!

The one thing that I should have checked out but didn't as I was passing through this area was the Payne Boathouse - I could see this big old stone boathouse across the river as I was leaving Esopus Island in the morning, and I was intrigued, but I was also very eager to get to Chelsea, and the river was fairly wide, so I decided to skip crossing over to see, even though it looked like something pretty special - well, next time I'm paddling by up there, I'll have to check it out. Good to keep something new for next time, right?

Oh, and one last interesting bit of trivia that I stumbled across while trying to figure out the story on the big stone boathouse - seems that the most famous Esopus Island camper was Aleister Crowley. Click here for the article where I read that - it's a little confusing in that it makes it sound like the boathouse (they have a nice picture) and a whole monastery were on this little slip of an island, when they're across the river, but they give a shoutout to my friends at Atlantic Kayak Tours, so I'll forgive the confusion!

Google map, Day 4, Esopus Island to Chelsea-on-Hudson - 19 and a half miles.

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