by Janet Little
September 13, 2008
The trip began off River Road, approx ½ mile down on Waterloo Road coming from 206 north. We paddled on Saturday only about 6.7 miles down stream, but it was a full day and challenging at times. It was a larger group, 16 people, 15 boats (5 canoes and 10 kayaks). The trip began at 9:15, but it was my very first "Hackensack River Club trip" and I didn't want to be late…. So I was early!
After much deciding where the best place to launch our boats, we began the very long, long, long 6 mile car shuttle to our take out point. It seems things had changed since the last time the club had paddled these waters. Anyway, after many calls to John our trip leader who was at the put-in, and taking a scenic tour of the back roads of Hackettstown, we finally found our spot and returned stuffed into 3 cars to begin our journey.
The river was moving fast. Lake Hopatcong is being drained, and the Musconetcong River begins at Lake Hopatcong, so the river was high. Weather was almost perfect for kayaking. Warm and mostly over cast. We began the trip with a paddle up a side tributary "Lubbers Run" to get warmed up. The river was challenging at times. Water was fast, trees down, and more then a few river spillages to go over. Quick turns had to be made. At one point we were force to portage our boats over a down tree.
We stopped at Waterloo Village for lunch. The Village brought back childhood memories for me. I can remember in school taking a class trip to village. There is so much history in that area. The village years ago was a busy port along the Morris Canal. Now because of financial problems, the village and all its shops have closed. It was kind of sad to see as a few of us walked around and saw the historic buildings abandon. After lunch we took a paddling tour of Hackettstown Quarry. This quarry was flooded from Hurricane Floyd and saved Hackettstown from the devastation of the fast moving Musconetcong River. This area remains flooded and is abandoned but there are 7 miles of mountain biking trails thru there.
On the last leg of our trip, the river began to change. The "Quiet Waters of New Jersey" had returned. The river got wider and the water calmer. Paddlers were 5 across and talking up a storm on past and future trips to be taken. As I paddled along and listened, I decided then, that I too would take a next trip and remember fondly on this one.