Troy Dam Striped Bass

After a couple of practice runs, we managed to catch this nice striped bass on the Hudson River just below the Troy Dam.

We caught the fish during the falling tide. The current was noticeably stronger when we caught the bass than during all the times when we didn't catch bass. The process involves first catching herring to use as bait. We only had one bait-catching rod on the boat with a Sabiki Rig. For twenty minutes the herring eluded my attempts. Finally, fed up, I handed the rod to M, and of course on his first cast he caught bait which put us in business. Almost immediately after rigging up the heavy rods with herring-chunked hooks and weight, something chomped away at M's bait but didn't stick around long. Soon my rod started seeing the same action, including some serious tugs and pulls. The fish and I fought for a while, and upon seeing the boat the big guy took off, but eventually M netted the beast, and snapped the picture.

After the bass, we caught several catfish, and M had an eel on his line at one point. We had gone out a week before when there were probably 25 or 50 boats out there. Today, there was just us and another boat or two. I wonder where everybody went? On both days my canoe was the smallest vessel on the water by far. Everyone else had a motorboat of some kind.

Kayaked Ballston Creek

Route: Ballston Creek from Ballston Lake to Round Lake
Distance: 5 miles
Elevation change: 92 feet
Steepest Mile: 60 feet

05/08/12 Trip Report

Finally, the first real rain of the entire season. The forecast called for 100% chance of rain for most of the day totaling more than an inch of rainfall. It never downpoured, but rained steadily throughout some of the night and all day long. At its peak while we paddled, the water level gauge for the Mohawk River in Cohoes reached 40,000 cft/s. For reference, I consider 3,500 to be very low, and 10,000 to on the low-end of high water. 120,000 was the level at the peak during Irene. The first 2 miles were pleasant and easy through the large marshy area. We paddled through an area of tall dead trees where several giant blue herons were flying around their sky nests. It was here that J discovered that his ship was steadily sinking. The long kayak drag to today's put-in had worn a small hole in the back of his kayak. Taking on water would mean lack of control and stability as the boat filled with water followed by regular stops to dump it out. Throughout the ride, the high water level elevated us over many obstacles, although there were several logs requiring either walking around or some fancy footwork to get past. Small portages were always a good opportunity to dump water out of the kayaks. During mile three, the water was swift but generally manageable. Mile 4 involved 60 feet of elevation drop, and there was plenty of water to rush us through it. The thrilling roller coaster ride required intense paddling to survive, and we didn't whoosh through without a few flips. No sooner had we survived the long series of rapids when three tunnels under interstate 87 presented themselves, side-by-side all descending into parallel darkness. Choose your fate. Without much to go on we picked the rightmost one with slightly more water than the others. The inside of the tunnel was completely disorienting. At the midpoint, the tunnel took a left turn, so there were no visible guarantees that there would be an exit on the other side. Our boats, paddles, heads, and hands deflected back and forth against the unseen walls like bowling balls at a five-year-old's bumper bowling birthday bash. The water level at the end of the tunnel was higher than at the beginning of the tunnel, so as we proceeded, the walls were literally closing in around us. A faint spot of light slowly came into view. My sense of direction was so completely lost while floating in the absolute blackness that I mistook the spot of light for a sewer grate on route 87, far overhead. However, as we got closer, the spot of light set like the sun until it reached the horizon at which point it was a huge relief to realize it was in fact the exit. After the tunnel, the creek spread itself out into a large floodplain. Water was rushing through ordinarily dry grass and bushes. At one point J pointed out that "the river is over there". We were kayaking comfortably over a grassy field, and clearly the actual creek was a hundred yards to our left. The only remaining obstacles were a few low bridges before we reached Round Lake and completed the trip. The ride was pretty outrageous, and both of us were happy to be back at the car by the end of it. We have come along way, but today's rapids tested our limits to be sure.

Summary

Time taken to kayak: 2.5 hours
Mohawk River at Cohoes Water Level: 40,000 cft/s (!)

