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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The Monster of North South Lake

I saw something once, something big and monstrous and unbelievable. I’m not talking about Bigfoot or the Lochness Monster, which I can’t bring myself to believe in. My monster was more mundane then an eight foot tall North American ape or a leftover brontosaurus. What I saw does exist. Nobody disputes that; it just wasn’t supposed to be where I saw it.

North South Lake boat launch

It was five years ago, while padding on North South Lake in the Catskills. I had the whole family out on the water, enjoying a sunny afternoon in our canoe. There were lots of folks out that day camping, picnicking, fishing, paddling, swimming and hiking on the footpaths around the lake and in the surrounding woods.

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