Labor Day Weekend Trip on Rockaway Creek and Lamington River
by Bob Rancan
Saturday, August 31, 2019
August 31 brought the start of Labor Day weekend, beautiful sunny and breezy weather, temps in the high 70s and most importantly, lots of water from Round Valley Reservoir being dumped into the South Branch, Rockaway Creek. From there, the water flowed into the Rockaway Creek, Lamington River and North Branch of the Raritan. Ten members responded to my mid-week post and so eleven of us (3 canoes, 8 kayaks) met on Saturday morning on Burnt Mills Road in Bedminister Twp. The flow at Whitehouse Station was the best it's been this summer...3.24, 132cfs. Having paddled it a few times this year, I knew there would be three tricky spots where mature trees had gone down and were completely across the stream. The first, on the South Branch, Rockaway was a spot to get out, climb over the tree and push the boats underneath. As always, Al Grenley took charge and got everyone out and over. The second had blocked the river previously but the last couple of trips afforded a small window to paddle through. Again, Al directed traffic. After lunch, the third, which had come down in July and completely blocked the Rockaway wasn't a factor. Probably a storm surge had pushed the trunk all the way over to the left bank...a bit of a letdown after gearing up for an anticipated portage. Except for a pair of Red-tailed hawks, a couple of Great Blue Herons and lots of deer, the woods were pretty quiet. Nonetheless, a great time was had by all.
Afterwards, we retreated to the Rail at Readington in Whitehouse Station, reported to have the best burgers in Hunterdon County.
Monica even deigned to sit at the same table with all the burger eaters! A fine time.
Thanks to Al, Sumonnat Kongchatree, Dave Miller, Jim More, Karen King, Monica Orso, Joe Marshall, Herta Dusbout, Melody Wenger and Bob Zega.