4/3/11 Trip Report

I kayaked the length of Ballston Creek from Ballston Lake to Round Lake. This was my first trip out in the kayak, besides a very short paddle around Ballston Lake a few days earlier. I had to learn as I went. It was pretty scary at times with the fast moving water, the lack of helmet and spray skirt, and my own inexperience. Once a branch clonked my head. I was scared because I had no idea how the kayak was going to respond to conditions. The kayak had felt a little awkward in the lake with no current, but it turned out to respond really well in the fast-moving water. Getting over my fear was largely a matter of learning that the kayak was capable of handling some situations without my influence.

After the swampy section, the creek's fast moving water was scary, particularly at first because I hadn't figured out how to bail out in fast moving water before a difficult spot. I eventually got better and learned to hop out of the boat and walk to shore. My guess is that the area is not usually kayakable, but with the high water after the recent snow melting, it was a bit of a bushwhack, but not too bad. The water was quite cold, as Ballston Lake was still frozen over. I was wearing mostly wool, and stayed luke warm even after wading chest-deep in water once or twice. I took a few breaks to sit in a sunny spot to fight off the cold.

After I reached Round Lake, I locked up the kayak, and ran back to the car.

Summary

Mohawk River at Cohoes Water Level: ~10,000 cft/s

Wildlife

I saw a pair of northern pike in the marshy section near mile 1. One looked huge, and was probably several feet long. Around the same area, there were lots of huge nests in the trees. I believe they were Great Blue Heron nests. There were hordes of ducks and Canadian geese along the way. I saw 2 little creek chubs in the small stream section. I also saw a giant carp in Round Lake.

Links

* The Saratoga Trail - A very interesting trip report that overlapped a small section of this route
* Ballston Creek Preserve - Some hiking trails that bring hikers to the Heron nests.

My Feet Deserve Better

I ran barefoot through the Vischer Ferry Preserve on the south end of Clifton Park today. I would have worn shoes, really, I would have, but I was in a bit of a time crunch and didn't want to waste the time or gas to stop home before running through the preserve. I had no shorts in my car, so as if I didn't look enough like Huckleberry Finn in bare feet, I ran in my blue jeans with the bottoms rolled up to keep them from getting too muddy. Goose droppings peppered the northern canal path. I kept a wary eye on the ground and successfully avoided all land mines as far as I could tell. Several goose families hung out on the path. They generally waddled into the water as I ran by. One brave papa goose stayed on the trail to protect the gaggle by hissing at me. I spoke friendly words to him as I passed by, then got the heck out of there as quick as I could.

I ran to the far end of the preserve and made a u-turn. I took some alternative trails on the return trip. Eventually I arrived at a big huge sand pit that looked like the type of place where a person would pretend they never buried a terrible nuclear hazard. Construction vehicles were parked alongside and inside the sand pit. During an unfortunate footstep, I felt multiple small points poke into my foot. As I lifted my foot again, I could feel the points popping back out of my foot. I stopped and turned around to look at what I had stepped on. It was an old, frayed, rusty wire, with many rigid strands pointing upward out of the sand. I decided I wanted away from this area, but the southern trail was all construction-yardy. I recalled from cross-country skiing during the winter that there was a trail to the north. The only way north beyond the pit was to run through the thick weedy woods (not the snowy flat landscape I remembered). Unpleasant as it was, and longer than I expected, I eventually made it to a trail. Shortly thereafter, I felt a speck of itch on the side of my right foot. I reached down and scratched it, but there was nothing there. Then I felt another itch on my left foot. Then I felt severe tingling all over my feet. For a moment I panicked and thought that accute tetanus was gangrening my feet from stepping on the rusty wire. I slowly recognized the distantly familiar feeling of stinging nettles, and my panic subsided. Nettle stings don't last very long after itching and burning for a few minutes. I quickened my pace. I was running late and I desperately wanted to get home to wash my poor feet. They deserve better than this. I got home, washed and disinfected my feet, had some dinner, and made a quick visit to Urgent Care. The rusty wire was just the poke I needed to remind me to go get a tetanus shot. If anybody should be up-to-date with that particular shot, it's me.

Hudson River Herring

Today I looked into some questions regarding herring in the Hudson River.

