Hackensack River Canoe & Kayak Club

paddling for over a third of a century

Peekskill to Cold Spring
by Bob May

October 16, 2004

When the forces of nature are obliging, and come together in fortuitous harmony, wind and tides can help you cover great distances. Drake, Magellan, Columbus, Hudson and others all took advantage of such occasions. Add to that list of names Hal and Matt Hill, and Bob May.

This intrepid trio, Hal and Matt in their trusty Klepper, Bob solo in the banana boat, set off from Annsville Paddle Center in Peekskill late in morning of October 16 heading up-river to Cold Spring.

The timing of the trip was chosen to take advantage of the strongest period of the flood tide, and the wind Gods favored us with a fresh breeze from the Southwest. For the first forty minutes the wind neither helped, nor hindered us, although it kicked up some chop in Peekskill bay. Once we rounded Anthony’s Nose, and passed under the Bear Mountain Bridge the wind was directly at our backs.

In addition to the favorable winds and tides, Mother Nature graced us with fine paddling temperatures in the mid-sixty’s, and an ever-changing sky – sometimes overcast, sometimes clear blue, sometimes in-between, and some spectacular fall foliage. Surprisingly, we saw no other paddlers until we reached Cold Spring, and there was relatively little power traffic on the river. Several commuter ferries, doing weekend duty as tourist boats, and a Circle Line boat passed us, as did a large ocean-going freighter heading up-river.

Out on the river we spotted two Great Blue Herons, a flight of Canada Geese heading South and a large assortment of hawks circling in the thermals over Constitution Island. Unfortunately Constitution Marsh was closed to paddlers due to duck hunting season. On the return shuttle to Annsville we noticed a large gathering of swans in the Annsville Creek delta.

The wind and currents made this an easy trip. Even paddling at a very relaxed pace we covered the eleven miles in less than three hours.