By Johna Till Johnson
Photos by Vladimir Brezina
Autumn is a time of melancholy, of dreams and mists. It’s also a time of intense beauty—and a reminder that everything in life is transient.
That’s particularly true when it comes to catching the leaves turning along the Hudson: Bare hints of color one day, blazing the next, and then fading—all in the space of a week or two.
For New York City kayakers with day jobs, the challenge is that the currents are right for a weekend trip up the Hudson only once every two weeks—which means there are only two October weekends to catch this ephemeral color.
The first weekend with a daytime flood current was October 15-16. Either weekend day would have worked, but since I’d just gotten back from an intense week of traveling, Sunday was the better fit. Plus, Saturday’s winds were pretty severe—predicted and ultimately proving to be over 20 knots. So we agreed to go Sunday.
By then, the winds had calmed somewhat. Vlad and I set off on a crystalline, perfect, early-autumn day.