Is it legal to catch herring for bait just below the Troy dam?

Yes. Possession of the proper fishing license entitles an angler to collect alewives and blueback herring for personal use in hook-and-line fishing only (sale prohibited) by angling, seine or cast nets. Regulations vary by location. Transportation of herring for use as bait is prohibited except along transportation corridors outlined and mapped in the regulations guide. The area around the Hudson River below the Troy dam is one such corridor.

Is it legal to catch herring for eating? When is open season? What is the limit?

Yes, herring can be caught any time, with no limit in the Hudson River upstream to Troy Dam, and some parts of the Mohawk River, and also in all tributaries from river upstream to first barrier impassable by fish. Anglers must enroll in the Recreational Marine Fishing Registry. Once these species are transported away from the water body, they may not be transported back to any water body for use as bait.

Is it safe to eat herring from the Hudson? What are the recommended restrictions on eating them?

If a person were to eat Hudson River fish at a rate greater than the recommended one meal-per-month, they could expect to eventually end up with twice as much mercury in their system as a person who did not eat these fish. The person would still be well within the limits that the EPA recommends as "safe", although I don't have confidence that "safe" actually means "safe". I conclude that as a grown man, eating a few Hudson River pickled herring should be ok (with some warranted hesitation and disclaimers). Women of childbearing age and children under 15 should avoid them.

Unanswered Questions:

I was surprised to read that the upper Hudson is the worst area to eat fish, and that the lower Hudson contains healthier fish. I expected that the further downstream you get, the worse the water would be because there would be more factories contributing to the pollution, but apparently this is not the case. It makes sense assuming that the largest concentration of pollution is in the sediment at the bottom of the river in the upper Hudson, and the fish in question spend a lot of time in the contaminated areas. However, don't the striped bass spend only a short time on the Hudson while spawning? How are the striped bass on the Upper Hudson getting so badly contaminated if they only spend a small part of their lives on the Hudson? Does the contamination stay with the fish, or does it quickly leave the fish once it leaves the contaminated area? If the contamination quickly leaves the fish, then it would make sense that the fish in the cleaner, southern part of the Hudson are healthier. However, if the fish are permanently affected, then wouldn't they be just as contaminated when they are in the upper Hudson as they are in the lower Hudson? Or even in the ocean for that matter?

Here goes nothing...

References:

* NY Times Article
* Hudson River - Health Advice on Eating Fish You Catch
* 2011-12 NYS Fishing Regulations Guide

Kayaked Normans Kill

4/4/12 - From New Scotland, upstream roughly 4 miles and back. This upper area had enough water that we rarely scraped bottom in this section. Normans Kill gauge was at 3.25'.

4/10/12 - It took maybe 3 hours from Krumkill to Mill Rd. I put my hand on a hairy poison ivy vine near the put-in but luckily never got the itch. The water level was noticeably lower than last week, and we scraped bottom badly for long sections of it. Walking was necessary in some areas. Normans Kill Gauge was at 3'.

Related Links

* USGS Water Level Data for the Normans Kill

Tenandeho WW Derby

The 39th annual Tenandeho White Water Derby was held today in nearby Mechanicville, NY. Canoes, kayaks, and an "anything that floats" category (floating breakfast tables, boats made of duct tape, etc.) competed to race down the Anthony Kill. All of Mechanicville cheered us paddlers and polers on, making for an incredibly fun day. The number of volunteers was staggering, I believe that the entire fire department was there to perform rescue operations as needed. All-around, this event was the best, I hope to be able to be a part of more of them in the future.

Related Links

* Short video of the race
* YNN News Story
* Article and Video from the Saratogian
* Albany Times Union Article with Pictures
* Photographs from the Schenectady Daily Gazette
* An hour-long video of the race from 1983

Dragon Warrior World Map

Google has added a map of the world in none other than Dragon Warrior graphics. This is the best April Fools day present I ever got.

This comes at perfect timing in my own life. It just so happens that I have been working my way through the Dragon Warrior games for the last few months on my Android phone, and am currently in the middle of Dragon Warrior 3. I would totally dance a jig right now, but I don't want to lose all my magic points.

