Lamington River Paddle & Ballonfest
by Bob Rancan
Saturday, July 28, 2018
Perfect combination: Lots of water from heavy overnight rain, nice day, Balloon fest, 19 members in 19 canoes and kayaks!
A rainy week seemed to be fading away and river levels started to return to normal but an overnight soaking in Hunterdon and Somerset kept the Lamington flowing: it was at 2.27, 127cfs in the morning and 2.25, 122cfs as we were finishing up. Directions had been sent out for the more reliable South Branch but Friday evening, I realized there was a good chance to catch the rare gem of the Lamington in the middle of the Summer. Everyone received the revised directions and showed up on time.
A wonderful paddle, although we didn't observe too much in the way of birds but maybe that was because of distraction of dealing with many downed trees in the river and tight turns...never an easy way to deal with so many craft. Everyone then proceeded to the designated highway rest stop to await the evening rise of the NJ Balloon Festival. Tables were secured, food put out, chairs set up. All seemed perfect but the slight breeze was moving the balloons from the airport in an easterly direction, away from our vantage point. Disappointing but several people reported catching site of lots of balloons on their drive home. Plus, some of us decided a balloon chase was the thing to do and after a bunch of twists and turns, found a spot in an industrial park that was just right.