Cold Spring to Bannerman's Island
by Betty Wiest
Sunday, July 19, 2015
For the second week in a row, we were blessed with calm water and fairly soft current for most of our trip…..it really made a big difference to having an early launch time.
Cory W., Lori B., Janet L., Manfred J., Hatice G., Skip H., Henry S., Wayne C., Monica O., Herta D., Andy A., and myself paddled this glorious stretch of the Hudson River out of Cold Spring to Bannerman’s Island and back.
The launch in Cold Spring is right next to the train station, making parking on Sunday “a piece of cake.” Whether a paddler chose to unload their boat right by the greenery of Foundry Park or unloaded in a parking stall, the walk to the launch was very short. Before we headed out, introductions were made and just a few announcements: Do you have your car keys? Do you have plenty of water? Simple questions, but important ones. We took time to take a few group pictures.
After leaving the comfort and security of the cove, we all headed north towards Pollepel Island (also known as Bannerman’s Island). The water was very calm and we made good time up to the island. But it was hot! We saw a number of trains—freight and passenger—ride the rails on both sides of the river.
Bannerman’s Island is undergoing restoration by the New York State Office of Parks Recreation and Historic Preservation. We found metal poles all around the site. (When I got home, I did some research and discovered that on June 28, 2015 the public art piece Constellation by Beacon-based artist Melissa McGill debuted on and around the castle ruins. The work consists of 17 LEDs mounted on metal poles of varying heights which when lighted for two hours each night are intended to create the appearance of a new constellation). Personally I found it ruined the overall landscape.
We paddled around the island and enjoyed a bit of shade and escaped the heat of the day for a few minutes.
There were very few boats on the river early in the morning. A few created some swells giving us a little joy ride on the water.
We stopped on a good size beach to relax and have a snack. At one point, several paddlers—Janet, Monica, Hatice—called me. “There’s an eagle in the dead tree nearby. Get your camera.” I took several pictures then and later on when I was in my boat and could get closer. What a bonus!
The last part of the trip proved to be the most difficult—so many boats were out on the river creating lots of turbulence and the wind picked up as well. But we all made it back to the launch that had become soooooo crowded with people and boats from a local outfitter. We were decidedly happy that we had gone out early in the morning.
A number of us went over to Manfred’s home for a delicious meal prepared by his wife Marianna. What hospitality!
Just another delightful day.