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Hudson Gorge - If you release it, they will come...

Sunday Jun 10, 2007
Kayak: Jim, Dan, Brent, Kristy, Julie, Frank, Mike, Rod, Jamie, Ty, Grayson, Chris, Amos, Kelly, Billy, Simone, Richard
C1: Steve
Raft: Mark
Organizer: JimP
Difficulty: intermediate WW
Level: low boatable
Gauge (ft): 3.80
Gauge (cfs): 1400
Author: JimP

You know how the usual river trip goes: you have five folks signed up on Monday for the upcoming weekend trip. By Wednesday you are down to three. Friday you lose another one and then Saturday morning you steadfast paddling partner bags and you end up paddling the river with a local guy named Homer in which you spend the whole run fishing him out of the river. Well folks, THIS WAS NOT ONE OF THOSE TRIPS! In some weird sort of inverse energy (bizaro-world for you Seinfeld fans) it turned out totally different. Yes indeed I had five boaters signed up on Monday. By Wednesday a few more jump on. When I checked my e-mail late Saturday to see who bagged out I found three more paddlers were coming along. Then you add an unexpected paddler at one of the meeting points and two more at the put in and you end with a very large group. Nineteen hardy paddlers to be exact!

And then there was the timing. We had paddlers coming from various sections of Vermont, from New Hampshire and from just outside New York City. One would figure we would be waiting around at the take out/put-in for quite some time. Jamie offered his rule of thumb: 5 additional minutes for each additional paddler. Well NOT true to form, everyone arrived at the takeout early and all within 5 minutes! We packed up and on our way to the put-in by 9:30 (which was the planned meeting time) placing us at the put-in exactly as the water started releasing on the Indian.

With this many paddlers we needed to split up the group. The Old Schoolers (or Grey Beards, take your pick) led the way. With the group spread out there was lots of room to hit eddies, jump on waves, get stuck in holes and generally enjoy the warm temperatures and WARM WATER (yes indeed, everything was working in our favor).

The group reconvened at the confluence of the Hudson and then we paddled as one very large group. Smiles all around (especially for the first timers) as the Indian never fails to provide the goods. It was constantly amazing to me to look around and see this parade of paddlers!

At one point early in the trip, Julie took a quick break on Mark's raft. The other paddlers gave her major amounts of grief for being lazy so she scrambled up on mid-river rock and performed a perfect belly flop from about twelve feet up! Hoots and hollers followed and no more mention of her being a slacker.

Hudson was low, just under 4 feet with the bubble) but still fun. There were holes to dodge and rocks to hit. The surf wave just above the Narrows entertained all. The Narrows provided some of the biggest water fun of the day and everyone was smiling after that one. For a number of paddlers this was their first trip down the Hudson and not knowing what to expect, they were pleasantly surprised.

We stopped for lunch right after Soup Strainer, Harris Riff or whatever that rapid is called. At this point we lost the bubble of water but no one seemed to care.

We continued down through the last few rapids. Some play was had at Greyhound but everyone was pretty tired. Even the flat water paddle out didn't seem so bad.

To continue what was turning out to be the perfect paddling day, there was not a single swimmer. I don't think there were more than a couple of unplanned fish counting experiences. There were a couple of scraped knuckles from our play at Greyhound but that was about it. (short of a few sore muscles I imagine)

There were good byes at the take out, a few adult beverages were consumed, pictures were taken and promises made to recreate this experience at the Ottawa on August 11/12 (shameless plug). To steal a quote from Grayson, everyone left with a perma-grin firmly attached to their face. I am sure there was some good sleep had that evening - or maybe even on the ride home!

Wildlife sightings. A few critters also shared their day with us. On the way to the Hudson a wayward goose tried to attack Jim's car/boats. Some evasive maneuvers kept the goose from being impaled on the kayaks. There was also a mean looking snapping turtle on the road that we made a wide swath around. We even were entertained on river by a beaver.

But the story doesn't end there. A couple of us needed some caffinated beverages for the ride home. A quick stop in North Creek lasted a bit longer than expected as there was a bluegrass band playing on the porch of the Old County Store. Some of us were lounging in the Adirondack chairs for a bit before heading on. Then there was the sudden flashing of headlights in my read view. When I looked ahead I knew the reason - this was a full on creamie alert! Once satiated with various dairy products it was truly time to say good bye and put this trip firmly in our memory banks.

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