The event takes place up the Hudson River from NYC. The location has varied a bit; this year it was from Newburgh down to Cold Spring.
My new friend Mary Mautner gave me and my boat a ride. We drove up the night before and stayed in a hotel (air conditioning . . .ahhhhhhh) and got there plenty early. Here we are with our boats (mine is red, hers is purple, both are Valley, hence we were, "Valley Girls").
Of course, ours weren't the only boats there.
And yet more boats !
After a safety briefing, off we went. The idea was, we'd all paddle down the river and pick up waterproof poker cards along the way. The winning hand(s) would get prizes. While I was the first to turn in a set and had a sixth wild card, the best I could come up with was two pair, a high-low set at that. You WON'T find this Cowgirl gambling in a saloon anytime soon.
The view of the Hudson.
Mary in her plastic Avocet.
My New Boat.Longtime readers may know that I've been paddling a Valley Argonaut for three years now, and while I love that boat, it's widely acknowledged as too big for me. It's essentially a high volume Aquanaut, meant for someone about five inches taller and half again as heavy. It's still around and I'll paddle it some more, but I found myself drawn to a newer Valley boat, the Gemini SP.
Now, I won't belabor what you can already look up - the Gemini is so named because there are two variants, the play version and the touring version. This is the former. It's fun, it's responsive, it loves rough water and it's plastic, which means the next time I go rock-hopping, I'm bringing it along.
Passing Bannerman's Castle.
Unlike the last time I was here, the event passed Bannerman's Castle, formerly a storage site for munitions and other goods, until an explosion wrecked it. It's an interesting place to spot along the river, whether kayaking or not.
At the finish line was a lovely yellow folding boat pointing the way in. It was a lovely color against the river valley's green!
While we waited, a themed riverboat went by - a Paddlewheeler for the cure? Nah.
Then we had lunch, and a raffle. This Cowgirl did not fare as well as the last time she was here.
A P-38? How'd that get in the race?
Like bingo, but less comfortable.
One person worth special mention is Nancy Brous, NYC paddler, Vice President of the Hudson River Watertrail Association, and dare I say community activist. Nancy helped organize this event from the beginning, and with support from friends and associates has kept it going five years running.