Hackensack River Canoe & Kayak Club

paddling for over a third of a century

Lake Overpeck
Overpeck County Park, Leonia

by Betty Wiest

Friday, June 21, 2020

It was Sunday. It was Father's Day. It was a great way to spend part of the day to paddle. The day was sunny and hot, gorgeous and breezy.

The parking lot was jumpin'! Most of us had to wait for a parking spot....it was like December in June just waiting for a spot to open up. It was striking to see many people without masks on which defied the rules. As long as we were in a concentrated area, a mask needed to be worn...it's only temporary until we got on the water.

The Hackensack Riverkeeper had lots of boats out that people could rent. The boat launch had three slips with rollers and handrails which made it easier to get into the water. It was like a boat traffic jam!

We decided to head north to the less busy side of the lake which took us under the inner park roadway and Fort Lee Road. Nature was at our beck and call--we saw turtles, cormorants, a great blue heron and white egret. The lake eventually narrowed to a creek. It was shallow and shady but very navigable. We saw some flotsam but more delightful were the white blossoms from the catalpa trees occasionally seen along the way. The creek also flows past Overpeck Golf Course. We saw one golfer searching for his lost ball along the bank. I offered to look but heard him gleefully say, "I found it!" I did see several balls in the water, nestled nicely in the mud.

Eventually we headed back to the BIG lake. We were blessed with a breeze but knew it was in the wrong direction. Later we'd have the breeze at our backs...like the old Irish saying. At one point we saw a paddler towing a boat and someone in the water. I told the group that we should go and try to help out. When we approached, one boat was full of water and it and the swimmer were being towed by a female paddler. I don't know how she was managing this! Bob C. tried to pull the boat over his bow, but with so much water it was impossible. They thanked us for trying and went on their final leg to the launch...probably another 300 yards. We continued on our way.

Most of us turned around before we came to the Route 48 bridge on the Ridgefield Park/Palisades Park border. The paddle actually took us up to Route 4; under Route 95 and down to Route 46.

We made it back to the launch and, with the assistance from a staff person, made it into the slips (it's easier to launch than return). After everyone got their boat loaded we settled down under the shade for a bite and a beverage.

My pictures are downloaded but technical difficulties won't let me attach. Keep posted.

Till next time.