Mahwah to Oakland
by Harris Reinstein
Saturday, March 25, 2017
Seven of us met at the office building at 156 Ramapo Valley Road at 9:30 AM. We had 4 canoes and 2 kayaks and one canoe had 2 paddlers. Luckily, even though there was a mound of snow to go over in the parking lot to get to the river, we had no problem dropping our boats. We then drove to the take-out at Potash Lake where we planned to end our trip. We went back to the put-in and were on our way by 11:00 AM.
All the strainers that had been in the river in the past were gone and we had a clear run to the first dam where we had lunch. Even though we did not have to deal with downed trees, the river is still a winding, difficult and tricky paddle. Since we had a little more snow melt and rain during the past few months, the river level was good and moving quickly. We portaged the second dam and were on our way. At one point we encountered a downed tree, but we went back up stream, and on the other side of the island we were able to get through without too much difficulty. The river section in Oakland where the town had fixed the hill was clear, and between the large boulders and new trees that were placed on the hill, it looked like it would stay good for the foreseeable future. No problem going under the highways and we passed the ballfield where we used to take-out. It was now just a short distance to Potash Lake, and we paddled the stream on the left of the lake to bypass the dam. I would rank this as one of the better days on the Ramapo River and look forward to next year.