Saturday, January 24, 2009

Wading River...

Chris Meyers heads downstream on the Wading River
Wading River (courtesy of Leona Fluck)

Until yesterday the Wading River was one of several Pine Barren rivers on the "to do" list. A 50 deg. January 23rd was my first '09 river trip and it was led by George and Leona Fluck and sponsored by NJ Sierra Club. I hitched a ride down with Chris Meyers and we joined two kayakers for the 6-mile run down a truly pristine river - classic Pine Barren habitat in the Wharton State Forest.

The ice formations along the edge of the river were exquisite and we enjoyed a truly relaxing and mellow trip. Mostly Atlantic White Cedar forest surrounded the winding river with white sand beaches and tannic tea colored water.

Great winter river.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Change is gonna come...

Light at the end of the tunnel?

As I sit here looking out on the snow covered sycamores just a few hours post-liberation from the dark days of Bush and the dawn of Obama -- it seems certain that these unprecedented circumstances will bring profound changes at every level.

The 44th Inaugural was awesome!

This was not just about the joy and hope of long last having intelligent people leading the country again - there was a huge outpouring and sigh of relief from the evil, pain, and greed inflicted on our nation and the world by Bush/Cheney over eight long years.

They have left behind such a legacy of decay and bad karma that it will take more than a generation to recover. How do we transform an instant gratification consumer culture populated by lazy over-fed oil-addicted people into a nation of hard work, sacrifice, integrity, and common purpose?

It won't be easy and it will require doing things differently; some of those things would be familiar to our grandparent's generation.

Change will be forced upon us and change will be voluntary. All the good change will be about sustainability. The ones who embrace and create change will come out on the other side of the transformation stronger and better prepared to do more with less (consume less - do more).

The paradigm shift will cause a lot of pain and a lot of people will everything in their power to prevent change (conservative republicans, white supremacists, NASCAR fans, etc.).

As difficult and uncertain these times promise to be there is one thing that won't change: intelligent people will continue to want to work for a better community, a cleaner stream, healthier forest, a more prosperous garden. That's a good thing. We'll have to work extra hard and be willing agents of change.

It will take a remarkable leader to get us there. One can hope.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Tidal Trail...

We're heading into partial hibernation and it's time to read about new paddling destinations and plan for warmer weather paddling.

Produced by the Pennsylvania Environmental Council, the Tidal Delaware Water Trail maps are a great read and they can be downloaded and studied for free. The overall quality of this web based resource for both paddlers and power boaters is excellent.

Paddling the tidal river is not for all tastes. For one thing the tidal Delaware is one of the nation's busiest commercial waterways with a never-ending procession of large vessels plying the river between the bay and Trenton. Wakes from large boats, waves, wind and frequent choppy conditions pose serious threats to paddlers. Open kayaks and canoes without flotation are a liability on the tidal river. Summer tidal paddling can also mean putting up with sandflies and mosquitoes, but there are some interesting places to explore along that stretch of the 135 mile long tidal river between Trenton and Marcus Hook, which is the area covered by the maps. Natural areas like Burlington Island offer opportunities to explore, and there are a few notable towns that can be visited along the way, such as Bristol PA, Burlington NJ, and Philadelphia. At the lower end of the Tidal Water Trail one can see and smell why the Delaware River is second largest petro-chemical complex.

As the adage "think globally - paddle locally" becomes more meaningful those who live near or in the coastal plain of New Jersey, Delaware and Pennsylvania have a great resource a short distance away.

The Tidal Water Trail website provides a wealth of information about river accesses, trip planning, safety and more. Check it out.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Yappy Hew Near!

The Allegheny River upstream from downtown Pittsburgh

Spent the last few days of 2008 in Pittsburgh, PA helping out with family matters (Macleans).

The end-to-end PA Turnpike trip is much easier than it used to be, although it's a lot more expensive. The turnpike crosses many of the state's great creeks and rivers such as the Schuylkill, Conestoga, Swatara, Susquehanna, Yellow Breeches, Juniata and many many others. PA has more stream miles than any state except Alaska.

Of course, Pittsburgh is know for its three rivers. The Allegheny and Monongahela join downtown to form the Ohio River, hence the three rivers. The Allegheny begins in New York and flows south to the city, and the Monongahela flows north from West Virginia.

Looking forward to the first river trip of 2009 - water levels are still decent and will likely remain that way.