Hackensack River Canoe & Kayak Club

paddling for over a third of a century

Great Swamp
Patterson (Putnam County) New York
by Bob Rancan

Sunday, June 9, 2013

I just love it when I find some moving freshwater within 55 miles of my house that I haven’t paddled before. OK, it wasn’t moving too fast, but the vast wetland known as the Great Swamp in Patterson, NY feeds the East Branch of the Croton River, which flows into the Croton Reservoir near Brewster, NY. This was the first of the great reservoir system that serves NYC.

There had been lots of rain so the swamp was full, as was my trip. My open door, the more- the- merrier policy almost sunk me as I was expecting 27, all but 3 in solo boats. There was some cancellation, balanced by an extra person so we ended up with 25 paddlers in 21 boats. There wasn’t too much trouble figuring where all the cars would go. Special thanks to the Brewster Burger King and A&P for providing such a big parking lot for the meeting place. I hope someone at least bought a cup of coffee.

What else can I report? …a nice sunny day, lots and lots of water (4-5 times the mean flow for that date), new channels and cut-offs everywhere, more tree swallows and red-winged blackbirds than I could count, great blue herons, painted turtles, yellow warblers, some barn swallows, flickers, bullfrogs, a large water snake and rampant poison ivy (everything can’t be perfect). A rare sighting indeed was of the HRCKC Webmaster (see if you can find him in the photos) getting out of the virtual world for a change of pace. Thanks George. Also, thanks to my good friends Henry and George for telling me of their winter forays into the Swamp and making me curious enough to check it out. And the most special thanks go to our guests and Westchester County guides, Karen Villa, Pat Wissell and Laura Twomey, who seemed to know where the dead ends were. Karen even scouted it out the week before, something I never do.


> Photos from Monica Orso
> More photos from Monica
> Photos from Tom Hart