Lehigh with a dog and a raft and a stand up paddle boarder at 3k

Lehigh River nearly Mega Release

By | Boating

After much back and forth we hiked down the damn dam (aka F. E Walter Dam) and launched in the rapids of doom which proved to be almost nothing, though certainly enough to wake you up and probably the steepest drop on the entire the river…and many hours later we made it the Glen.

Probably too many miles but really beautiful. Camping at Mauch Chunk Lake the night before watching the moon slowly traverse the lake was a bonus.

And a plug for the swiftwater rescue training course I took a month ago. At the put in at White Haven a couple of guys launched in a 2 person plastic pool toy quality inflatable kayak and promptly wrapped around a small bushy tree.

The Whitewater Challengers raft leader next to me first jeered, then said ‘we warned them’, then said ‘someone better help them’ That’s when I looked up from stowing the gear in my boat. More below pictures of trip….

Both guys were stuck on top of each other in the kayak-like plastic toy. Turns out front guys feet had slid under the footrest which was nothing but an inflated tube running across the boat effectively pinning him.  Back guy slipped into and under front guy pinning back guy. Only front guy’s hold on the tree with one hand was keeping both of their heads above water and neither of them had anything solid in the boat to push against nor a knife to cut themselves out.

From the swiftwater rescue training I knew right what to do.  Walking down along shore till I was just below them I waded in thru fast water over my knees into the waist deep eddy the 2 stuck paddlers were creating. One of the guides braced me while I pushed back  guy up river and free. The guy whose legs were under the foot brace took more pushing as he was stuck almost to his waist, but by staying in the eddy and pillow they were creating i was able to move him up. I even told them to swim feet up once they came free…Once he was out, in trying to get the raft free my footing slipped and I knew not to try to fight it and floated downstream.

By the time I walked back up they had a rope on the toy and were hauling it out. The pinned guy was quite nice about thanking me. I don’t think he went back on the water.

Knowing what to do and knowing to hurry but be calm and careful…thanks again Wayne Gman.

fireworks from hackensack

Hackensack River Fireworks

By | Boating, Trips

Well, it wasn’t my most successful trip, what with vast unexpected crowds in Johnson Park, rain, darkness. Still 7 of us managed to hit the water and see the fireworks after a quick trip home for extra rain gear. At least 2 folks missed hooking up due to the unexpected crowds…DSC00480.JPG DSC00472.JPG DSC00471.JPG

Below are some pictures taken from my boat in 2013 (as well as 1 of the NY skyline) when it wasn’t raining and I could use the good camera.

And paddling in the Hack is not for the very squeamish…a fair amount of litter, lots of mud and some downright toxic stuff down in the Meadowlands. But it’s also full of bird life that’s habituated to humans and some stretches like above route 4 or in the back channels of the Meadowlands can feel remote, even if you never get away from the sound of cars.

For anyone who wants to try it high tide is a lot better than low and I use this tide chart and there’s a whole ton of places you can launch on the Hack.   orig-on-sea_070413_tomhartphoto__mg_8124.jpg orig-on-sea_070413_tomhartphoto__mg_8123.jpg orig-on-sea_070413_tomhartphoto__mg_8122.jpg orig-on-sea_070413_tomhartphoto__mg_8120.jpg orig-on-sea_070413_tomhartphoto__mg_8119.jpg TomHartPhoto_092014_img_6756.jpg

emerites trying to stay up on their foils.

Mother’s Day America’s Cup racing on the Hudson

By | Boating

Spent Mother’s Day with my mother and a few hundred thousand others watching the foiling catamarans get foiled by the funky winds and tides of the Hudson. With the river barely a mile wide and 50 story buildings to windward and the outgoing tide just raging I’m sure it was seriously challenging sailing…but I do wish they’d been able to stay up on the foils. So what we saw was really a catamaran race. 3 years ago we would have thought that was exciting.

Still it was a beautiful day and how lucky am I that my Mother could enjoy it and deal with these massive crowds. And the few seconds we saw them up on their foils makes me want to travel to see them at a location with better wind…or maybe they’ll listen to me and do it again next year south and east of Liberty State Park.

