Hackensack River Canoe &
It All Works Out
by Bob Rancan
Saturday, April 20, 2013
It can get discouraging. I always thought of April as a wet month, with thawing ponds and groundwater and April showers. Most of that water winds up coursing down our brooks, streams and rivers. So far this year things haven’t been running so good. After a series of low water trips on the Flat Brook (3/30), Shepaug and Bantam Rivers, I kept checking the USGS gauge at Blairstown hoping the rain that had brought the Paulinskill up some the week before would keep it at a decent level for our Saturday trip. The weather forecast even seemed promising (who else but paddlers and farmers root for rain?) but didn’t deliver. By midnight Wednesday the river dropped to 185 cubic feet per second (cfs); midnight Thursday – 177cfs; Thursday 11PM – 168cfs and all Friday afternoon and into early evening -160cfs. Then, just as Noah must have wondered why he cut all that lumber and I considered moving the trip it started to rain. By midnight Saturday the gauge was reading 2.07 or 208cfs. Before I left home the 8:15AM reading had it climbing to 2.27 or 316cfs. At our start time after 11AM it was 2.35, 368cfs and we ran the seven and a half miles from Stillwater to Blairstown at a very nice and steady level of 2.36, 374cfs. I was never worried.
By the way, we had a great group and a good day. Twelve solo paddlers in 7 canoes and 5 kayaks did not find any downed tree problems and all handled the fast drop of the Marksboro rapid with aplomb. The yellow warbler, phoebes, yellow-rumped warblers, basking turtles, the turkey we spooked and the garter snake in the grass at lunch were bonuses. And we even employed a throw rope to reel in a water logged kayak. Stuffing that long wet rope back in the bag is quite a pain.
Thanks to the fearless crew: Henry D., Chris M. Mark and Mikhael G., Tom B., Al G., Mary D. and John P., Ben H., Mark D., and Bruce D.