The Crooked Canes Journal


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Hudson River Paddle: 1000 Acre Ranch to Lake Luzerne ~ May 20, 2014

Journal entry by Ray Bouchard for Tom Gibbs



Tuesday was a gorgeous day complete with blue skies and warm temps. Tom had already dropped off 2 cars at the Hadley Town Park by the time I arrived so when 10:00 approached we headed north on River Rd. to our launch site. Portions of the final stretch of the dirt road were deeply rutted but even the lower slung, 2-wheel drive vehicles made it OK. Actually, we ended up putting in a few hundred yards short of our goal because of a deep puddle in the road. The current was quite swift here but everyone made it onto the water without incident. So I said to myself, "Self, at this pace we'll complete our 8 mile journey before the noon whistle blows". I wasn't far from wrong even though the current did seem to moderate after a few miles. Once it slowed a bit it was actually possible to check out the beautiful scenery and enjoy each others company. Perhaps that's why we blew right on by the picnic-lunch area on the left bank without even realizing it. As fortune or perhaps misfortune would have it we found the Warren County Canoe Access site near Lake Luzerne just as the noon hour approached and our bellies signaled the need for nourishment. Hmmm, now that I think back on it, the partially submerged brown and yellow access sign in the river might have been a preview of things to come. Instead we basked in the warm sunshine while eating and chatting never giving it another thought. Eventually it was time to launch once more and head to our final destination, the Hadley Town Park. It was somewhat less than a mile downstream but it took a lot longer to get there than we could have anticipated at that point. Bill and I stood in the water and helped everyone get back into their kayaks and launch safely once more. I was the last one to float my boat, and as I backed out I noticed that some in our group had waited upstream a bit, just to be sure the two of us were OK. We were, but I hadn't paddled more than a few hundred feet (or perhaps yards, I don't remember) downstream when I heard shouting behind me. Bill's friend, Ann, had capsized. Apparently one end of her paddle was held firmly under her kayak by the current and the rest was history. There were several in our group ready to assist her, so I tried to salvage her kayak. I managed to get it, upside down, over the deck of my kayak and empty the water out of it, then suddenly I looked up and said to myself, "Oh, S _ _ _"! All I could see was a large tree growing near the bank, looming ahead and I was closing in on it faster than I cared to. It had several small branches hanging vertically down to the river's surface, and I was heading straight for them with Ann's kayak across my bow. The current was still quite fast so before I could react, I was swimming too. The good news is that Tom was right there, ready to assist if necessary. After swimming a few hundred feet I was able to get close enough to the river bank so that I could stand up and put my bilge pump to good use. Eventually I was able to climb back in and join the others. Ann, apparently found the water so refreshing that she decided to hang onto Bill's kayak and float/swim to the Hadley side rather than try to get back in her kayak. None the worse for wear, the two us, plus our 7 dry comrades, made it to the Town Park where we changed into delightfully warm clothes. Never let it be said that Crooked Cane's outings are dull and boring. Life is an adventure and we live it to the fullest. Afterwards we decided to stop at the nearby Stewart's to celebrate a safe ending to an unplanned adventure. As for me, it just seemed fitting to have a cone loaded with Death by Chocolate ice cream; which was a much more pleasant experience than death by Hudson. This was Ann's first Cane's outing but hopefully it won't be her last. Many thanks to Tom for leading this trip and to Bill, Ann, Don, Dale, Eric, Rose and Joanne for joining us. Ray for Tom

12 photos



Don and Tom leading the way.



Ann and Bill cruising along.



Joanne enjoying the fairly placid water for a minute or two.



Eric and Rose.



OK Dale, where did you put the fishing pole and worms?



Our group paddling under blue skies and puffy clouds with the wind at our backs. What more could you ask for? It was the kind of day that you would like to last forever.



Hugging the shore amid many shades of green.



Tom, at our lunch spot, making sure everyone was accounted for.



Lunch at last.



This sign was also at our lunch spot on River Rd., not too far from Lake Luzerne. It serves as a reminder that River road would be a great place to go for a quiet bike ride on a back country road. You could even throw in a hike to Bear Slide for good measure.



Ann is back in some warm, dry clothes and she has a smile on her face so as they say, "All's well that ends well".



Bill hamming it up as he shows all of us the "boo boo" that he sustained during the ordeal. Nice legs Bill.




Lessons learned by yours truly on Tuesday: 1- My $300 WATERPROOF binoculars weren't, even though they were in a rubber, water resist deck bag that took on a mere tablespoon or two of water. Fortunately the 25 yr. warranty is still in effect. 2- The WATERPROOF flashlight that I carry in the pocket of my life jacket wasn't. No damage done. 3- I checked my clear plastic Seal Line Dry Bag before leaving home to see if I could store my camera in it. It wasn't, so I didn't use it. 4- I double bagged my camera in gallon zip lock freezer bags and put it in my deck bag during the trip. It was there during the dunk and it stayed dry. 5- The "sealed" storage compartment in the rear of my kayak took on a quarter to a half cup of water when the kayak was upside down in the water. Everything in it was stored in waterproof containers that held. Storage compartments cannot be truly water tight because any significant temperature change would cause the compartment or its lid to explode or implode. Typically a tiny hole is drilled near the top of the wall behind your seat. 5- My spare clothes were in a 10L dry bag (previously checked) tethered to the kayak and stored behind my seat. It stayed in and the clothes were dry. Boy did they felt good. In short, don't trust "Waterproof" labels and don't trust "Dry Bags" with your valuables without testing them first. Tie everything down. When the inevitable happens, smile ;-) .

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