Entries in Hudson River (12)



I’d like to think that people who eat Stone Blue chips (as I do) don’t throw the packaging overboard or out the window of a speeding car. But it seems they do. I picked up the wet and silt covered bag along with an empty Gatorade bottle, a plastic coffee container and other stuff that littered the Tivoli landing. The debris washed up on shore shook me and made it near impossible to get my boat into the water. I spent twenty minutes picking up trash before I could slide my kayak into the water on my first paddle of 2017.

In spring, snow melts and the roadsides are revealed for what they are: dumping grounds for people’s stuff. Some is overt, like the trash bag tossed that then bursts or is torn apart by a hungry raccoon. But most are items casually flung from a car window. I like to undertake a thought experiment: I picture myself sailing down the road in my Subaru and I toss a Ginger Ale can from the window. I can’t do it, even in my imagination.


Click to read more ...


Dead Bird

The river was windy last night. Both current and wind were against me as I shoved south in my kayak on the Hudson River. To the side, I saw a lump in the water. I assumed it was a fish, and was hesitant to pull near—marinating fish is not a smell I enjoy. But the shape was not entirely fish-like, so curiosity won out. What I found floating in the water was a gull, its bill hooked through the slit-like nares, by a fishing lure, and the web of its feet hooked by the other end of the lure. It was clear what had happened: the bird had come down to the shiny object expecting a fish meal, was caught through its bill and, in trying to liberate itself with is feet, entangled itself further. The lure hooked the bird to itself, bill and feet joined to shape the bird into a circle.  It then plunged into the water and drowned. Not too long ago. The body was soft in my hands, and the feathers intact.

Click to read more ...


Sailing on Ice, Walking on Water

Ice boat with the Kingston-Rhinecliff bridge in the backgroundAn ice boat is a beautiful thing. It glides across the ice on giant ice skates, propelled by a sail. Each boat can hold one, maybe two people, who crouch low, often using feet to direct the rudder. Some are wood, formed and stained over a hundred years ago. Some are sleek and modern. All require ice, thick ice. And wind.  Those two things came together today, March 1, on the Hudson River. It was one of the biggest ice boat events on the river.

From high at Poet’s Walk, just north of the Kingston Rhinecliff Bridge, we could see the boats skidding across the ice. In the not so far distance, an enormous tanker lazily crunched its way south in the open channel. The ice boats stayed away from that channel, zipping carefree north to Barrytown and south toward the bridge. Four or five boats were under sail.

Click to read more ...


Morning on the River

Juvenile Bald EagleFall migration is underway. Lots of intriguing birds will pass through—although less brightly colored and less tuneful than in spring. What I hope for here in the Hudson Valley is the chance of seeing shorebirds. A few have been appearing—last weekend Black Bellied Plovers at Greig Farm. So as I headed onto the river this Sunday morning I had high hopes for what might be flying or floating through.

The weather report claimed rain and the sky over the Catskills loomed gray, but electric. I stroked to the Western shore of the river and wove through the water chestnut mat. A Spotted Sandpiper bobbed about and a dozen Great Blue Herons posed in the shallow water.


Click to read more ...


River Time

Kate and Hudson River Dog NeenaWe left from the Troy Dam later than planned. High tide was at 9, and by 11 we had already missed two precious hours of the ebb current. On the Hudson, the tides become a tyrant, not letting you stop or rest or eat. You go with those six hours, rest later. Or that's what you do if you want to travel. By noon, when we made our first gravelly stop, the roar of Albany traffic in the background, I knew we were not making miles. This was a trip about river time.

We included Merle, who at age 72 teaches Outward Bound courses, has a shock of curly gray-white hair and a calm steady demeanor; Kate on her pedal boat, after shoulder surgery, long legs shoving south; and me, on a short fall break from teaching, desperate not to think about faculty meetings. The most important team member, however, was Neena, a pint sized dog, which Kate had just rescued. This was Neena’s river baptism. To keep her happy--and who doesn't want to keep a dog happy--we stopped every hour to stretch and pee and marvel over how slowly we were moving.

Click to read more ...