Thursday, October 22, 2009

Indian Summer Light...

Wading River Headwaters

Looie and Grace on the Wading River below Speedwell

Upper Wading River

Grace with the smiling face on the Wading River

Chris on the Delaware River near Carpentersville

Two consecutive days on very different rivers = balm for the soul. Tuesday we paddled the 9-mile Easton to Riegelsville stretch of the Delaware River with a fellow who is a cultural anthropologist with an interest in the river and the people who live along its shores. It was his first look from the center of the river, and what a spectacular, cool fall day it was for a river trip.

Wednesday we headed to the NJ Pine Barrens for a trip on the Wading River between Speedwell and Godfrey Bridge. We put in at the uppermost part of the river and crashed through and slunk under the brush and blowdowns of this extremely beautiful little stream. At the launch site the road was peppered with cranberries that fell off trucks carrying a steady stream of the berries to the Ocean Spray plant. We were in the heart of cranberry country and harvesting was in progress.

This was about 5 full hours of steady paddling with one relatively brief lunch break (approximately 14 miles). The Wading River, particularly the uppermost reach is an incredibly twisting affair and it is mostly surrounded by hardwoods, pine and the beautiful Atlantic Cedar. It's all sand with intermittent gravel bars. The air was fragrant with fall foliage and pine needles, the water a dark tea color that defines the Pine Barren streams.

I look forward to paddling more Pine Barren rivers this coming fall and winter. Thanks to Looie, Grace and Chris for sharing such a fine day on one of the sweetest rivers on the planet.