Hackensack River Canoe & Kayak Club

paddling for over a third of a century

Black River
by Phil Brown

May 16, 2004

This was one of those trips where I expected the worse but got the best.
If you like long trips this was a good trip. We started out with 10 boats & 14 people and ended with the same 4 canoes & 6 kayaks.

After a relatively easy shuttle we started out on Lilian Lake at about 11 am and almost immediately got into thick brush in the channel. Pulling out clippers and saws we kept pushing on and made our way through for maybe 500 feet, which seemed like a mile, and then walking through some muddy grass we then picked up the channel again. I think we were lucky that the water was high (2.3 feet at the put-in gage) because of the rain the night before. There were the same logs to go over that were there last year, which were minor.

When we came to the Great Blue Heron rookery the herons were not too happy, and a few took off squawking at us. The marsh was at a very scenic stage of green but not enough to choke us in.

By 3:30 pm we had lunch next to the rail-trail and then we all continued for some adventure with the sluice gates and the rapid after that. Thanks to Mark Tiernan for clearing the debris and being the guide for the boats - all went over the dam without portaging. The rapid after was a good practice section for some, with the nice flow of water going through.

Of course, right near the end we had a turn with a sticker bush and one more blow down tree which took a little time to get over, after the "other" Phil sawed the branches off.

We then took out at the mill on route 24 at about 6:15 pm.

There was constant wildlife on the whole trip. A big frog in the lily pads in the beginning (I thought it was a piece of plastic stuck in there), herons, ducks, geese, red winged black birds, a wood pecker, muskrats, and a frog who decided to hitch hike a ride with Mark for maybe a half mile.

Afterwards 8 or 10 of us went to get a bite at "The After" on route 206 to replenish ourselves for our next adventure.