North Branch Raritan River
Bedminster to North Branch, NJ
by Bob Rancan
Saturday, March 23, 2013
14 Solo Paddlers: 7 Canoes, 7 Kayaks
River level (at Raritan gauge 3.07, 302 cfs)
Clouds and sunshine, Temperature: not that high
It wasn't an ideal early spring day, kind of chilly and the snow that fell earlier in the week probably melted too soon. The water level was just adequate, a bit scratchy but almost par for this hard to catch run. Regardless, a good day for a fun paddle with friends.
We decided not to start up at the Far Hills Fairgrounds because of the lower water level and the probable post-Hurricane Sandy, Irene and Lee debris still in the river (we had not been able to get there in 2012). In the wider and flatter 5-6 miles that we did however, there were no obstructions. The runnable low-head dam had nothing stuck in it so everyone had a nice time dropping over it. A quiet day; only saw a couple of red tailed hawks and wood ducks but near the take-out in North Branch, the Great Blue Heron rookery has expanded to at least 20 nests, and we saw many parents on the nests or perched on adjacent branches.
Thanks to Chris M., Henry D., George C., Al G., Dave M., Tom B., Mike C., Mark & Michael G., Stefan G., Phil S., Mike & Mira G.