Kayaking near Saugerties NY: Lower Esopus Creek

This offseason, my paddling explorations have been curtailed by other commitments. On Saturday morning I had business in Albany. I figured if we got back on the road by mid-afternoon we’d have time to squeeze in a short paddle on the way home.

kayaks on the truck

There is a good variety of choices for kayaking between Albany and my home in the southern Hudson Valley. With only a few hours to get out, I settled on a stretch of flatwater for kayaking near Saugerties: the mouth of Esopus Creek. I’d had an eye on this stretch of water for a while. Last season my curiousity grew when I paddled Rondout Creek, just a little further south.

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Haverstraw Bay Paddle

Last year I found myself part of a captive audience for a long presentation from the Rockland County Historical Society. It covered a lot of local area history. One story that caught my attention was about the collapse of a couple of blocks of the town of Haverstraw (originally called Haverstroo by the Dutch) in a massive landslide in 1906.

Haverstraw Bay paddler

I knew that brick making was a major industry in the area but hadn’t given much thought to why that was. An abundance of natural clay deposits was the reason the brick factories were located in Haverstraw. Extensive mining of the clay more or less directly under the town led to erosion that eventually caused a giant landslide.

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Flow State: Great Piece Meadows Paddle

The waiting is the hardest part.

On Saturday morning, eight of us met behind a deli in the Pio Costa industrial park in Fairfield to canoe the Passaic River where it traverses the Great Piece Meadows. We’d hustled canoes down to the river bank and loaded our gear. Now three of us were waiting for the others to spot cars at the takeout twelve miles downriver.

egret in Great Piece Meadows

If you live in northern New Jersey, it’s almost certain that you’ve driven on Interstate 80. And you’ve probably traversed a seven-mile stretch of I-80 that cuts through the Great Piece Meadows.

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