Hackensack River Canoe & Kayak Club

paddling for over a third of a century

Rockaway River
by Dave Miller

Sunday, January 16, 2011

What can we say about THIS trip?

You all should have been there? Nahh.
You are all lucky you weren't there? Nahh
I would say the theme was: Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

It wouldn't have been for everyone but it was still enjoyable (Just different.)

Dave & Matt paddled the Rockaway River yesterday (Sun 16th.)
We took a chance the river would be flowing enough and not be impassable due to ice.
(I know: 2-double negatives.)

It was pretty scenery, if you ignored the faint hum of local traffic you enjoyed a nice moving water paddle with winterscape scenery.
As the waves from your boat's wake hit the sides of the river you could hear the loud cracks of the ice reacting to your presence.
You could imagine paddling in a frozen Margarita, with that chucky sugary stuff around the edges of the glass.

I used my old beat up paddle as a means of pushing off solid ice. Matt pointed out that two trekking poles telescoped in the short position would have worked well to push along with.

There were a lot of ducks around and if Bob Rancan could translate all their quacking the message would have been: What were you guys thinking?

After paddling for a half hour or so it soon began to feel like the Adirondacks (Doing carries across frozen sections of the river.)
Some of the shallow river bends were frozen solid enough to walk across, then slide your canoe back into the liquid part of the river.

Some decisions had to be made, push across the ice, stand up and hopefully the ice supports you until you walk to clear water again, or climb up the side onto land and slide your boat on the snow then put in again.

Regardless, we eventually came to the section by St Clare's hospital parking lot where I began to feel like George Shakelton (The Explorer who's ship and men became icebound near the south pole.)

The difference was we had a cell phone and called my wife Claire who came and picked us up in the parking lot then drove us to our car/truck.

She was having a flashback from when I called her from Yankee Stadium that time to come pick me up. "Oh 1st - - could you drive to Jersey City and get the van with the roof racks, then come to Yankee stadium?"

So yesterday's bail out was much tamer in nature.

Well, I wish there were pictures - they would have been pretty interesting.
But the paddling itself was very beautiful and worth the effort I think.

After the shuttle and getting all our stuff together, Matt decided to put back into another part of the river and do another 1/2 hr or so of paddling.

Gotta respect someone who never gives up!