Below Cohoes Falls

Cohoes: I love this place. A romantic setting, perfect for a honeymoon or just a weekend getaway. It's our own local Niagara Falls. Except that in C-Town, we don't set goals, we set fire.

I have been on a kick lately of exploring the Mohawk River just before it empties into the Hudson. The geography is extremely chaotic. Tall cliffs on either side confine the river to it's convoluted path.

Several branches of the river wind around islands and over tall and voluminous waterfalls. The water is surrounded on all sides by man-made constructs such as locks, mills, highways, dams, bridges, and railroads.

Ancient ruins from the industrial age lean and crumble along the shorelines and under the water's surface. Some of the ruins have been beautifully restored like the Lofts Apartments.

The apartments tower over the area's most prominent natural feature, the Cohoes Falls.

But what I really came here to check out is an area of standing waves just below the falls.

The water level today was just over 11'. It looks like it could be a fun place to kayak, and apparently these waves get much more exciting (and eventually dangerous) when the water level is higher.

The following video shows the waves in their standing motion:

A parking lot on the Cohoes side of the river will make for an ideal launch point.

Related Links

* M. Paul Keesler's trip report
* Current USGS Statistics for the area
* A forum discussion on the NE Paddlers Message Board involving this area

Similar Entries

* The nearby Cohoes Wave

Hiked the Santanonis

Today we made our fifth attempt at hiking the three Adirondack high peaks in the Santanoni Range: Couchsachraga, Santanoni Peak, and Panther Peak. Each of our previous unsuccessful attempts have increased the importance of this event on our lives. It has been built up to such a point that if we were to die without completing this goal, the unresolved earthly conflict might well be enough to tether our spirit to the material world forever. We must complete these peaks.

History

The four preceding trips went as follows:

1) I was absent for the first trip, but apparently mud season had a strong impact on the trail to Bradley Pond. After a brutal hike to the lean-to through miles of shoe-stealing mud holes the party spent the night and cut the trip short mucking their way back to the car.

2) Our second attempt was made during what was popularly known in New York State as the weekend of the "Snowicane", February 2010. We were breaking trail through waist-deep snow, travelling at a pace of one mile every two hours. After we reached the main intersection between the peaks, we were unable to find any trails under the snow. We gave up as time started running out after falling in one-too-many neck-deep spruce traps.

3) Nobody counts our third try as a failed attempt, but personally I consider it to be our ultimate fail. After waking up late in a motel in Lake Placid, we drove two hours to the trail-head before we sat down and discussed the fact that we would probably be walking out of the woods at three in the morning, at which point we drove 2 hours *back* to Lake Placid to hike some less-impossible peaks. A wise choice at the time, but had we made the choice two hours earlier we could have avoided four hours of senseless driving.

4) This winter, we made a morale-crushing hike to the lean-to during a cold weekend that was only getting colder. One party member fell through some ice and soaked a foot. The usual water-spot near the lean-to was frozen solid. Eventually we hiked back to the hole in the ice that had gotten our foot wet and after treating the water it tasted like dead fish. It was below zero, and the forecast claimed that the temperatures would continue to drop roughly a degree every hour for the entire duration of our trip. Each of us was coddling one old injury or another, not wanting worsen our respective conditions. After a miserable cold evening we overslept in our cozy sleeping bags. In the morning we made the difficult decision to bail out and return another day.

Pre-hike

H picked up a big sandwich grabbed some dinner before arriving at my house. He offered me half of the sandwich, and I happily agreed. I tucked him in with the first installment of the Lord of the Rings Trilogy: The Fellowship of the Ring and went to bed. After a blink of an eye, the alarm clock went off at 4:10am. I packed a few last items including my sandwich half while H showered. We had breakfast, coffee, and hit the road. On the way we grabbed more coffee at Stewart's. At JQE's, H says, "Oh, no! We forgot the sandwiches". I said, "I remembered mine." Uncomfortable moment. We packed up the car, went to Stewart's again for a fresh sandwich for H, and then were finally were on our North way.

