End of July - First Kayaking of the Season

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What I did
Pepacton Reservoir

Flag of United States  , New York
Friday, July 26, 2013

Seems as if it has taken me a long time to get in the water this year. 

Otto did the planning for this trip to the Eastern branch of the Delaware River in the Catskills.  Pepacton Reservoir is one of the NYC water sources that allows boating.  But there are requirements.  We needed an early start to get the steam cleaning done - can't remember exactly where - but relatively close to the reservoir.  The young lady that helped us out was very nice.  She not only steamcleaned the boats but she got my kayak back on my roof rack all by herself and she even tied it down too.  Amazing.  She then gave us tips on which of the launch areas to try.  Otto had originally planned on Arena (the site of a former town flooded by the reservoir).  We ended up at Perch Lake instead.  I was noticeably yawning during this process since I had to get up at 5:45 am to make it to Kingston to meet Otto at 8 am.

We found the launch area - as the young woman said - there was no sign there.  We got the boats in the water and were off.  We headed east toward the river.  Even though we saw a mother and son getting out of the water as we entered, we didn't see anyone else on the reservoir until we got out.  (Oh, Otto did see a sailboat - off in the distance - I think.)  It was very quiet - not even many birds.  Otto heard some birds at one point and I heard a crow cawing once or twice but the water was pretty much devoid of animal life.

We seemed to have a headwind in the beginning.  Not too long after we started, we stopped for a snack along the rocky shore.  Otto provided a lovely snack of mozzarella salad and mixed olives from Adam's Fairacre Farms.  Most of the shore - wherever we went - was covered with rocks - mostly rounded but some in places seemed flatter - more like slate or shale.

After a bit more paddling, we very able to see the mouth of the river.  It seemed to elude me for quite awhile.  I saw what seemed like a nice beach with some shade and headed toward it.  I had no idea how far away it really was.  It took quite some effort to get there.  Then, we settled down for a hearty repast - also contributed by Otto:  smoked sockeye salmon and smoked whitefish, tomatoes, basil, and roasted onion to be made into sandwiches.  Then he had brought cherries and plums for dessert - oh, so healthy and tasty!  I contributed some beers, gatorade that Otto didn't want, and Otto also brought some of his home-made wine.

It would have been nice to take a siesta.  We sat in the sun on some rocks but could have sat on the high bank in the shade.  I was afraid of mosquitoes so insisted we sit in the sun.  Poor Otto got sunburned.  But it seemed as if it was going to be a long row back - the wind had shifted once or twice and now it seemed we had another headwind.

The paddling wasn't too bad...but it was tiring...and it seemed to take a long time.  I kept looking for our snack spot to gauge our progress but we didn't seem to recognize it.  Finally we arrived at the brown cliffs and knew it couldn't be too far from there.  It did seem as if it was much farther than when we came out - in contrast to the typical experience of the return seeming much shorter.

As we were loading the boats back on the cars, a man stood on the shore and commented on the tameness of a deer that was standing nearby.  I lost track of it and as we brought back the second boat, I got scared and almost ran into the deer.  It had been a tiring paddle but a glorious day - mostly sunny with perfect temperature. 

It was 5 pm when we left.  I elected to go north on route 30 for a little adventure rather than return to Kingston and the thruway.  I had hoped to find some farm stands but didn't run across anything and the bigger farm markets had closed at 6 pm so were closed by the time I got to them.  I did enjoy exploring a new route - I was surprised that rt 30 ran along a river - the Delaware - for a good part of the way at first.  The highway passes Gilboa, Blenheim and the big dam on the Schoharie.  Then I was in the familiar Schoharie valley and began to go through some of the towns I knew:  Middleburgh, Scholarie, and finally Duanesburg and then back home to good old Schenectady.

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