Hackensack River Canoe & Kayak Club

paddling for over a third of a century

Raritan River Festival
by Monica Orso

Fri-Sun, September 29, 2013

It was a great day for a paddle and festival, not too cool, not too hot. Our group got a late start due to confusion at the put-in when city workers directed one of our paddlers to the wrong parking lot. But we finally launched at low tide and headed east on the Raritan.

There was minimal boat traffic, and a nice assortment of egrets, cormorants, gulls, and herons, some allowing us to get quite close. Due to our late start, we only paddled about 3 miles total, wanting to get back in time to grab a bite to eat and begin construction of our cardboard canoe.

At the festival, we were issued 2 large pieces of cardboard, a roll of tape and a utility knife. Mike K, Bruce D, Jim Mc. and Ted C. began the build, figuring it all out as they went along. Finally, with only minutes to spare, an HRCKC flag was placed on the stern and off to the docks everyone went.

Little Markie (Mike's grandson) was elected pilot... the thing would have sunk immediately with anyone else! Not to say that wasn't still a distinct possibility, but we had faith in our multi layered boat. The race kicked off, some boats sank pretty quickly, and others spun around in circles. One poor little girl kept drifting in the wrong direction and finally had to be corralled by the marine police and a few canoes. I'm sure what was going through her head was: "Why did Mommy and Daddy stick me in a cardboard box and throw me in a river?" But she kept trying. And although Markie tried, there was tough competition to the finish line. But wait! There are awards, and then there are awards! Our boat was honored with "Best Design" thanks to the diligence of our builders. Not a drop of water in the canoe either! The awards ceremony handed little Markie a very big trophy... come to our Oct 1 meeting to get a glimpse of it.

With the canoe race over, the big event remaining was the Rubber Ducky race for charity. Winds and tide delayed the race for about 45 minutes, but finally they dropped from their giant egg-on-a-crane. The duckies were indeed slow in getting to their destination. A cool drone hovered about taking pictures. Finally 3 duckies crossed the finish line, but sadly no HRCKC member won any of the prizes. Most of the duckies wound up being very confused and going in the wrong direction. Such is the life of a duck with only air in it's head.

It was a fun day in the mostly sun, and thanks to our building team for a winning design!