Beattystown to Hampton
by Bob Rancan
Saturday, November 19, 2011
Big crowd. That's what I found when I arrived at Hampton Town Park on Saturday morning, November 19th. It was the second weekend of the annual Lake Hopatcong drawdown and a good amount of rain during the week had necessitated an even bigger release (155cfs) flowing into the river, which along with increased flow in the rest of the watershed had the gauge at Bloomsbury registering 2.50 (457cfs). Good water, cool but sunny weather.
Chris Meyers had a trip posted on the Mohawk Club site for the same time, same place. We spoke and thought of coordinating our efforts depending upon if the crowd was small, how many folks held dual memberships, etc. As it turned out, there was a lot full of cars and 28, 29 paddlers. Five or six were independent and intended to do a shorter stretch of fast water with more time to play and the rest split evenly between the two Clubs. Because I refused to offer any stipend to one of the dual members to join us, we went with 11 boats (6 canoes, 5 kayaks) to Mohawks' 12. With the river running on the high side, we drove up about 11 miles to put in at Kings Highway in Beattystown. Chris started about a mile upriver at Newburgh Road. The plan was for a joint lunch stop but that never worked out.
The trip went well. The good level made the river fast and there weren't the usual low, scratchy spots. Almost half of us carried around one big oak that lay across the river while the others were able to sneak under, despite the higher water level. Ralph D. spotted a perched Cooper's Hawk just before the portage/lunch stop at Penwell and there were many Red Tails spotted along with groups of Turkey Vultures and lots of Wood Ducks. And, we even finished before dark, well before dark.
Thanks to Henry D., Martin W., Dave M., Jim, L., Michelle P-K., Ken K., Chris D., Rocco L., Ben H., and Ralph D. We should do this again, real soon.