Hackensack River Canoe & Kayak Club

paddling for over a third of a century

The Ramapo River
With A Side Trip To A Cemetery
by Stan Laser

Thursday, August 6, 2009
Trip Coordinator: John Franzetti

The Ramapo is a quirky and winding river with lots of surprises. This was a midweek trip on a Thursday. A good opportunity for people on vacation, unemployed, retired, or those with flexible work schedules. It was a cool day in the 70's with just a 30% chance of rain. Water level was low but doable. We had 5 adventurers - 2 in canoes and 3 in kayaks. On the water time was about 5 hours, from about 11 AM to 4 PM. Put in was at Mahwah, take out in Oakland. Shuttle was painless since it only involved one car.

Highlights of the trip:

  • everyone went for an unintentional swim. There were many downed branches and strainers and strong unpredictable currents.
  • we made a side trip to an old cemetery. Joe had been a student at Ramapo College and knew of a small hidden cemetery which had about a dozen gravestones and markers from the 1800's. We all docked our vessels and bushwhacked through brambles and poison ivy to see the graveyard.
  • two grey herons accompanied us on most of the trip. They seemed to always be ahead of us and flew further downstream as we approached.
  • we had several portages, including two around low head dams.
  • we "rescued" an igloo foam cooler which was able to run the low head dams unaccompanied.
  • we almost reached an impasse when we approached a bridge on route 287 which was being repaired. Workers were in the water sandbagging the foundation of the bridge to allow them to do repairs. Scuba divers were on the scene. Three quarters of the river was blocked off and the water was funneled into a narrow chute. Running this chute was our biggest rapid of the day.
  • the scenery was fantastic. The rain never materialized and we had a perfect day weather wise.

Thank you John for organizing a great trip.