Search This Blog

Sunday, September 19, 2021

Testing Our Paddle Skills in Kaaterskill

Sunday, September 19, 2021

Hi Blog!

We are enjoying our stay in the Rip Van Winkle Campground near Saugerties, in spite of the acorns that keep clattering on our roof. We were curious about all the the references to Rip Van Winkle everywhere. In addition to our campground, there is the Rip Van Winkle Bridge, the Rip Van Winkle Motor Lodge, Rip Van Winkle Ranch, the Rip Van Winkle Country Club and the Rip Van Winkle Brewing Company.

This area was the setting for Washington Irving's Rip Van Winkle, which, since its introduction in 1820, has become synonymous with the Catskill Mountains. The book conjures up images of high, shadowy mountains and darkened, mysterious cloves, or mountain passes, such as seem unique to the Kaaterskill area of the Catskills. This area is also known as the Catskill Escarpment, because the mountains rise very abruptly from the Hudson Valley to summits above 3,000 feet. The Escarpment was the first area of the Catskills to attract the interest of European settlers. 

We awoke Sunday morning to a beautiful late summer day. There was a zero chance for rain and the winds in our area were predicted to be light, around 5 miles per hour. We decided it would be a great day to paddle. We began to look around the Kaaterskill area to see if there were paddling opportunities. We discovered North/South Lake in Haines Falls. One of the locals greeted us as we began our paddle on the North Lake of North/South Lake.

At North/South Lake, the escarpment rises 1700 feet across a distance of 1.5 miles. We were impressed by the peaks around us. We were even more impressed by the gale force winds that were whipping across the lake. So much for weather predictions for light winds!

Not to be deterred, we launched our kayaks and began our tour of North/South Lake. This area has been a recreation destination since 1823 with the construction of several resort hotels, the most famous of which was the Catskill Mountain House. Catskill tourism declined during World War II and the Catskill Mountain House deteriorated. In 1962, the State of New York took over the property which included North/South Lake. Today, there is a large campground around the lake, as well as a Day Use Area.

In an effort to get out of the wind, we paddled behind a small island and discovered not one, but two beaver lodges.

There was once a dam between North Lake and South Lake. Once the dam was removed, the lake became known as North/South Lake. We paddled through the narrows and worked our way over to the South Lake Beach and Boat Rental. Here visitors can rent kayaks, canoes and row boats. They even have an ADA canoe/kayak ramp, which allows folks with disabilities to launch from an adaptive ramp.  This is something we admit we've never seen before!

We decided to stop for lunch at the South Lake Beach.

This area was a favorite subject of painters in the Hudson River School. The Hudson River School was a mid-19th century American art movement embodied by a group of landscape painters whose aesthetic vision was influenced by Romanticism. The paintings typically depict the Hudson River Valley and the surrounding area, including the Catskill Mountains. With views like this, how could you not want to paint it!

Sometimes you come across a natural scene that is difficult to describe. It just draws your attention. There is light, color, movement and depth. When words fail, you just have to let the picture do the talking.

The dam at the far end of South Lake has a very unique spillway.

As we worked our way around the lake, we came across a family of geese. In just a few weeks, they will be winging their way south, just like a number of RV snowbirds that we know.

We are still a couple weeks away from peak fall color, but we are seeing the beginning of the show.

The warm sun brought out a family of turtles.

As we made our way back around to North Lake, we had a chance to poke around in a couple of shallow bays.

We saw these culverts and couldn't resist trying to paddle our way through.

While we couldn't make our way out the other end, it did make for a really cool image. We are calling this Eye of the Culvert.

The wind was kind to us on our return to the launch site.  We had a chance to see some of the lakefront camp sites. We even got to watch a father and son launch their canoe. The best part was when the young son shifted his weight and sent his dad flying out of the boat and into the lake! To his credit, Dad just laughed and jumped back in. He didn't even bother to change out of his wet clothes.

Just another day in the lift of Dave and Kathy, Intrepid RV Explorers. Time to get back to camp in time to Skype with our grandson, walk the cats and enjoy a crockpot full of traditional Chinese lotus root soup.  Happy Sunday!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.