After a rather harrowing drive, discovering the water problems and the dry creek, all described in the previous post (link above) , my first full day at the park was the beginning of a week of temperatures that ranged between 92 and 98 degrees. Often hotter than it was in Virginia. I checked their temperatures every day wondering why I’d driven 550 miles to bake here rather than there. I took to the trail early to try to beat the heat
and this time I went the other direction and ended up at the Hudson. Big river, big boats, potential for rough water. I might consider kayaking along the shore but it just didn’t feel like my kind of place. More for speedboats like this or barges.
RATS, I’d really thought there would be kayaking on an island surrounded by water.
Looking north on the Hudson from the park under continually gray skies.
Looking south. Seems Industrial. Not many wildlife pictures to be had me thinks. But then what do I know?
Later I learned that the park in includes 3 large and at least 3 smaller islands now joined into one land mass by the Hudson River dredging spoil and attached at the north end to the mainland south of the village of Castleton-on-Hudson. That technically makes it a peninsula not an island.
A sign explained this to me and shocked me by also explaining that the Hudson is a TIDAL RIVER. It’s 150 miles north of New York. Way closer to the Finger Lakes. I’d call this up state New York. How can it be tidal? But that would explain the creek yesterday afternoon. Time to get a tide chart.
The area around the Hudson boat launch and waterfront is a big day use area with lots of benches, picnic tables, grilles, some pavilions and this great kids play area. I wished Colin and Celia had been here though it was getting too hot to consider running around. At least for me, maybe not for them.
Here’s some but not all of the story trail. It was very well done by the library which I intend to visit before I leave.
It not only had the story of the beavers but information about beavers and their unique teeth as well as facts about who else uses a beaver pond and lodge. You can click on any of the pictures below to make them larger.
By now it was getting way too hot and way way too humid and way way way too many gnats and mosquitoes. The sweat was rolling down my neck by the time I hiked by this bird blind. It might deserve a return trip WAY earlier in the morning but as a tiny inlet off the big Hudson, I wonder whether I’d see any feathered folks there. I’d definitely stayed out too long. It was approaching 95 degrees when I got back to Winnona and it wasn’t even noon.
Early next morning, now knowing about the tidalness of the creek, I hiked over and check it out at at 6:30am. It was already hot even though there was good cloud cover. The last time I had been here, I had been looking only at the the absent creek and didn’t even register the sign.
This time I paid attention to the BIG RED sign and to the situation surrounding kayaking here. As in, you have to park at the top and either put wheels on your kayak and roll it down the steep path going off to the left in the first picture and then back UP that same steep path when you come back or take the kayak down and then up the stairs. For two people, no problem. But a consideration for me. Car parking is only at the top you cannot drive down the path.
Sure enough, the dock was floating and I could walk out on it. No muddy creek sides visible.
It’s a really well done launch. You can set your boat over the side or go down the rubber ramp and push off.
I eventually learned that it is 5 miles in this direction, up stream, to the Hudson and 9.5 to the boat launch at the day use area on the Hudson. At that point you could leave your kayak and hike back here to get your car. Wonder where you’d lock your kayak? And you’d have to hike with all your gear.
I also learned that looking upstream there is that bridge and then the waterway gets smaller, narrower and harder to navigate especially as the tide goes out. Sorry the pictures are so dark.
I was very surprised when Mary and her parents showed up to go out. Her dad tied her little boat with wings onto the back of his. Mary told me she was 5 and had only been in the boat in a swimming pool so she was a little scared. But not too much she said because her mom would be right next to her.
Her mom helped her in and off they went. Not sure how Mary will do any paddling with those wings in her way but she doesn’t really need to since Dad is towing her. Her little paddle is so cute and so is she.
I was worried about the burning sun and her uncovered legs but they can’t go too far up stream before they will have to turn around and head back.
Too hot and sweaty for me although there was a small breeze on the creek.
Wish I’d been kayaking with my parents at age 5. Just think of the fun family adventures they will have over the years.
Long story short. The heat wilted me over the days I was here and as the high tide got later in the morning and the air was thick and hot when I stepped outside first thing to go hiking, I just could not make myself go to the trouble of getting the kayak down to the dock and launching it.
