Memorial Day Weekend 2022
by Peter Walker
Sunday we were on the Rockaway
While I have paddled this stretch a couple of times before under the leadership of Dave Miller, this was my first time attempting to coordinate the trip.
Coming up the weekend the water and flow levels were much lower than on recent paddles, leaving me to worry I'd have to cancel or we'd be pulling our boats much of the way.
Then the thunderstorms started on Friday, and initially the level stayed low...
Nine paddlers came out despite the uncertainty, and we decided the paddle was a go, which was the right decision, we had a good flow moving us along and no more than the usual challenges getting going in the rock garden at the put-in. The take-out at the end is now very close to a dam we don't want to go over, but as everyone spaced well out and approached carefully one by one, we had no issues or scares.
Many thanks to Diane W. who came out to drive the shuttle despite not paddling, and Dave Miller for being there for moral support and to wave us on at multiple points.
Once we got going it was a great paddle, with a good but very manageable flow moving us along nicely, and a pleasant after paddle picnic at the take-out.
Thanks to Phil and Robyn, Lindsey M, Kate, Herta, Martin, Dave R. and Keith A for great company on the paddle, and especially to Dave R and Keith for assisting many of us in getting afloat and back ashore.
Monday we were on the Pompton and a few miles of the Passaic
I'm more familiar with this stretch of water and wasn't expecting any issues with the water conditions, but a larger group of 22 paddlers and two different shuttles meant other potential challenges. Fortunately the double shuttle worked pretty smoothly. We had a pretty varied flotilla, with one tandem canoe, one solo canoe, two inflatables, two different types of folding kayaks and the rest in solo kayaks of varying types. A good flow kept us moving downstream nicely to our lunch stop, where one group was leaving us.
The only excitement of the morning was a slow leak in one of the inflatables, but it limped on to lunch after being pumped back up.
7 paddlers left us after lunch, while 15 people in 14 boats continued on down the rest of the Pompton and out onto the wider waters of the Passaic, before taking out at Little Falls (well above the falls). The temperature was a bit too warm and the shade scarce for the final stretch but everyone made it to the end and 10 came on to re-hydrate and re-fuel at after paddle snack gathering in Cedar Grove.
Thanks to everyone who came out for being a fun and co-operative group.