Hackensack River Canoe & Kayak Club

paddling for over a third of a century

Thimble Islands
Stony Creek, CT

by Betty Wiest

Thursday, August 6, 2020

The Thimble Islands, a slew of more than 15 islands off the quaint town of Stony Creek, CT, is a pleasant paddle, with the furthest island two miles from the town dock. Outer Island was donated to the US Fish and Wildlife Service and is called the Stewart B. McKinney National WIldlife Refuge. This five-acre island is the only public island and is home to many species of flora and fauna and includes several granite outcroppings; there is a small visitor center (off limits due to Coronavirus) and a run-down home of the former owner. This day, several volunteers and staff were cleaning up the debris from Hurricane Isaias. Ian, the staffer on duty, gave us a welcome to the island and assisted in attending to a wounded paddler--me.

Paddlers included Janet, Sumonnat, Mike, George and me. Unfortunately, five others cancelled due to yard cleanup, a bum foot, generator problems and other issues. Sorry to miss you all.

The nice thing about the area is that parking is located right by the town dock (concrete pad); a sandy beach is nearby. The water was fairly calm, the weather somewhat overcast but not rain threatening. Even though we had not paddled here in a number of years, it was still fascinating to explore the islands, some with only one house and several with many. It's a marvel of construction to see a single house on a rock with barely any room to spare. Some houses are cottage-like and some are rather large and ornate; one even had a multi-sport enclosed court.

We returned to the park, loaded our boats back on our vehicles and settled down to have lunch in the park along the rock wall barrier. It was a delightful way to end the day....and try to leave at a time without getting into serious traffic going back home.

Till next time....