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The Great Swamp is a large flooded area with a winding river that flows south from Patterson. The river flow is very slow, as the difficulty paddling back north was negligible. The swamp is very wooded, minus the area of the river. There were numerous large birds and turtles to view, and there were also Beaver dens galore.
In the middle of the Swamp is Pine Island, once used in the Colonial times for counterfeiting. The gang would use the Island as their base, while using the swamp as their protection from the law.
We started out around 11am, with the weather finally starting to warm up in April, but still hovering around 50deg.F. The local FROGS (Friends of the Great Swamp) had done a great job keeping the waterway free of downed trees, as you can see the many areas where they had cleared. About 0.25mi in, you encounter your first obstacle, which is a worn down beaver dam. There is a depression in the middle that makes it very easy to navigate over. Further down, you have to navigate around a fallen tree, which I'm sure will eventually be cleaned up by the FROGS.
We paddled down about 1.5mi, had lunch, and made our way back north. In all, it took us 1:45, which was perfect for a crisp spring day.
We will definitely be going back to explore the Great Swamp. We'll probably park further south of Patterson, and paddle our way up the river to start, just to see the southern part of the area.
The Great Swamp is a vast area, with the river bisecting most of it, but with fallen trees, it can be difficult to head north of Patterson, but we'll try someday.
Touring Kayak Paddles