Hackensack River Canoe &
Lake Aeroflex (aka New Wawayanda Lake)
in Kittatinny Valley State Park, Andover, NJ
by Laurie Hagaman
Saturday, June 29, 2013
Trip Coordinators: Laurie &
Written by: Laurie Hagaman (formerly Laurie Cochran. Scott & I were married in early June 2013!)
Days of unpredictable weather preceded our trip, but Saturday morning, we woke to a mix of sun and clouds with NO rain! It was a pleasant morning and 18 paddlers arrived at Lake Aeroflex, which is the deepest natural lake in NJ! Lake Aeroflex has about 4 miles of shoreline, mostly surrounded by Kittatinny Valley State Parkland with several houses along the far, northern and eastern shores. It is a popular fishing spot as it contains bass, pickerel, trout and landlocked salmon and more. Andover-Aeroflex Airport is also located on the grounds here and provides flying lessons and airplane rides through Andover Flight Academy.
There were 15 kayaks and 3 canoes. The following HRCKC members and 1 guest attended: Phil B, Tom D., Herta D., Jean F., Elenore H., Rich H., Frank & Susie L., Marina L., Robyn L., Terri R., Lynn S., Monica O., Martin W., Bev W. and Rosie M., my friend from high school.
A great boat launch area provides easy access to the lake. Only non-motorized and small electric motor boats allowed. Paddlers and anglers can drop off their boats then move cars to a large parking area, which also has a clean comfort station! A picnic area is also available.
HRCKC members enjoyed a 4 mile, leisurely paddle along the perimeter of the lake, spotting birds such as Cormorants, Great Blue Herons, Green Herons, Red-winged blackbirds, Turkey Vultures and several birds that were singing but unidentified. (Where’s Bob Rancan when you need him?) At the north/western end of the lake there is a large Beaver Lodge, well camouflaged by weeds and grasses now, but the beavers did not come out to greet us! Beautiful yellow and white water lilies caught our eye as well as the shore hugging, Arrowroot plant with its tall stalk of purple flowers. Several turtles glistened as they sunbathed themselves on the rocks and logs but scooted off into the water when we got too close. Colorful Dragon and Damselflies flew happily about resting on our boats when they had the chance. Along the western shore, you can see people hiking the trails of Kittatinny Valley State Park (located off Goodale Rd.) A great place to walk, hike trails, picnic or walk your dog. They have a nice Nature Center and host many free events and nature related programs.
Fisherman told us their catch included bass, pickerel and even a salmon.
Small planes, including a bright yellow Bi-Plane, entertained us by flying closely overhead, practicing their take-off and landings! It was interesting to watch and several members commented they were happy that the planes landed safely on the runway and NOT the water!
The sun was shining, water was refreshingly cool and the occasional breeze made for a nice day on the water.
Back at the boat launch, Herta passed out some HRCKC brochures to curious & inquisitive park goers! Good job Herta!
Afterwards, Scott & I hosted a BBQ lunch at our home, just a few minutes away on Lake Lenape. It was funny to see the neighbor’s heads turning, as they saw about 15 cars with kayaks and/or canoes, caravanning up our narrow lake road!
Thank you to everyone who brought some delicious food and drinks to share!
It was a nice day with the friendly members of HRCKC!
A few local links I thought you might be interested in: