Hackensack River Canoe &
Haverstraw on the Hudson
by Betty Wiest
Sunday, September 20, 2009
It looks as though there are always people who will go paddling at the drop of a hat. In this instance the word went out about 5 p.m. on Saturday for a trip the following morning. Within a short time emails or phone calls generated interest from five members…George, Steven, Lori, Andy and Allen (who did not paddle). The weather forecasters predicted a perfect day. And it was!
Because I had participated in a waterway clean-up day in Haverstraw earlier in the week, and had paddled out of the Haverstraw Bay County Park several years ago, I keyed into this location or our Sunday outing. It’s a little over a half hour’s drive from Ridgewood.
This is a beautiful park with picnic areas, children’s playground, a 911 Memorial Park and the launch ramp. And, yes, clean restrooms.
Although we all started out with light-weight jackets, the temperature climbed so that short-sleeved T-shirts under our PFD's was adequate.
The Hudson River was quite calm when we departed at 9 a.m.. It had a very lake-like quality. By the time we returned there was a good bit of river traffic that generated continuous rolling swells.
So what was the major attraction? For me it was to revisit heads carved in red sandstone that a craftsman had placed in a stone wall along the water’s edge of his property just beyond the Tilcon plant in Haverstraw. Ted Ludwiczak, a native of Poland, has over 250 carved heads placed everywhere on his property. Years ago he was written up in the NY Times.
From there we paddled further south, our new destination water buoy #21. Before we got to the buoy though, George Hewitt with his eagle eye, spotted a large boulder in the water with the following inscription, “ANDRE THE SPY LANDED HERE SEPTEMBER 21, l780”. Hmmmm, we were a day early for the anniversary celebration. Have to do a little research on this.
We found a small sandy beach where we landed for a quick snack and a little exploration. At one time this was the site of two stone buildings and several cement picnic tables…now all was in ruin. It was a pleasant enough respite save for the large quantity of open garbage bags that had clearly been there for some time. This is one cleanup that needs to happen!
We continued on to the buoy, our turn-around point. Ever intrepid, George once again proved his Boy Scout leader exploration skills and expertly got out of his kayak to climb the rocks supporting the obelisk-type buoy. The only transients were the numerous cormorants that made it their home.
As we made our return trip, we passed by a series of four connected relic barges. The configuration created three triangle openings which everyone had fun paddling through.
By now the river had become riddled with rolling water adding to
the excitement of the trip. Part of our group headed home. George and I finished
our trip to the nearby marina (he has a friend who had a boat docked there). And
I got some more great pictures.
To be sure, we’ll be back for a return visit.