by Gail Stevancsecz
November 5, 2005
Similar to the valuation barometer of a piece of real estate – location, location, location: a paddling trip has it’s own mantra – weather, weather, weather. And boy, did we have perfect weather on November 5.
We were off to a good start as everyone gathered at the meeting spot just off the Parkway at exit 58. Back in our cars, 7 paddlers in all, we followed James’ gentle giant of a truck to the put-in location – which, by the way, remains a secret access for to retrace our tracks through the back fire-roads of the Pine Barrens would be a feat in itself. And, to our surprise, we were met by an additional paddler at the put-in who knew we were going to be there, and just took an educated guess as to where he would find us.
What can I say – it was so gorgeous. The river was playful and a little tricky, but we, with the help of our guides, were just a bit trickier as we navigated the clear stream with the thousands of brown stones lining the riverbed. We emerged from the stream into the first of two lakes that we would paddle across. A quick portage alongside the dam and we were back in the river.
The sun was just setting as we entered the last of the 2 lakes, where we spotted an eagle flying and landing near enough to get a got look. The setting sun provided a perfect backdrop to this, the final leg of our trip.
All in all, we were on the river about 11:00am, and heading for the take-out at 4:45pm. The combination of the river conditions, the brilliant Fall red of the blueberry bushes that lined the river, the sandy banks and, of course, the weather, made it a trip to remember.