If I could have taken it off the car once and locked it up down there and gone out for just an hour or so when the morning’s high tide wasn’t too late, I would have done that. Perhaps I could have kayaked the evening high tide but it never seemed to cool off here. And there was no way to lock the kayak at the launch.
I really would like to have done the 9.5 mile kayak down the entire creek to the Hudson and up to the take out there. But it was just so hot and it would have been 3 or 4 hours on the water. Would have been great if it had been cooler. Again that is something I might well have done had David been here to make it all easier and more fun. I need a kayaking companion. Any volunteers??
I did hike early every morning mostly searching for the path out to the view of the creek that you can see on this trail map. See the binocular sign on that red spur down the creek on the right side of the map? That’s where I wanted to go.
But the red trail wasn’t where the map shows and there were unlabeled trails marked open to hunting – in season I assume – that were not on the map.
I found some picnic tables but they weren’t where the map shows them either. I was able over the days to hike the blue and yellow and mixed trails that loop around but simply could not find that creek side viewing spot so far down from the launch. Only the main yellow trail was well marked and in some cases very wide.
My last attempt at taking every spur in the vicinity of the one I was looking for ended me up on this. There was a slight trail in the picture on the left and plants up to my waist. It did turn in to the one on the right and led to the Hudson not the creek. I gave up.
On my final day, the temperature was 96 and I drove into Castleton-on-Hudson to visit the library which was in a beautiful Victorian building. I thought it must be a regional library in order to have that many books. I always visit the libraries everywhere I travel that I am close to a small town.
Perhaps the industrial style door should have given me a clue but I was shocked when I stepped inside to a dark straight hallway with doors on both sides. This was the town’s municipal office building and clearly all the character had been taken out of the house.
The first door on the right was the little library. When the librarian offered to give me a tour I tried to determine if she was joking and then said sure. She walked me down one side and up the other reading the labels on the wall that said Youth Fiction, Adult Nonfiction and so on.
In looking around on my own, I did find a couple of unique things. The first was in the narrow bookcase labeled LOCAL. There were a set of books of interviews with older life long residents of the town which talked about and showed pictures of the town in its hay day. It seems to have died with the advent of the shopping center “up the road” about 15 miles. In the 40’s it was bustling with 4 car dealers, 2 hardware stores, a movie theater and a dozen restaurants. This week the librarian told me when I asked where I could go to get a local bite to eat, the last restaurant closed. Very sad.
This book was dictated by a man born in the early 40’s so his youth was in the 40’s and 50’s. I was taken by an old TV that I remember seeing in my grandmother’s house and by Howdy Doody and Buffalo Bob who were on TV when I was a little girl. There were 5 other dictated books which showed even earlier eras of the town and the farming community it had originally been.
Small as it is, this is a very active library. I was quite impressed with the things beyond books that they loan out and that they do. Hanging on this pole were all kinds of baking pans to check out. They loan out garden tools and other things. They have take home craft and science kits, art classes, games on the lawn, yoga and of course the story walk I saw at the park and others around town. The events and services provided by this library far outshine what goes on in the much Charlottesville Library and its branches. I was very very impressed. Take a look for yourself at their newsletter and see the things they are doing in July. I should have come here first thing, I would have come for the yoga class – IF it wasn’t raining that day. Is your local library this active??
Of course it was a cloudy, rainy day when I visited the library and took these pictures as I drove through town. I have lightened them so you can see the one flashing light in town and the banners of their war heroes hanging from the telephone poles on the right side of the street.
There were some nice old buildings, mostly empty along the street, their backs against the river.
Somehow I didn’t feel right about walking through the town taking pictures. There was really no where to be going. I was happy about the active library but sad that the town had lost so much to “progress”. I wonder if they would say they are better off now?
I’ll close with the only wildlife I saw at the park. He and his family, I assume, were around all the time and pretty much everywhere.
I’m heading further north to try to escape the heat. Glad this wasn’t the weather the year we spent the summer in the Finger Lakes of New York and had a wonderful time.
Coming to you next time from St. Johnsbury Vermont.