Hackensack River Canoe & Kayak Club

paddling for over a third of a century

Of Wind and Current on the Delaware and Canal
by Lori Meier

June 10, 2006

On Saturday, June 10th, a good size group of us hit the Delaware River after a week of gloomy, rainy weather. We met in Frenchtown. A cute little town with some little cafes and restaurants, where we later met for a bite to eat.

After doing the “car thing”, we set off on our way. It was a windy day with lots of clouds, but every now and then, the sun would shine and warm us from the chilly winds. Within minutes we were graced with the sight of a BEAUTIFUL bald eagle. Wow! Those guys sure are cool to see. We quickly made it to an island in the breeze for lunch. After sharing some chit chat and grabbing a bite to eat, we were off again. We hit some riffles along the way. Much fun for me, the beginner. By about 1:30 we had gone 8 miles to Bulls Island. Imagine with the wind at our backs and a wicked current there was no doubt we would make record time. Nobody took a dip on the trip. Not even Nabil, who let us know that he’s fallen in on every trip he’s gone on! Mark this day, Nabil!

Our leader, John, offered up an extended trip onto the Feeder Canal. It was a short trip down the Delaware and a hop over to the Canal. Some people chose to disembark at Bulls Island, while others, like myself, chose the Canal. Our leader assured us that this was an easy paddle back up the canal. USUALLY, this would be true. But remember all of that rain we had all week? Well, amazingly, it found it’s way into the canal and created a pretty good current.

Nonetheless, we forged ahead. I took my sweet time and spotted a Baltimore Oriole and took in the sweet smell of the Honeysuckles blooming along the edges. Hey, I knew the trip back was going to be a challenge. As I saw our leader continue forward, I thought, “This guy must be nuts!? How far are we going to go? Doesn’t he realize we have to paddle back UP this thing?” Of course we paddled until we hit some blockage (a dam, or something). Who knows? Who cared? I was just thinking about the trek back at this point. We FINALLY stopped and got out to stretch a bit to ready ourselves for the REAL adventure! The paddle UP and AGAINST the CURRENT. Yes, there was a pretty mean current that my little 10 foot, poor tracking kayak had to make its way. Believe me, if I could have hung a motor off of my boat, I would have! It did occur to me to take my rope and have the leader (remember him, the guy who said “there’s no current”) drag my butt upstream.

As you can see, I made it. We all made it. I was whooped after that, but I will admit that it was a great workout and it was quite beautiful along the canal. I think my arms grew longer….I noticed that when I got out of my boat that my knuckles were dragging along the ground. Thank God Michelle and John provided ample yapping along the way. Otherwise, my focus would have been on other things…like “Why am I doing this?” And “hmm, about this rope…”.

Sorry, no pictures. I was a tad worried about the currents and didn’t want to risk losing my camera to the river.

Ciao! And see you on the next “Adventure”!