Thursday, August 27, 2009

Paddle Party

Monday, August 17, 2009

Last Saturday, nineteen paddlers camped overnight on Beczak Environmental Education Center’s lawn. They were the 2009 crew of the Great Champlain-Hudson River Paddle, a fifteen-day kayak trip that covers 195 miles, starting at Fort Edward (forty-five miles north of Albany), and finishing at Pier 40 in Manhattan.

A dozen children and I painted a fourteen-foot WELCOME sign earlier that morning, and we tied it onto the riverfront fence to celebrate the paddlers’ arrival. We cheered and whistled as the men and women pulled up in their sleek red, orange and yellow sea kayaks. While the paddlers unloaded their tents and gear, children explored the river in sit-on-top kayaks provided by the Yonkers Paddling and Rowing Club and in Beczak’s waterproof waders as they seined for fish.

The children’s awe and excitement was contagious and I could almost see their daydreams of the river adventures they would have when they were grown up.

Dorene Sukup