Hackensack River Canoe & Kayak Club

paddling for over a third of a century

The Further Adventures Of The Wallkill River Wildlife "Refuge" Walkers
by Martin W.

March 26, 2023

On the perfectly fine day of March 26th of the year 2023, eight hardy adventurers partook on an expedition into the wilds of the southern end of the Wallkill River Wildlife "Refuge".

Those brave souls were Karen M., Diane W., Teri R., Dave R., Bill M., myself, and guests - Trish F. and Mike B.

Meeting at the usual Sit & Chat Diner (formerly known as the Sussex Queen Diner) at 10am, we then proceeded to drive the 10 minutes to the "Refuge" headquarters on Rt. 565.

Starting our adventure we took the south loop of the Dagmar Dale Trail (I still have no idea who Dagmar Dale is/was).

In contrast to the Winding River and Liberty Loop trails in the northern section which are dead flat, the trails this day were a bit more strenuous with some pretty good ups and downs - but all relatively gradual. Everyone kept a good pace - except me who continuously trailed behind stopping to take photos which probably annoyed the others but gave them some rest time waiting for me to catch up.

After crossing over a small stream (some of us getting our feet slightly damp), we stopped at the little waterfall and commemorative bench for a short break.

Continuing onward, we passed a large crop of phragmites and then proceeded on the uphill sections. We then came upon the junction with the Northern loop of Ms. Dagmar's trail. In front of us a small barricade with a sign stating the trail is closed due to a washout. Ha! We decided to continue on anyway.

Gadzooks! But guarding the trail was none other than the 'Killer Bunny". An attempt at passing was thwarted by the beast and we gone went and "Run Away... Run Away".

HolyGrailRabbitRunAway 2


After sacrificing half my lunch to the ferocious bunny, it finally let our "quivering with fear" group pass.

"What in the world"?

We then came upon the mighty Wallkill River by the remnants of the old farm bridge where we used to stop for lunch. The water level was not bad... plenty enough for a paddle trip in a few weeks - stay tuned for an announcement when. After a short rest there the group continued on.

Soon after we came to the washed out section of the trail and decided to climb down the gorge to get to the other side. But lo and behold we were then confronted by the great sword wielding "Black knight"!

Monty Python and the Holy Grail 1975 1

Asking to let us pass, the Black Knight proclaimed "None Shall Pass"! "We are the HRCKC and demand you allow us to pass"! "None Shall Pass!" repeated the Black Knight. Having no other choice but to confront this blighter, I pulled out my trusty Swiss Army knife (with the 57 different attachments, of course) and fought him with a ferocity that only an HRCKCer that hasn't had lunch yet can muster.

“Tis but a scratch!”
“A scratch? Your arms off!”
“No it’s not.”
“Then what’s that?”
“I’ve had worse. It's only a flesh wound".

OK.... enough of that. I just had flashbacks to the Monty Python and the Holy Grail movie, so you'll have to forgive me for making parts of this trip report quite ludicrous but a bit more exciting.

Anyway, after we passed the washed out section, it became a gradual uphill trek. We then came upon that Hoard of Viking/pygmy/Mingos/Huns/Berserkers/Visegoths/Crazed Sheepherders From Moonachie/Pissed off Spartans drunk on Boones Farm Apple Wine/Mongolian vampires with hemorrhoids that we encountered a few weeks before and gave them another cookie and they went away.

OK, that didn't happen either and we didn't turn into a newt but we did come upon a dead mouse on the trail.

The final stretch followed the perimeter of an open field with quite a few turkey vultures circling overhead. Ending our adventure back at the refuge headquarter's parking lot, we said our goodbyes and headed home. And again... no one died. But those turkey buzzards were really hoping that someone did.


> Click here for photos!