Where We Are Not…

By Johna Till Johnson and Vladimir Brezina

Photos by David Hupert

The Hudson – Athens Lighthouse (photo by David Hupert)

There are star-crossed lovers. And then there are star-crossed paddlers….

All autumn, we’ve been trying to get up north to paddle in one of our favorite parts of the Hudson, around Stockport, not far south of Albany. In summer, it’s breathtakingly beautiful. But Vlad’s favorite time there is fall, when the autumn foliage blazes like fire and the air is cool and clear.

This year, we had added incentive to make the trip: Our fellow paddler David Hupert suggested getting together up there. That dovetailed perfectly with our idea of heading up by train late Friday or early Saturday with our folding kayaks, and camping for a night or two while we took a leisurely sightseeing paddle around the area.

So we made plans…

The first weekend—the 20th/21st of October—we had to cancel at the last minute because of work pressures. David advised us that we missed a spectacular weekend of paddling up there, with the fall foliage colors at their peak. (We were happy to miss, however, a darker discovery that another fellow paddler made that Sunday right at the island where we planned to camp.)

Still, David assured us that the fall foliage was not yet over. The second weekend was October 27th/28th. We planned to go until we read about the prospect of Hurricane Sandy making landfall in New York City on Monday—and decided that we didn’t want to risk Amtrak shutting down and leaving us stranded for days in a tent upstate somewhere. (Good call, as it turned out—the trains shut down about midafternoon on Sunday).

The remains of fall foliage with Olana on the hill (photo by David Hupert)

The following weekend, November 3rd/4th, we spent in post-Sandy cleanup at Pier 40 and providing assistance to folks in the Rockaways. The weekend after that Johna had to travel; then there was a “recovery” weekend after an intense week in California. And David is away this upcoming weekend…

The trees are rapidly shedding their leaves, and there are only a few more weekends left before winter sets in. So who knows if we’ll ever make it up to Stockport this year?

But in the meantime, David was kind enough to send us some of his recent photos from up there. Where we are not… but wish we were!

Reflections: Which Way is Up? (photo by David Hupert)

23 responses to “Where We Are Not…

  1. Ah, the best laid plans of mice and paddlers are often tossed asea by life, work and hurricanes.


  2. vastlycurious.com

    Very nice collaboration !


  3. Wow! That last picture by David is simply beautiful!


    • Johna Till Johnson

      Yes! Although I’m also partial to the first, which took my breath away when I opened it up in email….

      On a separate note, have you ever read, “Arms Wide Open”? It’s a memoir by Patricia Harman. Has nothing to do with the photos or David… exactly.. but I suspect that her sensibility matches yours, from what I can tell. Your story about surviving your husband’s recent trip to Africa sounded like something she might have written (she’s a nurse/midwife and he’s an ob/gyn, they’ve been in practice together for some 30 years).


      • Thank you for the book recommendation. I have not read it, but I do enjoy reading, and now I am curious! I think I’ll look into it. Thanks again! Hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving! :)


  4. what a great story! i enjoyed every word and every image! grrrracias! z


  5. There’s a reason for all interferences. Thankfully you can enjoy from afar.


  6. That last pic is stupendous. I hope you’re both soon back, paddling those waters. Kudos to you both for participating in the post-Sandy cleanup. I’m sure your efforts were very much appreciated.


    • Johna Till Johnson

      Yes, it’s great! Look at it closely–which way IS up???? :-)

      I think our efforts were appreciated. We should probably write about them (no good photos, alas).


  7. There’s always snowshoeing. Not the same as paddling and seeing the foliage but the winter woods are so lovely and quiet.


    • Johna Till Johnson

      Have not done, but very much want to. Where do you go??


      • We live in a small town in NH and go most anywhere both on existing trails, dirt roads that aren’t plowed in the winter as well as cutting our own trails. The great thing about snowshoes is that your tracks are like your own trail of bread crumbs so as long as its not snowing, you can always follow your trail back out. We love to walk along rivers and streams, see the ice formations. Often it is much easier to do this bushwhacking when all the leaves are down and the muddy spots are frozen over than it is in the summer. And – no bugs!


  8. Pingback: Images of Fall | Wind Against Current

  9. What a unique place, and a beautiful photo.


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