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A quick check of the currents over coffee in the morning said that launching at Cold Spring was the thing to do. Needed to take care of a few things around the house first, so got loaded a bit later than I had wanted, but no problem.
I figured that there would be a few other dedicated paddlers out on the Hudson from Cold Spring on such a fine day, but when I got there, not another boat in sight, no cars with racks, nothing.
Perfectly clear blue sky. Water temperature 42. Air temp 50ish. No wind to speak of.
I shove off at 12:30, while the current is slack, and head south to meet the flood. I had in mind Arden Point as a destination for lunch.
Foundry cove was like glass, and even rounding the point of Constitution Island - where normally there are interesting swirls and eddies - was placid. On the North facing rocks, and in the shadows of the cliffs on Constitution Island there was ice.
Finally, in World's End, I saw the first other boat of the day. A tug, pushing a barge upriver, throwing up a small wake to crack the mirror-like water.
I decide to follow the South side of Constitution Island, and work my way down the eastern shore. I startle a solitary cormorant, but don't see much other life. Passing Garrison, the wind kicked up a bit from the South, putting a bit of texture on the water, and the flood current was starting to build. Garrison was like a ghost town.
As I approach Arden Point, I see the first human of the paddle, and her dog. The dog is curious, she indifferent. Both have left by the time I land and get lunch out of the rear hatch.
I enjoy my lunch in solitude, watching the flood grow in strength, forming a big eddy off the point.
With body refueled, I pack up and cross to the Western shore. I spot a solitary hiker just north of Highland Falls. At West Point a couple walking a dog, and a small group picnicking. Just off of Duck Island I spot a large bird-of-prey sitting in a tree; some sort of hawk, but I don't know what type. He eyes me, but decides that I'm too big to be a fish.
With no boats at all on the river, I get a chance to do something that I've never been able to do; Paddle a straight line from West Point to the end of CI.
Zip quickly across Foundry Cove, and I'm back at Cold Spring. Just a short paddle, maybe a tad over 7 miles, but it sure beats watching football.
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