Saturday, July 28, 2012

A Piece of Wonder

July 22, 2012

Hudson River
South Glens Falls, NY

For the first time it occurred to me this afternoon
what a piece of wonder a river is.
   HDTs Journal,  September 3, 1838

Henry Thoreau spent many hours a-walking, and wrote a wonderful essay about this mode of travel, but in the warm summer months, the water was his preferred hangout.
His favorite places to go a-boating were not (as one might think) Walden Pond, so much as the rivers running through the center of Concord.

Two rivers of widely different character meet in the Village, and join to become the placid Concord River.
Then as now, rivers were harnessed for power; dammed and damned by humans.  

Then, as now, many saw the river as a convenient place to toss stuff.  (to see firsthand accounts of Thoreau’s beloved rivers today, and what one local hero is doing to keep them clean, visit Trashpaddler. Watch out ! it's contagious...)

Today, there are no longer log drives on this stretch of the Hudson.
The river's history is fascinating, and we paddle in what was basically an industrial area, a hundred years ago.
Many dams exist solely for flood control, for which we are grateful.
Even then, the river is never completely tamed.

Rivers flow past factories and back yards, and yet … they can be scenes of great beauty.

You can find quiet places tucked away, despite the river’s popularity on a hot summer day.

You don’t have to go far. Here's a family picnicking on an island in the river, just a short paddle from the boat launch. Sure beats taking the kids to McDonald's!

You don’t even need much equipment.

Kick back, and relax!

You don’t have to travel to a pristine wilderness to find an interesting plant or critter along the river.

Osprey nest near the dam

  Muskrat seat along the shore
  Pickerelweed in bloom
It’s worth going to the river to see the sort of things that one can only see from out on the water.
A field of water-shield flowers

Wierd underwater organisms -
like this Bryozoan, Pectinatella
It’s worth picking up just one piece of litter --
or two bags full, if that’s the case.

Go by yourself.

Go with a treasured friend.  

But go !


  1. Enjoyed your post! Nothing like the enjoyment of wetland areas! Thanks for sharing.

  2. Hi Joni-- well, like a waterlily, I like to just drift around in places like that !