For YEARS I've been wanting to get over to Inwood Canoe Club for a paddle on the Hudson during one of their Sunday Open Houses (10am-12pm Summer Sundays), but I'm always away on Sundays racing or beaching or paddling Upstate. This weekend we had plans in the city so I told myself this is THE weekend I will get out on the river and support our local paddling club. Dave was a trooper and came along for the ride even though kayaking isn't his favorite activity. It was a hazy morning with temps rising into the 90's later in the day, so I was really happy to be getting as close to the water as possible without swimming (don't get me wrong, I'd much rather have been swimming!) so I could cool off with a little splash here and there.
We were greeted by a friendly group of folks from the Club when we arrived and we payed our insurance fee of $4 and dropped a donation in the box, otherwise it was a free event. We were fitted for life jackets and then relaxed on the deck for a bit while the first wave of paddlers made their way back to shore. The views are really magnificent there, the George Washington Bridge just down the river to the left and the Palisades looming across the water, I just love this area. I snapped a few photos and a nice guy from the club took a great photo of us in front of the bridge.
Pretty soon the first group returned and we climbed into (or in my case on) the kayaks and hit the water. I chose a sit-on-top kayak because they're my favorite. I learned to paddle when I was lifeguarding and we always used a sit-on-top kayak because it is easier and safer for rescuing distressed swimmers, you just fling them over the front and hop back on! I haven't used this type of kayak in years and I missed it, so I was happy for the opportunity to do it again. At one point during the trip one of the guides mentioned that I should used a sea kayak next time because they're faster, but I was as happy as a clam on top of the water. Besides, spiders hang out in those things...ick. We had a nice paddle up along the shore past Dyckman Fields towards Spuyten Duyvil before turning around and FLYING back downstream. Going against the current with the wind at our backs on the first half of the trip was pretty sweaty, I wished I could just jump in and cool off, but it seemed like the guides might not like that. Had it been my boat, I'd have been right in the water.
It was a really nice way to spend a little time and talk with some nice local folks. I met a few swimmers and even more people who do kayak support for many of the NYC Swim races including my upcoming Governor's Island swim, my relay and the Little Red Lighthouse swim. It is always nice to meet new people who are a part of this great NYC swimming community. Many thanks to the Inwood Canoe Club for a great morning- I hope we can make it back again before the summer is over!
Oh and the new bathrooms on Dyckman Street just around the corner from the marina are open. The parks dept renovated a really cool old building and I think it looks great! Be sure to pack your own toilet paper though... :)