Iona Island Hudson River Paddle

Iona Island is one of those spots that keeps paddling on the Hudson interesting. In spite of its unimposing look, it’s 556 acres ooze history. Before European colonization it was called Wa-na-ka-wagh-kin and was a favored fishing spot for the locals.

In colonial days it was bought by the Van Cortland family along with what seems like half the rest of the Hudson valley. In the 1800s it was used to grow produce for the Union Army, became a resort including a carrousel and hotel. Later it was used as a depot for military ordinance.

It remained an arsenal through both World Wars, hosted a small fleet of mothballed ships in the postwar period and eventually, mostly, returned to nature. The ghost ships and arsenal are gone except for a few old buildings.

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Rockland County Rail Trail Adventures

I first became aware of the Rails to Trails movement seventeen years ago when I lived near the North County Trailway. It’s a 22-mile long bike path that follows the right-of-way of the old New York Central railroad though Westchester County.

I love the concept. All over the country, there are long stretches of track that belonged to out-business railroads which municipalities and private groups have been turning into multi-use recreational trails and parks.

Back then I had Mondays off and I found the trail to be a great way to get a work out. I could bang out twenty high speed miles on a smooth graded surface without worrying about traffic, enjoying the scenery along the way.

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