Tuesday, January 10, 2017

First Paddle of the Year

I paddled today with my good friend Kayak Dov, first time on the water for each of us since the odometer rolled over on the anno domini. The area got a pretty decent snow earlier on the weekend, and temperatures were still in the twenties F when we set out, but the day warmed, and we had a pleasant "paddle to nowhere" kind of day.

An Icy Dock.

I set out from the Inwood Canoe Club, crossing the Hudson river to meet at Englewood Boat Basin, but was almost immediately hailed by Dov on the radio that the road was closed, so he was putting in further south. That worked out well - the current was already ebbing, and would be most of the day, so I changed course and more or less floated down to where we met up.

Washington Heights.

At a lower tide, Dov was forced to wade his boat out across a mud flat about twenty-five yards, to get to water deep enough to paddle in. That mud'll come off!

Jersey "flats".

We set out north, figuring we'd attain against the current until we were tired, or cold, or both. This part of the NYC waterways is right along the majestic Palisades cliffs - beautiful, steep parkland full of woods and paths and little structures.

On our way!

As we went along, we (actually, Dov) spotted some deer running through the woods. With the winter foliage, there wasn't much to hide them. We came across them twice, and it seemed like they were scurrying away from us - as if some waterborne predator could somehow catch them.

Housing with a view.

Englewood Boat Basin.

The day brightened up, an the wind picked up a bit from the south, giving us some fun little wind-against-current waves to play with. Further north are several "fingerling" piles of rocks forming little headlands to pass, and we found some pretty strong eddy currents behind them.

Henry Hudson and Spuyten Duyvil bridges in background.

I stopped to nosh. Here we have some disagreement. Dov prefers to eat a hearty meal and paddle with few stops. I'm partial to that idea, but I like breaks, too. I snacked on some sausage and banana bread, along with some hot tea.

While I did, the wind picked up from the south against the current,  and we got some little footers (waves). I hastily packed and we surfed up river a bit.

Heading up the river.

One fun thing we noticed was how uniformly the snowline and icicles ended at the high tide mark. It was like someone cut along with a laser in a precise, straight line.

An even shoreline.

Our best find, however, was a frozen waterfall! We could hear water rushing behind it, and up close could makes out little streams behind and through the ice.

Frozen Waterfall.

Frozen Dov !

The complete waterfall.

And . . . thaaaaat's all, folks. We turned around about a mile and a half short of Alpine, rocketing back with the current, and I peeled off at Englewood to ferry across to Inwood. It was a grand day out, and a great start to a new year.

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