Sunday, November 29, 2015

Runyak for Liberty Days 99 thru 103

Runyaking: Kayaking a waterway from one point to another point, leaving the kayak, then running back to where the kayak was placed in the water to get the kayak's transport vehicle.

On April 27, 2009 Riley McLincha began runyaking from the source of his home watershed, the Flint River near Oxford MI. His goal is to runyak all the way to the Statue of Liberty. Thus far, after 103 days of runyaking, he has traveled 2220 miles and is in Kingston, NY on the Hudson River. 

Runyak for Liberty Days 99 thru 103

If you are new to this blog you may want to start at the beginning.
If that is the case see archive to the right. Or feel free to start here.

Days 98 thru 103 map

Runyak for Liberty Day 99, October 22, 2015

Leaving home about noon the previous day, and driving with minimal stops I made it close to where I'd launch, Coxsackie, NY by 9:00 pm. I slept in the van at a McDonald after removing Swiftee and making room for an air mattress and myself.

Next morning the sun was near rising, about 6:00 am, when I placed Swiftee where I would I'd begin paddling.
From there I drove the van and parked it at a "landing" I hoped to get to by lunchtime. I was expecting to do a runyak of over 23 miles. To appease my legs I decided to divide the 12 miles up, do a morning run of about 7 miles, and a post kayak run of about 5 miles.

The first landing, where I planted the van was in the village of Athens in the TOWNship of Athens, in the county of Greene.
 Athens, NY
I was perturbed when seeing landing where I planned my midday stop in Athens, it was not in the water, but sitting in the parking lot. It had already been  yank out from the Hudson for the year. It is October, great colorful time of the year for paddling. I'm only 18 miles from in New England, the autumn color mecca. Whoever took the landing out never gave a thought to that.

The Landing has landed (in parking lot) at Athens

On my run from Athens back to Swiftee I did catch some autumn color en-route.  

And, on the way I crossed Murderers Creek and was curious to how it got its name. As I've stated before, creeks in this colonial Dutch area are called "kills." So was creek originally Murderers Kill? 

Wikipedia had this to say about the waterway: The first references of the creek call it Mudenaer's Creek or Mudder Creek. In 1813, the body of a young woman named Sally Hamilton was found in the creek about half a mile north of its mouth. Local lore has it that the modern name of the creek originated from this event

I had a easy 8:30 am push-off from Coxsackie Boat Launch, and ahead the sun was trying its best to break through the clouds

 In the 7 miles of paddling back to Athens the fall colors of the Hudson did not disappoint me.

 The Athens restaurant named after the Greek god of the vine did not stop me for I had beer in my van nearby. 

Because the landing, which can be seen far beyond, was pulled from the river, I had to do a balancing act to exit Swiftee.

I was out of the water from 12:20 pm to 12:50 pm. With just a beer and and cookie lunch, then a call home, I was back at it.
Paddling another 4 miles I pulled into Dutchman's Landing in Catskill, NY. just after passing under the Rip Van Winkle Bridge. Since Albany, where the river is only 1/6 mile wide, the RVW is only the 2nd bridge I've gone under. The river here at Catskill is nearly 3/4 mile wide.
It was windy and chilly when I got out of Swiftee. Something I did not notice when paddling. I took a few minutes to talk to a group of senior citizens (my age) sitting around a picnic table. It seemed as if it could have been their daily hangout. They told me that Dutchman's Landing had been a city dump when they were young.

Running away from the landing into the village of Catskill, and 4 miles beyond, was a uphill battle. The first 2 miles took me a half-an-hour. In doing so I ran by THE Catskill. Remember? Kill is a creek, so the Catskill Mountains name comes from the kill that runs down from them and into the Hudson.

 Fall running in the Village of Catskill

I arrived back to the van in Athens at about 4:00 pm, but it seemed almost dark. I thought it was much later, going on 6:00 pm, for that is what my cellphone said.  Not until letting the wife, Hope know I was finished runyaking for the day, did she set me straight on what time it really was. I know when, but not how it happened. When paddling under the Rip Van Winkle bridge my battery went dead and I inserted a fully charged battery. For some reason after the fresh battery was installed, the date and time was incorrect. Finding out what time it really was was great, I had time to go to two breweries not just one
 Crossroads Brewing, Athens, NY
Chatham Brewing, Chatham, NY

