Trip 2: Hudson Highlands, September 1999

Ardent Point looking south

Text and photos by Vladimir Brezina

Saturday, 25 September 1999

Metro-North train to Beacon. Launched around 2:15 p.m. Sunny, temperature in the 70s. Ebb just starting (spring-tide currents this weekend), light north wind in favor. Water still warm-ish especially in certain places, but clearly cooling. Some floating debris still left from Hurricane Floyd ten days ago, but water generally back to its normal degree of green-gray murkiness; coffee color gone.

Out and back from Beacon, camping at Arden Point

Paddled south along the eastern shore, past Denning Point and Bannerman’s Island, then crossed over to western shore. Ebb current now seemingly 2-3 knots, tail wind intensifying to 15 knots. Moderate following sea.

Paddled into lagoon behind railway under Storm King Mt. Then south past Cold Spring, crossed back east into Foundry Cove and Constitution Marsh. Miniature rapids under the railway on stream ebbing out of the marsh. (The same elsewhere: the strongest currents on the whole river may be those sweeping in and out of these marshes and lagoons with every flood and ebb.) Finally south past West Point and Garrison to Arden Point campground.

The view from Arden Point

Everywhere trees mostly still green, but some kinds already yellowing, noticeably more than last weekend. beautiful contrasts of yellow and occasionally orange or red foliage picked out by the sunshine from the green, against the blue sky. Took pictures. Many orange and black monarch butterflies fluttering over the water on their migration south.

Arrived at Arden Point about 6 p. m, just as sun disappeared behind hills on western side of river. The campsite (south end of Arden Point) has every natural amenity (no man-made ones). Stony beaches either side of a group of rocks elevated over the river with views both south to Bear Mt. Bridge and north to West Point; flat areas, some with moss, on several levels under tall trees just behind. West-facing: great location to view sunset and moon over the river, though cold in the morning as sun does not reach the campsite until some time after sunrise.

At midnight woken by full moon shining brightly right in my face. Somewhat cold in old sleeping bag toward the morning: now definitely need warmer sleeping bag, and warm, dry camp clothes and shoes. A little stove to make coffee or chocolate on a cold morning?

(Johna: By the time I knew him, Vlad never camped anywhere without his trusty stove. We had a mixed relationship: I swore by the Jetboil, and he tolerated it, but secretly held the stove in reserve should the Jetboil fail. However, he really did enjoy coffee in the morning and hot chocolate at night, which I was happy to make. So it makes me smile to see his musings about the “little stove to make coffee… on a cold morning?” )

Eagle alights!

Sunday, 26 September
Left around 8:15 a.m. Sunny at first, then broken overcast. Paddled south with the waning ebb, and moderate tail wind, almost to Bear Mt. Bridge. Went into Popolopen Creek (steep wooded sides above still water, very picturesque) , then into the marsh just north of Iona Island. Many hawks (?) circling overhead everywhere (Johna: Could also have been eagles; the photo here was taken not too far away, over ten years later. ) especially along edge of woods; later saw one capture a pigeon-sized bird in flight, with much squawking. Current now starting to flood. Becoming sunny once more. North back to Arden Point (lunch around 12 noon) then through World’s End. Just before, heard two deep hoots, and an enormous red-yellow ship, followed by a tug, emerged very slowly to turn downriver past West Point. North past Cold Spring, then hugging shore all the way back to Beacon. Now wind from the south, moderate following seas. Shore-line woods very colorful; took many pictures. Many kayakers and canoeists, mostly solo or in pairs, on the water. Beacon around 3:30 p.m.

10 responses to “Trip 2: Hudson Highlands, September 1999

  1. Such breathtaking views.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Johna Till Johnson

      Yes! I think some of the photos, at least, were from that actual trip. But they’re all of the same place…


  2. I look forward to reading these posts, always so engaging!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. … I’m so glad Vlad lives on in these posts. His words & photos! :)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Johna Till Johnson

      Yes, it’s really quite amazing. We also have a lot of draft posts–both together and his alone–that I will post, when the time comes. He would be very happy to know people are savoring his words and vision.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Another really nice read, but made especially poignant by your insert about the stove. I can surely see how exciting it must be for you to read these entries.
    The Monarchs – I was thrilled to see them flying down Fifth Avenue on a number of occasions, years ago. I know they’re less common now. I wonder if you’ve seen them migrate south down any of the avenues? It such an amazing sight, the orange against the bright blue sky, framed by tall buildings. As it must have been for Vlad to see them “floating” down the Hudson on a fine fall day.
    Have a good week!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. ” At midnight woken by full moon shining brightly right in my face. ”

    This is a reminder to all of us – what we are missing if we don’t disconnect….

    Liked by 1 person

    • Johna Till Johnson

      Thanks for noticing that! That actually happened to me a few years later (I didn’t know Vlad then) when I was solo camping in the Catskills.

      It’s really quite the shock–I remember confusedly thinking something about searchlights and police, and after my racing heart stilled and I realized what had happened, I could only laugh…


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