Along the way, JQE says he told his wife she would hear from us by midnight. H says he told his 11:00pm. Over the course of the next 15 hours, we will discover that we are able to complete the peaks, but not within curfew.

We park the truck at the Santanoni trail-head. The parking lot is a muddy mess, which feels like a sign of foreboding for the mud-prone trail ahead. AL drives around in a few circles, searching for a dry spot to park the truck. We gear up, making our final decisions on what to bring and what to leave behind. Me, I'm wearing a wool sweater with light shorts and sneakers. H is ready to move in his zookeeper outfit and headphones. JQE is sporting brightly colored techwick. AL is wearing his scowl, a last remnant of a horrible flu that he has only barely recovered from. If you think he looks sad now, you just wait. Soon he will discover the two liters of Gatorade he put in his Camelback has been steadily making a sticky trail from the kitchen to the back of his truck, into his backpack, through the woods, and is soon to be completely empty leaving him thirsty and sticky-trucked.

The trail ahead is divided up into six dissimilar stages.

Stage 1: The Dirt Road

We are surrounded by an air of single-mindedness that we have not felt on any of our previous trips as we begin to hike down the first section of the trail. The Santanoni Range has wrung us dry through repeated failed attempts and the only way to penetrate the intimidation that we all silently feel will be through sheer determination. We march along an easy dirt road, our contemplation unable to grasp the trip in all of it's parts at once. Considered as a whole, the journey is impossible so instead the focus remains on the current footfall, followed by the next. The long, slow, wet-footed miles through mud, snow, and ice, the precariousness, intimidation, and minor setbacks cannot stand in our way as long as we continue to put one foot in front of the other. Thirty-five minutes into our hike along the road, we arrive at an arrow sign pointing into the woods.

Stage 2: Trail to Bradley Pond

The hike to Bradley Pond has always been a demoralizing affair. On each previous hike, we approached this area expecting it to be easy, but each time several unexpected factors make for a much longer hike than expected. Those factors have included heavy winter backpacks, breaking trail through deep snow, and a punishing elevation change. This time our packs are light and we are expecting the worst. The trail is basically a stream bed partially full of melting snow, so we end up with wet feet after repeated plunging missteps through the weakening snowpack. However, for once our fears are worse than the reality, and we make good time. We arrive at a marshy area that marks the turnoff for the herdpath to Times Square, the intersection between the unmarked trails to each of the three mountains. Ice still covers a shallow pond, and I start walking toward the visible trail on the other side. However, the ice is weak, and my feet break through. It doesn't take more than a few seconds for the snowmelt to chill my feet, but it's no big deal, I was planning to change into wool socks and boots anyway (and pants), just as soon as we get past this predictably wet area. We find an alternative route over the marsh across a small beaver dam that leads us to the start of the next level of difficulty.

Stage 3: Herdpath to Times Square

The next goal is to reach Times Square, a pathetic trail intersection that only sarcastically lives up to it's name. The trail towards Times Square is poorly marked, except by a spine of ice left behind by a winter's worth of previous hikers all repeating the same route. The path regularly oscillates between dry dirt and deep snow, making for a catch-22 in which neither snowshoes nor bareboots are appropriate. The melting ice spine is on the verge of collapse, making every step a carefully planned endeavour. We must break a separate trail any time the ice spine precariously crumbles while trying to walk over flowing water. After gathering water at what might be our last opportunity, AL spends a few extra minutes getting ready while the three of us march on. Before long we hear untragic cries of, "Help! Help!" from below. The sound of a grown man, a friend, calling for help is such an unusual thing to hear. Unaware of what trouble he has gotten himself into, there is a moment while hustling to help when an unworldly feeling arises: a 50/50 mixture between mourning a terrible loss and laughing at a silly situation. AL had fallen through the snow into a very deep hole. H ran over and gave him a solid anchor from which he was able to pull himself out, and a bit of laughter soon ensued. "Get back in there we forgot to take a picture".

