by Melody Wenger
Sunday, April 24, 2022
It was a perfect spring day with 24 paddlers and 22 boats arriving at Jackson Ave River Park in Rockaway. Boats included tandem canoes, solo canoes, blow-up kayaks, sit-on top kayaks, fold-able kayaks, and sit-in kayaks. After all boats were unloaded, paddlers took to their cars for a 13 minute ride into Boonton. With only one paddler lost (but later found), we piled into 3 cars and returned to the put-in.
With a partly sunny sky and a mild breeze, the majority of paddlers managed the most difficult part of the trip passing the shallow, rock laden water and into the main current. From there, our happy band of paddlers made their way down river enjoying the flora springing to life with flowering trees, wild wood, and residential back yards. The current was running nicely so the paddling was enjoyable and not tiring.
Half way through the trip we stopped for lunch in Denville. Many paddlers sat at picnic tables enjoying their packed lunched while others crossed the street for pizza or burgers and some ice cream too. A small group even ventured to the Denville Farmers' Market to check it out. During lunch our lost member was reunited with the group and we all merrily continue our trip. Just before the take-out, we were being watched by a young bald eagle perched right above our heads. What a treat! The take-out, just before the dam at Griffith Park, Boonton, was an easy exit for all. Using GPS, Jim noted the entire paddle to be about 8 miles.
At the park, some people shuttled drivers back to the put-in to retrieve their cars while others enjoyed each others company with snacks at the park. Many people then headed over to Grace Lord Park (3 minute drive) to walk the Boonton Gorge. It was flowing high and gave off a good mist with rainbows.
Beside the eagle, various paddlers reported seeing honking geese protecting their nests, mallards, blue herons, white egret, turtles, and even a mink. Many trees were in bloom including flowering cherry & crab-apple trees, forsythia, and surprisingly a unique yellow magnolia tree in the park at Denville.
I would like to thank all our paddlers for venturing with me on this trip. We had one guest and six new members who quickly blended in while people chatted and got to know one another. Shout out to... Alex T. Al G. Jim P. Brian D. Lisa P. Terri R. Bob R. Joan B. Phil M. Sherri B. Jim K. Yvonne C. Peter M. Lisa F. Martin W. Louise W. Mike C. Sumonnat K. Harris R. Tim R,. Carrie C. Linda L. & Bob Z.
Many thanks to Sumonnat, Al & Teri who stayed at the put-in waiting for our MIA. Photo credits to Carrie & Martin.