Hackensack River Canoe & Kayak Club

paddling for over a third of a century

Assateague Island National Seashore
By Anita Berson

September 6-8, 2002
Trip Coordinator: Lee McQuade

The weather this summer was custom made for fine paddling. We've had one fantastic trip after another, and a spectacular weekend of camping and paddling at Assateague with HRCKC was the perfect way to celebrate the end of summer paddling. Assateague is a sand barrier, on the Atlantic side of the Delmarva Peninsula (Delaware/Maryland/Virginia) an easy 5 hour drive from here. This is a gorgeous area, wildly beautiful and expansive.

We had the choice of the bay or the ocean for swimming, sunning and paddling. What makes this area so special is a unique combination of geography, water, and wildlife. Let's start with the wildlife. Aside from the HRCKC paddlers, who are their own wild species, there are lots of deer and THE AMAZING PONIES. They roam everywhere, walking and pooping where they may. They create quite a stir and spectacle, with cars stopping abruptly so tourists can ooh and aahh. What is worth stopping for are the baby ponies, which are absolutely adorable. The ponies walk through the campsites, through the brush and marshes, along the road, down the beach. This is their island home.

We filled our days with great paddling in the bay, exploring, hunting for crabs, birding, swimming and flying kites (everyone brought one!!) One kayaker improvised a sail, using an umbrella to catch a free ride from the wind. Sunsets were especially grand over the bay, and we added a lovely sunset paddle to enhance it. We had the benefit of a large screen tent, graciously provided by one of our own, where we could gather, relax, and enjoy hors d'oeuvres with the fine companionship of our fellow paddlers. Each evening we gathered around our campfire. Of the campsite amenities, our favorite was the bracing cold water outdoor shower. The trip highlight had to be dinner out for crabs, and watching Kathy and Phil devour a pile of 30 crabs for 3 hours!!

It seems that the more trips HRCKC offers, the more paddlers participate. Sometimes we have an extra boat or a seat in a double, so call the organizer if you want to paddle. I guess the word is getting out that we have good trips, good weather, good food, and good folks.