We continue up the steep trail, and soon reach a four-corners intersection. We take the most obvious one clearly marked by a crumpled glove. The walk quickly turns treacherous. I am staring at the ground watching my step, my forward vision blocked by the brim of my baseball cap, when a gnarled branch from a weathered tree stabs me right in the face, hard. I cry out, and everyone gathers around. I hear the murmering words "blood", "purple stuff", and "stick might still be lodged in there" from the people around me. All I have to say is, "I'm fine". I don't touch that side of my face again for another twelve hours when I am back home in my bathroom. I figure anything I touch it with is going to make it dirtier not cleaner so I just let it be. We continue along, and the path takes us to a small outcropping from which Panther Peak is visible. We had assumed that this was Times Square on a previous trip which caused us no end of trouble seeking trails that never existed. After a quick look, we were not going to make the same mistake again. With not much snow on the ground, it was clear that this was simply a place to catch a pleasant view otherwise useful only for confounding unsuspecting hikers from finding the all-important Times Square. We returned to the intersection, and someone noticed markings on the trees pointing out the directions to each of the three peaks. At this point as AL put it, it was like a scene in Indiana Jones where he solves the riddle that reveals the entrance to some golden city. For the first time we hold the keys and the three doors stand before us. We just need to walk.

Stage 4: Couchsachraga Peak

Near the main intersection is a small fork in the road with Santanoni heading left and Couchsachraga right. Over the course of five trips to this area, this is the third location I have personally identified as Times Square, each time realizing that I was previously wrong, but this time I'm more confident than ever that this is the place. According to ancient internet lore Couchsachraga is a Native American word meaning, "Dismal Wilderness". Wikipedia says, "There is no marked trail to the summit, which, being fully forested, has no views." It is the longest hike of the three peaks we hope to achieve, so we decide to tackle this one first to get it out of the way. We can see it off in the distance. It is significantly lower in elevation than Times Square, so we are actually descending to reach this peak. In fact, this is the lowest of the 46 official High Peaks. The High Peaks are the 46 mountains higher than 4000' according to inaccurate measurements taken a long time ago, and this one is lower than 4000' so technically it should never have been included in the list. All of these factors makes the round-trip hike to Couchsachraga long and anticlimactic. We are all happy to have this one behind us with a few photos to remember it by, and even more happy to have completed our first mountain in the Santanoni Range after spending so many days in the general vicinity.

Stage 5: Santanoni Peak

I had a rough time with some icy sections on Couchi, so when we return to Times Square, I strap on crampons. Next we are to tackle Santanoni, the tallest of the three peaks. The trail from here to Santanoni is roughly one mile each way. At this point I find myself in a strange mood. I need to be away from people for a bit. My first wind is running out, and we have an unfathomable distance still to hike. I have grown impatient with stop-and-go travelling. In a group of four people, someone is always needing to pause to change something: warmer clothes, cooler clothes, snowshoes on, snowshoes off, moleskinning blistered feet, or rifling through backpacks to find something. Without saying a word and wearing nothing on my chest but a t-shirt, I take a big swig of water and abandon my backpack with all my warm clothes, water, and food, and take off down the path which winds every which-way but is unusually recognizable. A minute after I start marching, I feel guilty and foolish. Guilty for taking off without saying anything, I am usually a strong proponent of the "stick together" mentality. Foolish for not at least bringing a bit of water and a warm shirt to a high peak a few days after winter's end. However, once I start, there is no stopping me. The trail is a very tall ice spine not much wider than my boot often with steep drops on either side so every occasional misstep means falling into a deep bramble pit. This is my first time using crampons which prove to be amazing for these conditions. With each footstep my foot feels locked to the ice spine. I reach the Santanoni Peak in 40 minutes and head back down. I'm fine at the moment, but it's chilly up here, and I'm going to get cold if I stick around for too long. Before long I see the rest of the crew. Perhaps we are all sharing an impatient mood. We're making amazing time and nobody is prepared for anything: no water or food, but at least they brought some warm clothes. The fact that everyone made the same choice makes me feel less guilty, yet no less foolish. We summit and take a few group pictures.