Day 99 - 12.0 run, 11.4 yaked

Runyak for Liberty Day 100, Oct 23, 2015

On this trip I plan on doing 5 days instead of the usual 4 days. Back at home I'd done some estimating recently and found that doing 4 day trips, it was going to take 4 more trips to New York. By doing 5 day trips I could cut it down to this trip then two more. So on this 2nd day of the 5, I again wanted to break the run into two parts, a pre-kayak and a post-kayak. There were no landings between Swiftee would start and finish. I'd have to paddle without a van stopover like I did yesterday. One of the first pre-runyaking, things-to-do, this morning was to find a place between the start and finish where I could leave the van. Somewhere near the middle I found the pull-off area on US 9W. I did not know at the time it was property of Lehigh Cement.

This is the closest I'll get to the the true Catskill Mountains but running on US 9W, between the Hudson and the mountains, many times I was in falling rock area. 

After the 6 mile run, and paddling from village of Catskill, the mountains were very visible on my starboard side.

The 9.5 mile paddle started out at a better than normal pace of about 17 min/mi and but by the last mile, I was paddling in the 13 min/mi range. All because the tidal water movement accelerated as I paddled.

After 11.4 miles of this paddling scenery on my portside.....

landed at a mini-park in Malden.

Before the afternoon 4.5 mile run back to the van and lunched on beer and jerky and pretzels. 

On the run back more than one trains passed. On this side of Hudson, the US highway, and freight railroad, are pinched between the river and the Catskills. Yet, there are way more trains seen on on the east side of the river with commuter trains passing about every half hour. 

Most freight is cement and aggregates from Lehigh Cement Co. Cement has been the industry of this stretch for a century. There was even a town called Cementon. Today running by, it was basically a ghost town. 

 As soon as I finished my run and unlocked my van, a pickup appeared from a driveway which led to quarry on the opposite side of the river. It pulled into the parking area I was in. A septuagenarian stepped out and said, "Riley."
How'd he know my name?

He, in a civil manner, basically read the riot act to me. Seems I was on private property. Property of Lehigh Cement. The man, Argus, was a security guard for the company and had been waiting in the quarry driveway for many hours for me to show up. I parked at 9 a.m. in the morning it was now 4:30.

He pointed to where there was a "private property" sign. It was quite small and on a utility pole facing the road. Pulling in from the direction I came from, no way did I see it.

"How did you know my name?"

"I called the state police, they were here. They got your name from the card on your dashboard."

It was a "Runyaker" card that I'd jammed in the crevice of my air bag compartment. I'd stuck it there months ago to stop a rattling noise I'd been having.

"We had no idea where you were, thought you climbed the fence and was maybe in the cement plant somewhere."

I apologized for being ignorant of the sign and rent-a-cop was satisfied. After driving away I wondered... why didn't they just call the cell number that was visible on the card?

One more story to add to "times the law got involved with my kayaking" over the past 10 years.

Day 100 - 10.50 run, 9.1 yaked

Runyak for Liberty Day 101, Oct 24, 2015

Again, today I planned to divide the run into two parts, one before the paddle, one after. Again, I looked for a place to park the van between the two points. The best place I found to position it was at a church six miles south of the village of Saugerties.
Flatbush Church

After what happened yesterday, causing trouble by parking without permission, I made an effort to get permission to leave the van at Flatbush Church. I searched the internet and found the church's website. I called the pastor, Jennifer Bendelius. I got no answer, so left a message. I also found her Facebook page and left a message there also. Plus, I left a "Runyaker" card on the dashboard and a note explaining I was a Michigan kayaker. 

It was a pleasant 6.25 mi run to Swiftee at Malden Mini-park landing , especially through the town of Saugerties. 

 I'd learned from a Facebook post from friend back in Michigan that Saugerties is the hometown of Jimmy Fallon and his parents still live there. I kept that in mind as I ran through. I truly enjoyed the scenes of the town, although I couldn't imagine Jimmy coming home for anything but to see his parents. There was no "Hometown of Jimmy Fallon" signage anywhere.

Saugerties did have a small but nice farmers market. I interrupted my run to check it out. I had a few bucks in my pocket. I thought of buying a bake good if anything looked good. Nothing caught my eye and I went trotting off.

 When arriving back at Malden Min-park Landing I found Swiftee sitting in water.
When I left him yesterday he was on ground. It's a good think I always cable and lock him or he'd have been long gone.

