Hackensack River Canoe & Kayak Club

paddling for over a third of a century


Chodikee Lake, NY
by Betty Wiest

Sunday, October 11, 2020

What makes a good paddle? Is it the location? The people? The weather? I think, for this paddle at least, it was a new location. I was introduced to Chodikee Lake a number of years ago. It is not an especially easy place to find, but our intrepid paddlers proved once again that they were not daunted by its distance from northern New Jersey and directions at the very end that were a little sketchy (they came from a NY State website). In fact it was about 65 miles from my house in Ridgewood...exiting the New Paltz ramp (Exit 18 on the NY Thruway).

I got to the launch a little early to check things out and was quite surprised to discover how windy it was. The narrow channel out to the main body of the lake was quite nice, but you could see the main body of water was very choppy. Lainie arrived and we both walked out on the floating decking to check it out again. Then the other paddlers soon arrived.....after roaming the local streets for the correct dirt road to the launch parking lot. We had 11 paddlers...Bob and Jeri C., Mike R., Anita G., Herta D., Peter and Naomi W., Summonat K., Al., Lainie M. and me.

While Lake Chodikee is only a little more than a mile in circumference, it's the creek that it flows into it that adds to the paddle. Since it was so windy, we hugged the edge of the water which was lined with water lilies that I am sure were beautiful in season. I was having a tough time in the choppy water and the wind in my face. I know several others were equally having difficulty. What was truly spectacular though was the display of color...reds, yellow, orange, in the woodlands nearby.

We were treated seeing at least seven beaver lodges! And two of them were opposite each other. It seems that there were plenty of trees to munch on as these efficient animals constructed their abodes. And then we were treated to two herons....one that just seemed to pose for us and the other that hid behind some grasses. They are so beautiful and graceful in flight. We did paddle past a dead deer...with a not-too pleasant odor.

The creek was somewhat sheltered, but we still felt the wind in our faces., The good thing is knowing that we will have the wind at our backs on the return....we were paddling the hard part now. The creek ended in a very small pond-like area. Bob indicated that a waterfall was somewhere beyond our padding pond but there was nowhere to disembark to view it. On the return we did a photo op by one of the beaver lodges.

We safely got back to the launch....it was lunchtime! The sun was shining brightly and we all took the opportunity to sit on the floating docks, enjoy the camaraderie of our fellow paddlers before loading our boats for the return home.

You know, despite the Covid-19 era, our Club has enjoyed a very good season of paddling. Everyone took the precaution of adherence to a mask policy loading and unloading our boats. We appreciate that! As the season unwinds, I find myself and my husband looking to new adventures in South Carolina. I hope everyone in HRCKC takes advantage of the paddling opportunities that are regularly posted. In the days of this pandemic, this is one sport that we can safely take an active part in.

Of course my pictures were downloaded but I can't get them to attach to this trip report. Give me a few days to catch up.

Keep paddlin'.


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