Sunday, November 5, 2017

Last Paddle of Autumn

Frost is finally predicted for this coming week, the latest I can ever remember. And the forecast is also for chilly rain in the days to come.  Seems like a good time to take my canoe back to Hornbeck's for repairs before I store it away for the winter, but first, I covered the leaks with duct tape and went for a final paddle on the Hudson River.

The day was gray, but the woods along the river still glowed with the last embers of autumn colors.

The little birches and the highbush blueberries added especially vivid flashes.

The river was so high when I put in on Satruday, I could hear the water roaring over the Sherman Island Dam some considerable distance downstream, so I headed that way to observe the tumultuous plummeting. Inching as close to the edge as I dared, I beached my boat and climbed up the bank for a better view.

This dam has a most remarkable horseshoe shape.

I doubt I would have survived if my boat had gone over the edge to be dashed on the rocks below!

Paddling back, I took my time marveling at the glorious landscape that surrounds the river along this stretch, with forested mountains as far as the eye can see, and except for the road that follows the far bank, very few signs of human habitation.

The close-up views were equally delightful, as a momentary sunbeam broke through the clouds to illumine this maple bough.

Now that the Witch Hazel shrubs have dropped their leaves, their starry yellow flowers stood out against a backdrop of dark-green conifers.

An abundant patch of Wintergreen had found its niche in a crack of a riverside boulder.  I rejoiced in realizing that these glossy green leaves and plump red berries will emerge from winter's ravages next spring looking just as beautiful as they do today. I will seek them out when I return for my first paddle of next year.

Every time I re-enter this quiet boulder-lined cove to beach my boat, I feel reluctant to leave.  There's a fragrance here of moss and pine and damp soil, and centuries of flowing water have carved deep-shadowed hollows in the rocks.  I lingered here for quite some time, breathing in the cool fragrant air and offering thanks that I live in a place where such natural beauty abounds.


The Furry Gnome said...

Hard to believe a last paddle in November! Quite a unique semi-circular dam too.

Anonymous said...

Very nice. Thanks for sharing with all of us.

Alan said...

So beautiful! a great last ride for sure. (Those "falls" are impressive!)

Woody Meristem said...

Late in the year for a last paddle. A few years ago I told my dear wife I wanted to put a canoe or kayak in the water in every month -- then I regained my sanity, so I never have. Hornbeck boats are great and so is Pete; a few years ago I cracked mine by riding it up on a submerged stump, Pete put other work aside and fixed it while I waited.

Jacqueline Donnelly said...

Thanks, friends, for adding your comments to this post. I love knowing you come along with me on my hikes and paddles.

Woody, I share your wish to paddle in every season, since the waterways offer something of beauty and/or interest in every season. I have paddled into December, so long as ice hadn't built up close to the shore. Then I am happy to switch to snowshoes for my outdoor adventures. The problem is, it's hard to avoid getting splashed a bit while paddling, and even Polarfleece gets cold when it's soaking wet. And now the water is oozing up from where I have scraped the bow on the rocks too many times, wearing off the glaze. Yes, I know Pete Hornbeck will fix it up in no time! What a great guy!

Unknown said...

I love your posts- I hope to get a cheap kayak and explore the way you do. I am always hiking but a boat can take you magical places.