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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Schuyler Island NY Camping

Schuyler Island in Lake Champlain has fascinated me for years. I’ve taken my kids camping nearby many times and canoed around the Ausable marsh and river area. So when I decided I needed a little solo adventure time, island camping on Schuyler was an easy call.

schuyler-island-shore

Both Schuyler and Valcour Islands are part of the Adirondack preserve and open to camping. Unlike the Lake George Island campsites and many others in the area, no permits or reservations are required.

Port Douglas was my starting point. I loaded up for a night of camping and paddled north along the western shore of Lake Champlain. When I was about even with Schuyler Island’s closest point I steered my kayak east and headed out into the lake.

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Bannerman Island Kayak Tour

I’ve wanted to paddle around Bannerman Island ever since I learned about it’s quirky history during a protracted Wikipedia spiral. When I resolved to expand my paddling universe, it was on my list.

bannerman-island

It was only when I got to the nitty gritty of planning that I connected it with the notorious “kayak murder” case. Turns out when Angelika Graswald allegedly sent her lover to the great beyond, they had left from the same spot I’d selected.

I got to Plum Point in Cornwall-on-Hudson and launched around 9:30 AM. Bannerman Castle is located on Pollepel Island, on the opposite side of the Hudson from Cornwall so my paddle started with a crossing.

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