Kayaked the Anthony Kill

The weather has been unpredictable lately. Last night, it was as though somebody was turning a switch on and off, flipping between torrential downpours and clear skies. This morning, I took advantage of the new rainfall to kayak down the Anthony Kill.

I started at Coons Crossing in Mechanicville and made my way to the Hudson. The water was several inches higher than it was on my first trip down the Anthony Kill, but it was several feet lower than it was after Irene.

The water on the easier sections of the creek was calm, but moved quickly.

The entire route was nearly obstacle-free, which is great for a creek that is really flowing like the Anthony Kill was today.

A long section of the creek followed a consistently steep decline. The fast-rushing water formed large waves, humbling to a skinny man riding low in the water in a sliver of a boat. From the top of this area, a silent pause was heard before dropping into a slope of watery moguls. Unfortunately, I did not capture any pictures of the more exciting sections. I tried, I really did, but at one point I nearly lost everything as a result. At the top of one of the steeper sections, I tried to pull over to the side and get the camera out. As I did so, the water pulled me into the current, and I entered the wild water backwards and sideways which is totally not ok. Luckily I managed to whip the boat straight and ride down narrowly avoiding a disastrous capsize.

Along the way, there were some old collapsed power lines in the water. Modern-looking power lines towered nearby, indicating that these lines are no longer in service, but this knowledge did not prevent some instinctual concern from creeping in as I ducked underneath.

The Anthony Kill goes out with a bang. The last few hundred feet are more difficult than anything else on the stream. Before I started, I scoped out the area and picked out two possible routes to avoid running into a big log in the middle of the river, followed by another log on the right. I had a plan A (stay right past the first log, then scoot left) and a plan B (stay far to the left the entire time). Plan A was the most obvious route, and plan B seemed like the most conservative. When I arrived in my kayak, I realized that I didn't have a lot of steering control because the water was moving pretty fast, and maybe I should stick with plan B to be safe. I forced myself as far left as I could get, but I couldn't move fast enough. I ended up splitting the difference between plan A and B, and headed directly at the log. Luckily the rushing water helped to carry me around the log, instead of blasting me into it. It was a shaky descent, but I made it down with my head above water. Phew. It would have been a cold swim to gather up my stuff had I lost it.

Distance: 4.5 miles
Time taken:
* 1 hour to kayak from Coons Crossing Road to the Hudson River
Gauge level (Mohawk River at Cohoes): 12,000 cf/s

Links

* Detailed info about the Anthony Kill
* My previous Anthony Kill trip
* Video of the Anthony Kill after Irene

Hayes Nature Park

I made a quick stop at Hayes Nature Preserve today. It is a really nice park just north of Thoroughbred Way in Clifton Park. The land was recently acquired and bridges and trails were built, making it a great area for a pleasant hike, bike, or jog.

Some wild turkeys were crossing the street not far from the park.

There is a half-mile loop in the middle of the preserve.

There was a bit of Chicken Mushroom growing on a fallen treebranch.

Painted Suillus mushrooms were also abundant.

Dwaas Kill Nature Preserve

I took a short walk through the Dwaas Kill Nature Preserve this morning. The preserve was only recently acquired. As of today it is still pretty wild, but trailwork and other construction including signage and benches is being made.



Related Links

* Dwaas Kill Managment Plan - A huge document for a small creek
* Another picture of pink and white mold

Fishing the Wynantskill

I fished the Wynantskill in West Sand Lake before work and again after work. The day was overcast and a bit rainy. It was a chilly morning. Small trout, maybe 6-7 inches were actively biting in the morning. I lost 7 fish that threw the hook before I could get them to shore. Catching 1 out of 8 is a poor success rate. 1 in 2 (or better) is more typical. I haven't been fishing for trout in a while and I underestimated the little guys. I managed to land one in the morning, and one in the evening.

In the evening the trout were extremely skittish. The only place I was able to get them to bite was under a very low bridge. As long as I could cast the lure in the 8 inches or so between the water and the bridge, a fish would usually chase the bait. At sunset some amazing colors reflected off the creek.

I cooked up one of the small trout, and it was a tasty treat. I forgot how much of a pleasure it is to cook a trout, because there is really no work in cleaning it. Mmmm. The cheeks were the best part.

Barometric Pressure

Today was a great way to get a feel for the effect of barometric pressure on the fish. In the morning, the pressure was reasonably flat, and the trout were actively feeding. In the evening, the pressure was on the rise and the trout were very noticeably hesitant to come out of their deep hiding places.

Related Entries

* Tiger Trout on the Wynantskill
* Trout in West Sand Lake

Related Links

* Wynantskill Public Fishing Rights

Cohoes Falls

A fishing dock was built just for the purpose of fishing below the dam. There are also handicapped accessible fishing docks above the falls.

The Waterford flight of docks looks interesting with so many locks in a short distance. The sign claims that it's the largest vertical lift in the shortest distance on any canal in the world. It could be fun to try kayaking through them.

And Cohoes has a shopping district! Who knew? I love Cohoes!

Here is a picture of the falls two days earlier. The water level has come down quite a bit in just two days.

Related Links

* Cohoes Falls Webcam

Dwaas Kill Kayak Fail

I tried kayaking the Dwaas kill starting at the intersection of Plank and Kinns Road. I hopped in, and after about 100 feet of climbing over logs and crashing through branches, I gave up and pulled the kayak through thick cover back to a trail and got the heck out of there.

Bad...

Worse...

OMG I'm outta here.

Related Links

* Dwaas Kill Managment Plan - A huge document for a small creek

Woody Woodpecker

Woody Woodpecker paid a visit to our front yard today.

I should have been nice and let him be, but instead I chased him out of the yard with a camera.

I have seen them in the neighborhood before. I believe they are Pileated Woodpeckers. They probe from tree to tree quietly tapping each one a few times looking for ants and beetles. After a long and slow search they find something they like and hatchet away at it very loudly. The beak will get 40 chops in the span of a few seconds. Around here you can regularly hear the sound like the firing of a wooden machine gun far off in the distance. It is no wonder that these birds are the mascot for the Clifton Park Open Space program. You'll see signs like the below picture posted all around Clifton Park identifying special wooded areas. There is one a few doors down from my house, identifying a nice little trail that makes a great addition to a local walk or jog.

Additional Images



Related Links

* Wikipedia's Pileated Woodpecker page
* Clifton Park Open Space Program
-- More reading about plans for the Open Space program
* John K Stuff/Woody - The creater of Ren & Stimpy deconstructs Woody Woodpecker animations

Glossary of Terms

* Pileated - having a crest covering the pileum
* Crest - a showy tuft or process on the head of an animal and especially a bird
* Pileum - the top of the head of a bird from the bill to the nape
* Nape - the back of the neck
* Birder - a person who birds

Please tell me I'm not birding right now.

Hudson River Flooding

The Green Island Bridge in Troy, NY was closed today. I took a short detour and stopped to take a look at the Hudson River near Brown's Brewing Company and Dinosaur Barbecue. The river has spread out far enough to flood the area.

24 Hours Later

24 hours later the water level on the Hudson River has subsided by 10 feet or more, so everything looks almost back to normal in Troy from what I could see. People are working hard to clean up Dinosaur BBQ and Brown's.