Hackensack River Canoe & Kayak Club

paddling for over a third of a century

The Ramapo River Claims its Annual Victims
by Harris Reinstein

Saturday, March 16, 2013

We met at the usual put in at the Trail Conference office building on Rt 202 in Mahwah. We had seven canoes and eight paddlers. Everyone was ready for what the Ramapo River had to offer, however... today was not going to be different than years past. We could not have expected what we encountered later in the morning and into the afternoon that day.

We drove the cars to the takeout at the ball field in Oakland and returned to Mahwah to begin our annual journey down the river. The water was at a good level, not too high and not too low. There was enough water flow to make the current tricky at the usual spots and blow downs made it even more difficult. The air temperature was approximately 36 degrees, however, everyone was appropriately dressed.

It only took an hour before the river claimed it’s first victims of the day. A tree protruding from the bank almost took our tandem paddler’s heads right off. It must have been those damn Mingos that set that tree up in just the right position to do the maximum amount of harm. If you are not familiar with the Mingos, read some of Fat Elmo’s stories.

Unfortunately, our tandem paddlers didn’t last the day. We left them at Ramapo College. I hope the Mingos didn’t follow them or they would be finished. The rest of us paddled on and as luck would have it, snow started to come down about 1:00 PM. It got heavy for a while.

The good new is that Mingos don’t tolerate snow very well so we didn’t have to worry about them again for the day. Lunch was at the usual spot (the first dam). We notices that a funeral fire pit had been prepared. Those Mingos must have expected visitors. Further down the river we saw the work that was done by the town of Oakland to stop the erosion. Even the township was fighting the Mingos.

That part of the river had been improved since last year and we went right through with no trouble. It wasn’t even 3:00 PM when we arrived at the ball field. We loaded up our boats and went home. Unfortunately, it was too early for dinner so we didn’t get to stop and eat. Food at the end of a trip always tastes better.