Click a picture to see a full size slideshow. Escape will get you back to the site.TomHartPhoto_050816_img_5963.jpg TomHartPhoto_050816_img_5962.jpg TomHartPhoto_050816_img_5961.jpg TomHartPhoto_050816_img_5957.jpg TomHartPhoto_050816_img_5955.jpg TomHartPhoto_050816_img_5948.jpg TomHartPhoto_050816_img_5947.jpg TomHartPhoto_050816_img_5946.jpg TomHartPhoto_050816_img_5945.jpg TomHartPhoto_050816_img_5943.jpg TomHartPhoto_050816_img_5941.jpg TomHartPhoto_050816_img_5940.jpg TomHartPhoto_050816_img_5939.jpg TomHartPhoto_050816_img_5938.jpg TomHartPhoto_050816_img_5937.jpg TomHartPhoto_050816_img_5936.jpg TomHartPhoto_050816_img_5935.jpg TomHartPhoto_050816_img_5932.jpg TomHartPhoto_050816_img_5931.jpg TomHartPhoto_050816_img_5930.jpg TomHartPhoto_050816_img_5927.jpg TomHartPhoto_050816_img_5926.jpg TomHartPhoto_050816_img_5922.jpg

teaneck color run

Teaneck Color Run

By | Running

It started really late, nearly the entire pack was lost with only the top 5 finishers running the course and the rest showing up at the finish from the wrong direction many minutes late…but they had a great time and it’s a nice part of Teaneck, nestled as it is up against I-95 (and Teaneck Creek Nature Center).

Results, such as they were, at .There’s  a huge gap after the fifth finisher…obviously where the leaders got a gap and everyone else got off course.

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Vast crowds on the Great Swamp

Great Swamp of Patterson

By | Boating

Beautiful day, beautiful trip, thanks once again Bob.

Swelled by resent rains, the Great Swamp was several feet above it’s usually muddy early summer levels, allowing us to short cut a few of the s-bends, but also making us deal with actual current, especially after the channel got constricted below our lunch break on 22.

We started just below the Patterson Train station (going past station, taking left on dirt road and going more or less straight). With 21 people it took a while to hit the water, but it was a beautiful day and not a bad spot to wait.

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Bergen County Cross Country Meet of Champions

By | Running

2 observations.

  1. Cross Country on a fall day is a beautiful sport
  2. I know a lot more about cross country then I do about football, basketball  or any of the other sports I usually shoot. I feel those athletes pain and triumph. Not that I ever would have been any better then a solid of middle of the packer in a race like this, but I can understand and empathize with all the work and all the effort they put out on the course.  Even the middle of the packers are working pretty hard.
    josette norris finishing.

    Josette Norris finishing 2nd

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battoe moon at new bridge

Re-enactors bringing to life the running battles for Bergen County around Hackensack

By | Boating, Events, History

Another well done event by the Bergen County Historical Society highlighted by the Battoe ‘Moon’, a replica 18th Century bateau brought down to Hackensack by Cap’n Scott Monro. Nice to have a boat back at New Bridge Landing as the site is where it is not only because it was a convenient place to put a bridge across the Hackensack but also because it was a convenient landing for boats sailing up the river from New York.

The  Battoe rowed up from the New (and quite nice) launch site by the submarine Ling early on Saturday morning and back on Sunday.

Up at New Bridge Landing they had a number of re-enacted battles…Sunday afternoons crowds, thanks to a beautiful fall day, were impressive.


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approaching the west cornwall covered bridge

Housatonic with HRCKC

By | Boating

Another great trip led by Bob Rancan. Really beautiful country which is the biggest reason I’m posting this. With him mountains all around it’s the prettiest river I’ve  floating within driving distance.

Originally Bob had planned to lead a trip on the Shepaug, but lower water moved the trip for Bob’s annual escape from the traditional start of trout season in our home state of New Jersey so you don’t want to be on Jersey rivers with a group trip. Flow was about 500 cfs at Falls Village . The record low flow for April 7th made things a bit scratchy but eliminated the big waves and trickier moves….or at least those that happened fast. Read More

girls group b start crossing the sand pit

County Group XC Championships

By | Running

Bergen County 2011 High School Group Cross Country Running championships at Darlington County Park in Mahwah.

As a runner in my past life I’d wanted to shoot cross country for sometime….arrived a bit late for the top boys race…Darlington is a big place and the start finish area was in the back with no parking all too close. Took me a couple of races to get the good vantage so most of the good shots are of the girls ‘b’ race (big schools) and some from the girls ‘a’ (awfully big schools).

One thing my coach always did was have folks at end of the race with Gatorade and a shoulder to help us out. Virtually none of these girls had help and a lot could have used it. So thanks, coach Griffith.

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Cliffside Park at Ridgefield Park Girls Soccer

By | Soccer

OK…2 mediocre teams but a beautiful new park and a beautiful day.

Ridgefield Park dominated but Cliffside Park was able to tie it up it in the final minutes of regulation.

Ridgefield Park celebrating after scoring winning goal.

Ridgefield Park celebrating after scoring winning goal.

Most of the way thru the second overtime Ridgefield Park scored on a long kick and the girls exuberance was a thing to behold.

Game was played at the new Overpeck Park fields….the county spent millions converting this trash heap into a park and did a hell of a job. Nestled between a tidal basin controlled by a flood gate (so it’s really a lake) and I-95, the field was beautiful, the views of the back side of the Palisades and the city spectacular. Did a short paddle around after the game and some egrets posed for me.

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