Hackensack River Canoe & Kayak Club

paddling for over a third of a century

Lake Taghkanic State Park
Sea Kayak Weekend
By Anita Berson

September 12-14, 2003

Anita Berson, lead organizer
Oliver Bloch, logistics & motivator
Kathy Monteleone, food & energy
John Roebig, naturalist & GPS coordinator

A beautiful park, near Hudson, NY. Lots of amenities and paddling options. Choice of camping, tent platforms, rustic cabins, or full cabins. Even the rustic cabins have an indoor, enclosed toilet(!), a huge fireplace, kitchen with stove and frig (no hot water.) The full service cabins are on the lake, which makes them perfect for paddlers.

We arrived Friday night and went out for dinner locally. On Saturday, we drove north about 20 minutes to the town of Hudson, NY. We paddled from there across to Athens, into a marsh, then out to Middle Ground Flats, and around Stockport Flats. We explored squatters homesteads on the flats, and thought about camping on the island next season. In the marsh, John showed us a variety of plants, sedges and grasses, explaining the life of a marsh. We encountered a storm, a white out, which lasted about 20-30 minutes. Kathy blew her first roll in the wake of a barge, in a huge wave that turned into a breaker, in the shallows.

On Sunday, we paddled from the Catskill, NY put-in at Dutchman's Landing, just under the Rip Van Winkle Bridge. We paddled north, around an island (at low tide, ugh) and as we came back out into the Hudson saw great dark storm clouds. Which way were the clouds moving? We needed a group decision.

One paddler wanted to make for the next shore. But another, more prudent paddler said, "Let's get under cover now!" Which we did. We watched as the sky turned even darker as the squall blew through the river valley. We were safe under the tallest tree on the island - we were standing on a log, in our rubber booties!

What we learned:

Try new camping locations and paddling locations.
We can handle storms, when prepared (with rain gear, lights, etc.) Waves grow in shallows (flats.) Get off the water (or raft up) when a storm is approaching. Practice with your GPS in areas you know. Bring a naturalist on every trip. Include a baker (Oliver's carrot cake was amazing.) Wait for Kathy to join up, to inject energy and order. Have Anita plan another special kayak trip.