Backyard: Short Kayak Paddle in the Hudson

Backyard: Small Kayak Paddle in the Hudson

By Ken Day

Backyard is your source for everyday adventure in Mechanicville. What’s everyday adventure? It’s hopping on a bike and discovering an amazing view twenty minutes from your house. It’s finding a swimming hole with a rope swing. It’s taking a dance class for no reason. It’s making a movie with friends. It’s recognizing that life is about doing, not waiting. The world is full of wonder– and the best place to start is just outside your door.

A pair of kayaks ready to take on the Hudson

I am one of few who are in town this weekend. It happens to be Sunday of Memorial Day weekend. Mechanicville is a ghost town. People are out on their boats, on vacation or somewhere else that is not Mechanicville.

It was a gorgeous day, with temperatures in the low 80’s, low humidity and a few small clouds in the sky. The thought popped into my head that I should go out for a paddle in the kayak. My last kayak experience was one to remember. About a year ago, a buddy and I decided to start from Mechanicville and end at Peebles Island in Cohoes (and paddle back). This overly ambitious adventure left me with a sunburn that lasted until the following winter and put me into some weird state of exhaustion (most likely from the sunburn). On the way back, I threw in the towel and decided to stop fighting the current. I had to call for a ride back into town.

That isn’t the reason I haven’t kayaked in over a year; I just haven’t had the time and the weather hasn’t been very cooperative.

I launched the kayak across the bridge on the east side of the river and paddled over to the city dock. There was only one other boat and only one person at the dock. I personally think that our dock is under appreciated and under used. While there isn’t much to do there except fish and admire the view of the Hudson or the calmness that it presents, it does provide some great resources for boaters – running water, electricity, quick access into town and ample room to dock up.

I climbed out of my kayak, sat down and reflected on the small paddle I’d just done. I noticed a younger woman sitting there soaking up the sun. She had her earbuds in and I can only imagine what she was listening to. She seemed to be enjoying herself by simply not doing anything but relaxing. I can respect that.

So I started paddling south towards the island. It’s unclear as to what this island is called. I know that locals frequent the island on their kayaks and boats and I’ve tried to hit golf balls to it a few times but without any luck. I wanted to check it out firsthand. I paddled around the entire island, which was just about a mile around. I could still see many downed trees and beached debris from Hurricane Irene.

I made it around the bend and started heading back north. I noticed a rope swing hanging freely from a leaning tree over the water. The tree was dead and the rope was frail. As a climber, this scares me – I wouldn’t trust this kind of rigging personally. But nevertheless, it made me wish I was a kid again – this would have been a blast. I would have loved to see some kids flying through the air and landing in the water without a care in the world.

I continued onward and returned back. My curiosity had been fulfilled. The mystery island seems to get some attention from waterfront locals and is much bigger than it appears.

If you know of any good kayaking spots in the area, please share – we all love new adventures.

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Filed in: Backyard, Issue, Sports & Healthy Living

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