The tide was still coming in. I would be another hour before heading out to sea again. Besides dealing with incoming tide the wind was also coming from the south. It made for some rough water and twice my mile pace was over 45 minutes. I believe that is the most time it has ever taken to progress a mile in Swiftee. It doesn't take that long to portage Swiftee a mile!

Just as the tide turned and my pace began to accelerate, and I passed Saugerties Lighthouse.

But, just as my pace began to accelerate, waves became very large, so I began decelerating. Then I began battling whitecaps and became unnerved. Ahead I saw a peninsula, with a house at the tip, concerned I may soon capsize I began flailing the paddle in hopes to stay upright. Everything about the situation reminded me of Day 19, trying to get to a rocky shoreline of a breakwater at Grindstone City, MI. That day I lost the battle and was flipped in what turned out to be frigid 3-ft of water. Here today, I surely was in water over my head. 

Today I won the battle. I managed to debark on the breakwater's boulders, then pull Swiftee up to the top of the peninsula, without getting very wet. I was now safe from one more of the many high adrenaline moments of the 101 days of runyaking toward my goal.

I was cold from the winds and headed to the leeward side of the house, which seemed abandoned. I then called Hope to let her know I was out of the water, and explained my situation. What to do next... I had no idea. I had to take some time and think about it.

The peninsula was narrow, 40-ft wide, and half-mile long, that had a two-track trail that led off the peninsula. The boulders on the windward side were being bashed by waves. No way could I re-enter there. In the distance, up the two-track trail, rocks were not seen, a tidal marsh was seen instead. I hoped I could find a place in the tidal marsh where I could re-enter. Dragging the kayak and getting close to the trails other end, I did not see anywhere I could relaunch.

I did notice that the wind had died down. Had it really? Was it just being blocked my the marsh vegetation that kept getting larger the closer I got to mainland? I had to know, so I let go of Swiftee and walked all the way back toward the point the view the rocks.

When there, again I discovered high winds, and boulders still being bashed by waves, I turned around went back to get the kayak of the peninsula.

At the mainland end of the peninsula was at a private marina. I was still looking for a way through the marsh, so continued to search for a re-entry spot. As I did marina workers eyeballed my with suspicion.

After seeing there was no way of getting back into the river from the south-side, I decided to walk back to the van, back at Flatrock Church, which was over 4 miles away. It would be faster to run but I had to save those running muscles for two remaining days of runyaking.

I next talked to one of persons who moments before was giving me suspicious looks. I explained why I was here and asked if I could leave the kayak overnight. He said there'd be a storage fee. 

NO WAY was I gong to pay. I'd traveled over a thousand mile without ever paying for storage, launching, or locking. Not going to start now. I told him I'd be back to pick the kayak up. Then, when not being watched, I hid Swiftee in undercover near the the two-track peninsula trail.

Leaving Swiftee, I felt dejected, for on Day 101 I'd only gained two mile toward my goal. I walked in low spirits knowing the next day, or whenever I continued, I'd have to walk the same distance the opposite direction.

When a mile into the walk, I past a kiosk-like bakery, Sugar Me Sweet, that had a drive-thru . I went inside and bought a whoopie pie with ganache frosting and buttercream filling. It was delicious and gave me the sugar high I needed to get me out of the "woe is me" doldrums.

Day 100 - 6.25 run, 2.3 yaked

Runyak for Liberty Day 102, Oct 25, 2015

I kept a close watch on the weather report. It said until the afternoon, all winds would still be coming from the south. At noon it would switch and come from the northwest. I was skeptical that a nearly 180 degree switch would happen. I drove to the marina and walked the 1/2 mile to the peninsula's end.  
From the house it still was to rough to launch before 11:00 am.

 Abandoned house at peninsula's end

After 11:00 a.m. I made a decision to launch, hoping the weather report would be correct. It was a Sunday and being late October I figured the marina was closed. As I was preparing Swiftee for launch, I saw the man who yesterday said I'd have to pay to store Swiftee overnight. I learned he was the marina's boat mechanic. I asked if I could leave the van until late afternoon. He seemed reluctant to give permission and told me to park at the road's berm, off marina property. His mood changed the more we talked and he eventually showed me where on marina property I could park. It was very close to the water.

 The water was Esopus Creek, one of the larger kills coming out of the Catskill Mountains.

 I launched and paddle out to the Esopus's mouth, to the same Saugerties Lighthouse I'd passed the day before.