Alone while waiting for everyone to regroup near Times Square, I hear voices approaching from the wrong direction. It is roughly 6:15pm. Two unfamiliar heads appear above me atop a small rock face. "Wow, I'm suprised to see people right now". "Same here". The couple is staying at the lean-to tonight, and first decided to hike one of the peaks. Bare-kneed, one of them appears to be wearing boxer shorts for pants. I am in no position to judge with a thick column of blood dried to my face and having recently completed a series scold-worthy choices myself.

Stage 6: Panther Peak

We regroup and race up Panther Peak, which is only a fraction of a mile each way. It turns out to be shorter than we expected, something like twelve minutes up and ten minutes down and five minutes to celebrate the completion of the Santanonis. Finally.

Exit

It is after 7:00pm. It will be dark before long. Our 11:00 curfew is approaching, and we are all too physically fatigued to even think about calculating how long it will take to repeat the next four stages in reverse. Not that there is anything we can do about it now. Our only job is to get back to the car and not get hurt in the process. Everyone is pretty quiet as we descend the mountain. H and I get a bit ahead of the others. The trail is perfectly laid out before us until we get to a spot just before Bradley Pond. We poke and prod a few different directions sniffing out the trail. We climb and hop down a small cliff believing it to be the trail, but it is not. After climbing back up, we try another direction, but it is no good. Finally we find the right trail. We decide to sit down and wait for the others. We don't want them making the same mistake we did, or worse, heading the wrong way although we are not mature enough to do it without involving a certain amount of mischief. We shut off our headlamps and sit in silence. Before long we can hear AL and JQE in the maze asking all the same questions we did. "Do you see the trail?" "It looks like it goes this way". "No this can't be it". H and I giggle childishly in the dark. One of them eventually starts walking our way, then both of them do. AL notices us, but is too tired to successfully explain our presence to JQE's tired ears. H tries to startle them with a loud screech from his emergency whistle. Everyone laughs in appreciation of our funny joke (false). We return to the main trail, and make a long but speedy march back to the car.

Ride Home

We have not technically reached our curfew of 11:00, but it is 10:45 before we start driving. We are not within range of any cell phone towers, and the wives are probably already worried, and soon to be very worried. As much as we'd like to go go go and get to a coverage-zone, we had to pull over multiple times on account of the nauseuos stomachs of everyone in the wiped-out crew. Finally, we reached coverage, and let everyone know that we are safe. Next stop, McDonald's, followed by JQE's, and then my house. Showers, beds, and sweet sweet dreams. For once and for all, we can rest in peace knowing that this unresolved conflict can no longer trap our spirits forever to haunt the Dismal Wilderness.

Related Links

* Someone else's tough Santanoni trip report

Cohoes Wave

The Cohoes Wave just off of Fulton Street in Waterford, NY is a well-known spot for kayaking, because the ruins of man-made features create large standing waves. A standing wave occurs when the underlying structure of the riverbed causes water to quickly rush downstream, leaving a void into which an influx of water is actually rolling back upstream on top of the downstream rush of water. The wave remains stationary, but is otherwise not unlike an ocean wave at the beach. Surfers have long sought places in the world where standing waves form.

I drove down before work and took a look at it. The gauge height according the the USGS conditions report was at 12.25'.

The water seems rough and scary looking, and is probably out of my league (at least on a day like today). 1000' after the wave, a large dam drops off, so one needs to be very careful in a place like this, like maybe by refraining from kayaking here. The following satellite photos show the Cohoes Wave. The image on the right is zoomed out to include the dam after the wave. Click on the images to view an interactive version.

To add to the other dangers, the water itself is some of the more polluted water in the area, so it's really not the first place I would go intentionally dunking my head on a warm summer day.

Videos

A video does a better job of capturing the turbulence in the water than a photograph does. The wave is on the right side. You can see the water rolling backwards upstream, forming the standing wave:

Related Links

* Photos, Video, and Comments about Kayaking the Cohoes Wave from americanwhitewater.org
* Several online discussions about the Cohoes Wave
* Pictures of Kayaking the Cohoes Wave from RPI's Outing Club
* Current USGS Statistics for the area
* Youtube video of surfers on a standing wave in Hawaii