Today was our first kayak outing of the year, timed very nicely with the first greater-than-90-degree day of the year. We hit the water at about 2, and got off at 6, stopping twice along the way (including once to visit with my friend Nick who was working on his sailboat). 6 miles in all, about 2 of which was pushing against the current.
The Hudson River is the defining geographic element around these parts. They don’t call it the Mid-Hudson Valley for nothing. 😉 Given that it is pretty amazing how few people really use the river for much. As we were kayaking along there were a bunch of things I realized that people who don’t spend time on the river don’t realize, so I decided I’d write them down for river neophytes out there:
- The River is Tidal, with Tidal delta about 3.5 in Poughkeepsie. Tidal affects occur all the way to Albany, where the river is dammed.
- From this, it follows that the River has saline content. Once you get a far North as Poughkeepsie, it is pretty dilute, though the area is still considered estuary, as it isn’t pure fresh water.
- The 3.5 foot tides also mean the river changes direction 4 times a day. The river runs almost as fast upstream as downstream (over 2 mph), as anyone who’s spent much time on a boat on it will tell you. The first time you realize the river is going backwards, it is definitely a shock, but as you understand it a bit more it makes sense.
- Whenever the river direction changes there is a very violent wave period for 30 – 60 minutes. I’m assuming the reason has to to with part of the water still making it downstream, while another part forces up. I’ve experienced it enough times that it is something very real, and becomes and interesting period of time to be in a kayak. 😉 I’ve tended to call this “the river fighting itself”, but I’m sure there is a better term for it.
- There are a bloody lot of giant Carp in the Hudson. I’m not sure where they come from, if they winter over, or what. But they are there, and this time of the year they are breading, so are seen quite a bit.
- The river flushes every year. From March -> June there is a ton of debris in the river (it seems to mostly flush out come late June). The debris is mostly water logged wood, which doesn’t do any harm to a kayak, but can do some nice damage to motor boat engines.
- There are Bald Eagles on the River. I’ve seen two now (one on July 4th last year), and they are pretty spectacular.
I’m sure there are other fun facts that I should add, but all of those seem to be bits that even people around here don’t know. If I think of anything else good, I’ll post it in future. If you’ve got anything else good, please stick it in comments.