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Hudson Valley/Capital District gathering

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Branching off another thread, it turns out there are many of us CanoeTrippers around the Hudson Valley and Albany area - the idea of a gathering was suggested, so I'm starting this for brainstorming purposes. I'm thinking a one-day affair, keep it local, simple, and informal (as opposed to a group overnight trip to the ADKs or whatever)? One purpose would be checking out/trying out different boats, paddles, etc. Maybe exchanging tips on technique and the like. And general carousing and socializing. I'm not inclined to organize any classes/workshops but welcome the idea if others want to.

A couple key details - date and location?

Date: The W. PA Solo Rendezvous is the first weekend of June, the Maine Canoe Symposium is the second. ADK Symposium is July 14 - 17. That doesn't necessarily rule those weekends out, but if too many of us are going to any one of them it might.

Location: Thoughts? I think we'd want a still-water location (lake/pond?) with a nice launch and a decent size adjacent area (preferably grass) to congregate, lay out boats, etc. Ideally somewhere that doesn't get too crowded on weekends. Any ideas? My only thought is Lake Taghkanic State Park, but I've never actually been because of the fees and weekend crowding. Maybe a county or municipal park would have less red tape and fees, or else a DEC boat launch somewhere?

Just trying to get the ball rolling - ideas welcome!
 
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Hmmm,
There's plenty of easy access to the Mohawk nearby, but much of the side channels get choked out with water chesnuts by June.
Much of the Hudson also has easy access, but is pretty industrial and just plain dirty.
Grafton Lake state park has some quiet waters, and Dyken Pond is also nearby there.
And there's some quiet waters in Partridge Run near Berne.

Other than those, there's lots of better water in the southern ADK's, but that might be stretching the drive too much for some.
 
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“Branching off another thread, it turns out there are many of us CanoeTrippers around the Hudson Valley and Albany area - the idea of a gathering was suggested, so I'm starting this for brainstorming purposes. I'm thinking a one-day affair, keep it local, simple, and informal (as opposed to a group overnight trip to the ADKs or whatever)? One purpose would be checking out/trying out different boats, paddles, etc. Maybe exchanging tips on technique and the like. And general carousing and socializing. I'm not inclined to organize any classes/workshops but welcome the idea if others want to”

That might well be of interest to me, especially with a bent towards more general carousing and socializing than classes and workshops. I need to meet up with a friend to exchange some gear and the Hudson Valley is semi-equidistant for each of us to travel.

I have some logistical questions though. I’m not in the Hudson Valley area, so I would want to camp at least overnight, or for a 3-day weekend. That being the case a park that accepts site reservations is imperative.

And, that being the case, better not a holiday weekend (Memorial Day, July 4th, etc)
 

Glenn MacGrady

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Not many natural lakes of any size in the Mid Hudson Valley and most are built up. I believe canoeing is allowed on some of the large NYS reservoirs now if you have your boat officially steam cleaned and get a permit.

One can paddle the Hudson River in many locations, of course, if it isn't windy. Constitution Marsh across from West Point is interesting at high tide.

There are some tributaries on the west side of the Hudson River that have slow flat water sections such as the Esopus Creek, Rondout Creek and Walkill River. You can follow your nose on the following link to paddling on and camping near the Walkill River in New Paltz, NY, a university town and rock climbing mecca.

 
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I work at a sleep away camp near lake Taghkanic (off the Taconic parkway) and it’s just a large lake to paddle around. They do have a daily fee to paddle there. I think I paid $8-$10. They have campsites which is probably through Reserve America.
I did paddle (kayak) in the Hudson near Bannermans castle and camped along the Hudson but that was tough to do with a kayak and I wouldn’t try it with a canoe and my skills.
Did get asked by local water police to show we had signaling devices and wearing pfd. Not to many places to paddle and camp out in that region.
 
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Lake Taghkanic is actually not a bad idea but it does fill up during the summer season. Would this be a mid/late summer or early fall?
 
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I think Lake Taghkanic or Grafton Lakes are contenders. There is a nominal day use fee, but if we could avoid the crowds those seem like good options with ample room to launch and decent sized lakes. Patridge Run WMA looks nice, but the lakes are on the order of 15ac or so - is that big enough?

The Hudson, while beautiful, is better suited for kayaking in my opinion, and seems a bit risky for a planned gathering with the intent of trying other people's boats. If the wind comes up, a capsize as someone tries leaning a boat could easily lead to a boat running off with the wind into the shipping lanes and getting squashed by barge - I'd be much more nervous in someone else's canoe on the Hudson than my own, and I really don't like canoeing on the Hudson anyway (we use our kayaks). Jet skis etc are also prevalent on the Hudson. But, if this isn't turning folks off, Kingston Point Beach does host a local paddling demo day so it is a workable option in theory.

The Rondout, Esopus, and Wallkill are possibilities, but I'm not aware of a nice put-in on either the lower Rondout or Esopus that would accommodate a decent number of boats and people milling about and launching/relaunching. Many of the put-ins I've been to are on the rocky side. The Hudson River Maritime Museum and Boat School might be a willing host, but it would be launch by dock, not beach/slope.

