Hackensack River Canoe & Kayak Club

paddling for over a third of a century

Wallkill River
by Martin W.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Hello HRCKC members;

Welcome to the domain of the HRCKC's Paddlin' Popsicles. On Sunday, January 6th three hardy (or is it fool-hardy) members set out on a winter's paddle down the mighty Wallkill River in Sussex County, NJ. Those intrepid paddlers consisted of Ted Clancy, Ron Kleiman and myself who braved the bitter cold, icebergs, gale force winds and 7 feet of snow along with the usual arctic locusts, Viking zombie raiding parties and three day old Chinese food,

Ok.... it wasn't that cold - maybe around 40 for the high, blue sky, bright sun, no Viking Zombies (but something close...a couple of teens texting on cell phones), ice and snow along the shoreline and in the coves and little wind - a perfect day. The water was cold but still flowing and what blow-downs we encountered were easily navigated around and under so we never had to actually get out of the boats. Saw a bunch of Red Tailed hawks, a few muskrats, beaver dams and lodges galore, cardinals, tremendous numbers of Canada geese, ducks and quite a few Herons.

The hardest part of the trip was getting out of the boats at our lunch stop at Basset's Bridge due to the shore ice. Could have used a set of ice crampons...

Running the "Rapid" was brief but a bit wet, There was a nice little standing wave which offered a lap full of water for us plowing through. A little further on we came upon the "Redneck Campground" with the usual local yahoos tearing up the place on their ATVs.

A half mile later we came to the end of our winter expedition, loaded the boats and headed home - but I did stop at Neil's Sports Emporium to BS with Neil - but he had about 7-8 X-ski customers which kept him very busy. I did get some funny looks by the customers when I came in wearing my drysuit. Gee wiz, what did they expect.... Gadzooks, I wasn't wearing anything that any other self-respecting ice paddler wouldn't be wearing....