Once in the Hudson, I faced the peninsula where I'd previously aborted.

 House and peninsula

From the lighthouse my planned  to paddle to the opposite side of the Hudson from the peninsula. Since yesterday, it occurred that maybe the water was rough only at the peninsula's end. My theory was the peninsula was blocking the "flow," and water was trying to get around peninsula causing turbulence at the point. I decided to paddle the furthest away from the point I could get, to the opposite side of the river where waves hopefully would be smaller. 

It worked, I had no problem getting around the point, but unsure if it was because my theory was correct, or that the wind direction had changed as forecasted. Very likely a combination. The winds did change, and I had good, if not great, paddling all the way to my finish point, Charles Rider Park Boat Launch.

Rider Park was 6.5 miles from Saugerties Lighthouse, and just past the Kingston-Rhinecliff Bridge.

The 3rd bridge across the Hudson after Albany. River here is 0.85 mi. wide.

 As I approached the bridge my paddle pace began accelerating for the tide was heading out. From the bridge to the landing my average pace was under 13 min./mi.! Twenty-four hours ago it was 45 min./mi.! 
When paddling with, or against the tide, I don't see any current, so it is hard to tell the difference. The tide seems almost magnetic, or like some sort of invisible force.

After landing I had to run back to Flatbush Church, over 4 miles. Of course I wouldn't be done, because my van wasn't there. It was back at the Saugerties Marina. I had a 4.25 mile walk after the run. I could have ran it but it would not count as "runyak" mileage according to runyaking rules (which are made me myself)  
 Flatbush Church revisited.

 Kingston-Rhinecliff Bridge from Rider Park

I drove that evening over the toll bridge that an hour ago I'd paddled under. I went to the town of Hyde Park, hometown of FDR. My reason for going had nothing to do with him, but to go to Hyde Park Brewery for dinner. It was my 508th brewery.

Day 100 - 4.25 run, 6.6 yaked

Runyak for Liberty Day 103, Oct 26, 2015

The fifth runyaking day in a row. I've not done a 5 day trip since days Days 63 thru 76, over two years ago. As I stated, I'd done some estimating before the trip and I was going to need more than 12 days of runyaking to get to the Statue. Which meant more than three trips to finish. If I could add a couple day to the next couple trips I might be able to reduce it to just three trips. Today is one of those added days, but because of the aborted day 101, the plan is in jeopardy.

After preparing Swiftee I drove south on route US 9W that parallels the Hudson from Albany to the New Jersey state line. Its sister US 9 does the same on the east side of the river all the way to Manhattan. I drove to where the Hudson River Greenway's map said there was a landing, at Esopus Meadows Point. I searched for a long time but could not find it. I did manage to get to the river after quite a hike but there was no way I was going to portage Swifttee through the terrain. Although it was a beautiful fall hike.

I finally gave up and decided I'd have to do a shorter runyak leg, from Rider Park to to Kingston's Rondout Landing on the Rondout Creek.

The 3.7 mile paddle from Rider Park to Rondout Landing took just over 2 hours, even with some rough water. Each mile's time got faster with the change in the tide direction. 

Where I'd turn off the Hudson and enter Rondout Creek was marked by Rondout Lighthouse.

Rondout Creek

My landing was the property of Rondout Rowing Club. The entire area of Rondout Landing was like a town in itself but actually a enclave of the city of Kingston. I took plenty of time cleaning up and loading Swiftee. I was ready for lunch, but it seemed most restaurants were closed. It was 3:00 pm and a Monday. I did find an Irish pub that was open, but with no craft beer on tap I walked back to the van and had cold cuts and beer.

On the long drive home my thoughts kept going to how the five day trip turned into basically three days. I was hoping for at least 100 mile of runyaking, 50 running and 50 paddling. I ended up with just just over 70, or 37.5 running and 33 paddling. What that comes down to is three more trips instead of two. It perturbed me, but on the other hand, I'm glad I played it safe and aborted when faced with uncertain dangers of a possible capsize on day 101. 

When arriving home and looking at for the missing landing at Esopus Meadows Point, I found it. It was mis-marked on the Hudson Greenway map. There was a landing a half mile north of where I was wandering around. It would have given me another 9 miles of runyaking. Learning this, again I got all bent out of shape. Ughhhh!
Day 103 - run 4.5, yaked 3.7