The Sojourner Truth Park on the Wallkill in New Paltz that Glenn pointed us towards looked like a possibility, but the river looks a bit narrow there, and I'm not sure what flow will be (depends on date of course).

I'm sort of open on date (I have a few weekends blocked out for other outings/activities already), though as Memorial Day rapidly approaches I'm starting to think we may need to look to early fall? Once swimming season ends we could probably have the state park beaches to ourselves.

Regarding camping, I think there are lots of options for camping in the area, but to me the attraction of this gathering is just sticking local and not having to camp. If I'm going to canoe and camp, I'd want to head to the ADKs, but that's a whole other thing. In my mind this gathering was more just comparing boats and talking shop within easy reach of many of our homes. If other folks agree, maybe we can pick the gathering spot, and then locals can help those coming from further away to find good camping/lodging options.
 

Glenn MacGrady

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Lake Taghkanic State Park is probably the best lake location in MHV area. It is not just a small pond. It has a very large parking lot, two beaches, a gravel boat launch, many tent sites and cabins, bath houses, and hiking trails. I'm not sure you can still put in on the main beach, but I've posted a picture of it, which is probably the normal crowd on a nice summer weekend day, along with four other sources of information about the park.

Lake-Taghkanic-State-Park-.jpg




 
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Thanks, Glenn! Grafton Lakes also has a big beach boat launches. An added benefit is additional paddling lakes in the park that have boat launches and not a beach, so no swimming crowds, but the launch areas look smaller at the other lakes there. Might be fine if we end up being a small group. I've never been to either park, so I'm just going off aerial maps and the park websites.

 

Glenn MacGrady

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Grafton Lakes also has a big beach boat launches.

Good find. I'd never heard of Grafton Lakes State Park.

The downside for folks in the Mid Hudson Valley or further south is that it is much further north than Lake Taghkanic—northeast of Albany, about halfway between Albany and Bennington, VT. On the other hand, I guess that would be more convenient for members in the NY capital district and MA, VT and more northern New England.
 
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I can't take credit - @stripperguy pointed out Grafton Lakes. Yes, Lake Taghkanic is much closer to me, but I'm willing to travel further if more northernly folks are joining. I'd welcome others thoughts on likelihood to join us, and whether we should aim for summer or fall. We'll have to triangulate between who's coming, date, and location. Of course, we can do more than one gathering too....
 
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Thanks, Glenn! Grafton Lakes also has a big beach boat launches. An added benefit is additional paddling lakes in the park that have boat launches and not a beach, so no swimming crowds, but the launch areas look smaller at the other lakes there. Might be fine if we end up being a small group. I've never been to either park, so I'm just going off aerial maps and the park websites.

Grafton is my backyard so I'm pretty familiar with it - I was on Long Pond yesterday. Just to mention, there is no camping there, if that is needed for people traveling a distance. Grafton does get pretty busy and "boom boxy" at the main beach, but we're not talking the Adirondacks, of course. Certainly nicer after the main season. Dunham Reservoir is one of the other lakes and as you said, has smaller launches and parking areas, though parking on the shoulder is tolerated.
 
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This was Lake Taconic ( sorry I just get brain fog when spelling it the other way) on an October Saturday. Still had to pay for the put in.
I’m game either place plus I’d camp out somewhere and relax before driving into traffic.
 

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Thanks for getting the ball rolling on this, Tsuga8!

A one-day thing makes sense to me, at least assuming this stays a small meet-and-greet type of event. If anyone ends up traveling far enough that they'd need a place to stay, I'd be happy to try to help direct folks to local campsites or hotels.

I agree that both Lake Taghkanic State Park and Grafton Lakes State Park sound promising. Like folks have mentioned above, I'd be inclined not to pick Lake Taghkanic because of the crowds and the boat launch fee—I personally avoid paddling there for those reasons—but it would be a very convenient location for me, and it should have more than enough space.

Have any of you ever been to Six Mile Waterworks Park in Albany? That also looks promising to me, but I've never been there myself.

As for the date, I could do something June 11 or on the last weekend in June if we wanted to schedule this soon. I'd also be happy with a gathering later in summer or fall.

EDIT: Added link to Six Mile Waterworks Park, and removed a suggestion for another location.
 
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MDB (My Darling Bride) and I have paddled Six Mile Waterworks a few times.
It's a pretty noisy with the highway so near, but there's actually a lot of wildlife.
I remember some massive snapping turtles, like 24" shells...
The water is sort of silty, and there's a fair amount of refuse washed up on the banks.
For us, it's a desperation site, close by but not that desirable.

Grafton Lakes is much nicer, and even quieter than that is nearby Dunham Reservoir.
MDB and I spent a quiet afternoon there, it was nice.
 
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Late to this party but would like to be included when the details are worked out. My schedule is crazy enough that I won't bother suggesting any particular date but will plan to attend if my calendar is open. Thanks for putting this together.

That's all for now. Take care and until next time...be well.

snapper
 
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